The Throw Pillow

I went to Wal-Mart today with my sister.  I had a list of things I needed – things I really needed like laundry detergent.

It’s Mother’s Day (so therefore, I deserve a gift, right?)

I saw this pillow.  I was drawn to this pillow – the color and the textures.  Without thinking, I put this pillow in my cart.

And then froze.  And spent a considerable amount of time thinking about this pillow and it’s place in my life.  More time than I am comfortable with.  Here’s a few of those thoughts:

  • I want it
  • it would look great in my new colorful living room
  • I have throw pillow covers from Ikea that I loved when I bought them unpacked in a box waiting for the right spot to be used
  • it will probably end up on the floor with dog hair on it
  • it’s really pretty
  • it’s made in China and I don’t know the conditions it was manufactured in
  • it’s probably made of re-purposed fabrics
  • since it’s made in China, it’s probably a ripped-off copy of something hand-crafted that is too expensive for me to afford
  • it’s affordable (less than $16)
  • it’s probably a ripped-off copy of someone’s original idea
  • I could use that $16 to make an additional payment on a debt
  • still really like the pillow and want it
  • it’s not crafted all that well
  • sigh, deep sigh

I took the pillow out of my cart.  I also took out the $15 worth of craft paper that I just know I could make something really great out of.  My studio is still pretty much packed up and I don’t have a purpose for it right now.  It would go into the “potential use” pile  and I have plenty of that kind of stuff already.

To be honest, my sister then took me to Michael’s and I bought two items that will provide me with hours of crafting/art enjoyment using supplies that I already have (one on clearance that I’ve been watching for a while and the other using a 40% off coupon).  Less expensive than the pillow and paper.

Not a total win, but in the end I’ll have something homemade to decorate my home with rather than a mass-produced pillow that I really don’t need.  I’ll have had the fun of making something and that makes me happy.

Happier than picking up a throw pillow off of the floor and wondering why I even bought it 6 months from now.

Shopping used to be thoughtless and “fun” – until the bills came due.  Now it’s rather like hard work.




When the Target is Not What You’re Aiming For

Yesterday, I took my youngest shopping at Target.  Over the last few days I’ve decluttered just about every piece of clothing the kid owns.  Target is a good place to find her some new duds.  She’s at that age where she’s too big and too old for children’s clothes, but not really old enough to be wearing “junior” sizes.  Some of the stuff is just too “grown-up” for a twelve year old (in my opinion – not judging how anyone chooses to dress their child).  Being an adult comes soon enough – I’m not going to rush it.

Anyway, they were changing out their displays and getting ready for the imminent holiday season (sarcasm intended).  I still haven’t pulled out my Halloween decorations (both of them).  Armed with my one-hour-a-week, part-time teacher’s paycheck, we started shopping.  Luckily they had just put a ton of stuff on clearance.  We were able to get some cute clothing at a not too outrageous price.

Still, I said “no” a lot more than I was happy about.  She never complained and didn’t ask for anything outrageous, but it’s just hard for me not to give her everything she wants.

One voice in my head was saying, “Remember, we are striving to be responsible consumers and not over-buying.  Less is more.  We are working to get rid of stuff.  Think about want versus need.  How much does she really need? Etc…….”

The other voice was saying, “Why shouldn’t she have that really cute pale-pink tulle skirt that only cost $20 and will probably snag the first time she wears it and where do we go that she would wear it anyway?  But, it’s so cute and I just want to buy it for her.  And that faux fur jacket that doesn’t even have sleeves so it wouldn’t keep her warm, but…..”

I’ll spare you the rest of the conversation by the voices in my head.

Ultimately, the winning voice was the one that said, “Buying stuff doesn’t equal love, we are trying to get out of debt, and buying too much stuff is one of the behaviors you are trying to change.”

That’s my love/hate relationship with Target.   I shop there, but not too often.  I love a lot of their stuff and I want to buy it.  I just know that it will make my house prettier, me look better, my life easier.  Those curtains, that picture, that journal, those organizational supplies, those cleaning products that smell so good…    All my problems solved.

Lies!  Lies that marketing works so hard to convince me of and lies that I tell myself.

My house will be prettier if I keep it uncluttered, tidy and clean.  I will look better if I am less stressed and can find clean clothes to wear.  My life will be easier if I don’t have so much stuff.

I am aiming for a simpler, less hectic, and more intentional life.  That’s the target I need to keep my eye on.  That’s the goal that I’m aiming for.

And to that end, here is today’s declutter:IMAG1093Two boxes and one bag of old business documents, a stack of magazines, and an old science workbook that I never used for my first three kids so I probably won’t use it for the last one – headed to recycling tomorrow.  A wooden salad bowl set that I intended to paint.  Never got around to it – time’s up – heading to the thrift store along with an antique crockery pitcher.  I’m already looking around for tomorrow’s discards. Happy de-cluttering!