Challenges, challenges, challenges

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A while back I took on a challenge set by Courtney at Be More with Less. This was called the Reverse 100 Thing Challenge.  Rather than adopting some people’s challenge to live with 100 things, (of which there are many exceptions to the 100 things you can have and not count…Huh?)  this was a challenge to eliminate 100 things from your home by December 15th. Yep, I’m a little late again in actually sitting down to see how I did.

I wasn’t sure if I could come up with 100 things to eliminate from my home, but it gave me an opportunity to stop and think about the items I still held on to and to do a little decluttering at the same time, I’d love it if someone could tell me where paper comes from.  I’m not out shopping, don’t get much mail, but I found lots of paper scraps needing to be dealt with in the purge.

Here’s a list of what I removed from my house during my challenge:

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  1. Paper, paper and more paper.
  2. Two stainless steel pans with lids.  I held on to these while I tried to decide if I would purchase a hot plate to cook on.  After a year and a half, I still haven’t decided if I want a hot plate.  I gave these to my son and his wife who needed a couple of sauce pans.
  3. Plastic tray for holding my silverware in the drawer, not sure if I can count this as I replaced this with a bamboo box for storing my silver.
  4. Four books
  5. One large framed poster.
  6. Seven DVD movies I didn’t want
  7. handful of dried out children’s markers
  8. several pens which drove me crazy writing with as they would suddenly stop working
  9. Three completely finished coloring books, into the recycling they went.
  10. Tea bags I didn’t care for, some flavors weren’t worth trying and storing them hoping one day to use them one day had turned into several years of storage.
  11. Three cans of paint, used it up rather than tossing it out, but it’s still gone.
  12. Items belonging to a friend which included 3 small clay pots, and a sander.
  13. I cleaned out my patterns.  I had more than I would ever be able to finish in this lifetime or the next.  Those I no longer saw myself working on I passed on.  If I had to guess I’d say close to 40 patterns were eliminated.
  14. Three magazines, not sure why they were still here.
  15. Two plants I couldn’t save.  Having dead plants makes my home feel unloved, so it was time to give up on these two plants and move forward.
  16. Couple of paper decorations for autumn.  See more paper.
  17. Over-sized lamp.  This lamp never really worked, I tried painting it, which helped but it was a large table lamp which took up the entire flat surface next to the couch eliminating a spot for guests to set down a drink.
  18. TV remote.  I had given the TV to a friend, but somehow overlooked the remote, it was in my desk drawer.  Shows you  how much I used the TV if the remote was buried in a drawer.
  19. Old Cell Phone.  This was my last cell phone which my son asked me to give back to him, we kept forgetting to exchange it, but with the challenge I made it my mission.
  20. A family heirloom which I will be gifting to my eldest son and his wife for Christmas.  No, I’m not burdening them with something unwanted, they want it very much!
  21. Finally a plastic cup that was left here by my grand child on a visit.  No plastic dishes/cups are wanted here.

Did I hit 100 things?  Probably not, but I am happy with the uncluttered spaces I found as a result of the challenge.  I have more room in the cabinet under the counter, and my desk drawer is much neater as a result.  Thank you Courtney.

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Time to consider another challenge.  

Did you notice my first ever button on the side bar?   It took me a while to figure out how to get the button there (yep I’m really that bad) but I can’t figure out how to get a link to work when you hover over the button.  Anyone able to help there?

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I have decided to challenge myself to have a no-spend month for the month of January. I have plenty of no spend days and even have a few weeks of no spending throughout the year as shopping isn’t really my thing, so the idea of a month of no spending is the next logical step.     Thanks to Happy Simple Living for the  inspiration.

I did end up going over my budget for Christmas this year.  Not by much, and all of my shopping was done with cash not credit cards  (I can’t imagine the stress people find themselves with when the credit card bills arrive from Christmas shopping).   But it’s the principle of it for me, why set a budget if I’m not going to stick with it.

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Then there is the other side of the issue, if I spend more on someone one year are they expecting the same next year.  I don’t think it’s fair of me to not be consistent. Have you ever noticed that people try to spend the same amount of money for gifts for you based on what you spend on them?

What better way to start the new year than to stop spending for a month.

This means I will not shop or purchase any thing except absolute necessities.   My one downfall is  while  shopping for groceries, that’s when I find myself  purchasing that candy bar at the checkout, or an occasional  newspaper rather than reading the story that caught my eye online instead.

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Why take on this particular challenge?  Well for one it will remind me to think twice about those little things that add up so quickly.  I want to see what kind of a difference those little things have on my savings.  But more than anything I want to see what kind of pull marketing ploys still have on me.  I don’t see many ads, commercials or things like that, but the displays in the stores are just as bad, maybe worse.

I’ll post from time to time in what ways I was tempted to buy something that wasn’t a necessity, and by the end of the month will share with you what kind of savings I had for the month and whether I would do it again.

What will you do come January first, want to join me in seeing how much money you can save as a result of a shopping diet?

24 thoughts on “Challenges, challenges, challenges

  1. I fear I totally suck at these sorts of “challenges.” I think it’s my rebel nature… as soon as I feel a rule being imposed upon me, I instantly want to do the opposite!

    I will say, though, that I’m starting a thrift store moratorium! I generally hate shopping of any variety, but as the weather got colder this year I discovered that I really did need some warm biking clothes. Problem is, bike gear is REALLY expensive! Like we’re talkin’ $50-$100 for one groovy windproof long sleeved winter “jersey” (as they are called.) And, much as I am loathe to admit it, biking is much more enjoyable when you have clothes made specifically for biking – with extra length in the arms, and extra length in the back so it fits right when you’re bent over, and big pockets on the back to carry extra layers, and relatively form-fitting and wind-proof so you don’t become a parachute or freeze… yadda, yadda, yadda.

    Sooo… being WAY yo cheap to lay out that kind of dough, I hit the thrift stores to see what I could find used. (Well, for everything except those padded shorts, which are designed to be worn without underwear – not buyin’ those used!) Anyhow, imagine my glee to find $75 bike jerseys for under $5! Problem is, I found a few more than I really needed, and it started to get addictive!

    And then I thought, well… as long as I’m getting these, maybe I could find a pair of jeans that actually fit, and I could use a few more towels (a few extra towels are a good thing when you have a cat with a bladder problem.) You see the trend here?

    Soooo… While I won’t be participating in the actual challenge, I will join you in spirit with my NO MORE THRIFTING pledge!

    • Amazing deal!! I wouldn’t have bought the shorts either. There are somethings I won’t buy used, underclothes, bathing suits, and shoes yuck!

      That is the problem with thrift shopping. I took my grand daughter to our church-run thrift store to get some clothes for her when she’s here and dirties what she was wearing. Since all clothes in the store are .25 I let her enjoy and buy whatever she wanted. Then I spotted sheets for $1, a couple of board games for .50 and spent close to $7 in one trip! I still made out when you consider the cost of those items if they were new, especially the sheets and board games.

      I’m like you. When I feel deprived by an imposed rule I tend to buck it. But this challenge I think is doable for a couple of reasons. With the snow now here, if it stays I won’t want to go out much without a car, and I want to build up my savings more so it will be a win-win to do the challenge. Glad to have you in spirit, you can laugh when I get pissed because I wanted to buy something and stuck with the challenge instead.

  2. I have done a no-spend challenge the past two Januaries but I made an exception: I don’t buy any THINGS but I do spend a bit on entertainment because it feels like a long gloomy month without going out at all. I also read the 100 Thing Challenge and although I respect everyone’s right to make their own rules, it did seem like cheating…maybe my January plan is cheating too!

    • I think there would be a big difference between spending for experiences and spending on material items. I read it as not shopping for material things, so you wouldn’t be cheating in my way of looking at it :-)

  3. No spending is one challenge I’m not sure I’m ever going to be up to but will give it a shot. January will be a good month for it. in the practice of Feng Shui, they say that if you move 27 things you move around some serious energy in your home. I’m at the stage that if I don’t love it, I let it go. This week it will be cookie cutters. My neice needs some and I have plenty. My daughter will get mine. I think I’m done. No grandchildren but I still like crafting with them. Purging moves energy. I will purge on.

    • Glad to have you joining in. The Amish say that only God is perfect, therefore in their quilts they purposely add a mistake somewhere to remind themselves that they are human (not perfect) so no matter how well you do at the challenge, I for one would love to hear how you fare.

      I’ve heard something similar, it’s in a Chinese proverb, that if you move 31 things around your home it will change the energy. I actually tried that a couple of years ago, I walked around my last apartment counting everything I moved. It did change the energy, it sparked my huge decluttering which led me to move homes :-)

      I’m sure your niece and daughter will enjoy your cookie cutters. Do you have the metal ones? I loved those, there is something about the newer plastic one’s that doesn’t work for me, or maybe it’s the age I could feel in my grandmothers cutters.

      I too am at the point where if I don’t love it I let it go. One exception is the family art that I am gifting my son and his wife for Christmas. I do love it, but I have every inch of it memorized, I love it still but somehow it’s not the same. The magic of the art has been lost in the owning of it, if that makes any sense.

      • Everything must change. That is the only constant. Passing it on is change and good for the soul and the item being passed. I could get very philisophical here but you alrready get it. I’ll catch up soon. The cookie cutters are mostly metal. I still have some plastic and don’t care for them except for crafting. Merry Christmas

        • Your niece and daughter are going to love using your metal cutters, glad I’m not the only one who prefers the metal ones. You and I could really have quite the conversation on change, we seem to think a lot alike. Merry Christmas to you too.

    • I do. I do plan to go through toys and craft items that are here for the kids to see if there are ones they have outgrown, but yes, things feel better and I wouldn’t know what else to get rid of at this point.

  4. to add a link to your button just copy the address that you want the button to link to, then there is a “URL link” section where you added the link, just put the link address there. If you need more help Lois, just give me a shout. :-)

  5. I am going to join you for the january no spend month. It will give me a clearer
    picture of my budget and where I can cut back expenses.

    • That’s great. Now all I have to do is figure out how to link everyone together by the beginning of January so everyone can see what challenges others face while doing this, we can support each other through the process.

  6. “What better way to start the new year than to stop spending for a month.”

    I’ve never taken part in the 100 thing challenges. Just never interested me to make it a game. I live pretty minimalistic as it is, BUT this one catches my attention. I think I’d like to go a month not buying anything at all except the bare essentials. I might learn a lot about myself.

    Dan @ ZenPresence . com

    • Welcome Dan, I’m hoping to learn a lot about myself as well from a no spending month, hope you join me I’d enjoy hearing what you get out of it for you.

      As for the 100 thing challenges, I have never cared how many things I own, only that they are meaningful to me at this point in my life. The one problem I have with the 100 thing challenge is the way things are grouped together to count as one, or exempt and not counted at all, so in reality I think it has very little meaning.

      • I read “The Hundred Thing Challenge” book and was bothered by the way he counted and didn’t count things. However, there have been a lot of interesting challenges that have taken off from the book, and it has given a lot of people food for thought.

        • I didn’t read the book, I visited his website (tied to the book) and looked at other blogs that were doing a 100 thing challenge, they were all pretty much doing the same thing: making exceptions for this, or grouping things together in other areas. It just didn’t feel right to me, deceptive almost.

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