Tag Archives: Possessions

I am not Rich Enough to Buy Cheap Things

15 Oct

As I fill a bag with clothes to give to charity, I realise that I had bought most of these clothes from charity in the first place. Barely a year later, I am giving almost everything back, without having worn most of it. How to explain this phenomenon?

piles of clothes

I love charity shops for their original finds and low prices. In one particular charity shop, almost every item costs only…1€! The clothes are good quality and one can often find brands such as Deisel, Miss Sixty and Max Mara there.

Last year, when my salary did not allow for frequent high-street shopping trips, I would look for bargains in charity shops. Why waste money on the high-street when I can find such great deals in charity shops, right?

Wrong!

Charity shop shopping can often be like sales shopping – the prices are so low that it seems like a crime not to buy.

“I’m not sure whether this dress is my style”, I have said to myself, or “These shoes don’t quite fit right”, or “I can’t tell whether this coat really suits me”. But, in a charity shop, I have always finished these thoughts with “Well, it’s only 5 €, so I can’t miss out on this fabulous bargain!”

And here I am, a year later, with a bag full of clothes that don’t fit, that are not my style and that do not suit me. I had bought them hoping to save money, but it turns out that I actually wasted my money.

Ill fitting badly fitting shoes

On the other hand, I also own things that are worth a week of my salary. In these cases, it takes me at least an hour in one shop to pick out the perfect item; I try it on several times, walk around the shop with it, check it out from all possible angles, create a mental list of all the places I could wear it to and all the other clothes I could wear it with. I only buy it if ticks all of the boxes and if I really love it.

And this always pays off. These carefully chosen items make me feel good and look great, and last longer, too, because I take careful care of them.

I end up saving money, time and space by owning a few expensive items rather than a wardrobe-full of cheap ones.

After filling up my bag to the brim with unworn charity clothes, I finally understand my mum’s favourite shopping-trip phrase: “I am not rich enough to buy cheap things”.

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Happiness is not a Destination

19 Sep

What makes us happy?

Psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky conducted an experiment on “The How of Happiness” and the results are truly fascinating.

According to Lyubomirsky, 50% of our happiness comes from our genes.

Only 10% of our happiness is made up of – (get prepared to be blown away) – external factors, such as money, the weather, our job, the car we drive, the clothes we wear…

And the remaining 40% of our happiness is determined by…..our attitude and our behaviour in the face of each situation in our lives.

Isn’t t funny, how we all think that a job, a house, a car, a dress, or a party will change our lives from miserable to joyful? Isn’t it strange, how we believe that a salary, a title, a brand will transform our lives from Hell to Heaven?

The “things” we believe so important for our happiness actually only make up a very small percentage of it.

The rest comes from the inside – how we choose to feel, how we choose to react, how we choose to think.

We cannot always change the circumstances in our life, but what Lyubomirsky has proved is that it is enough to change our attitude to these circumstances in order to transform our lives for the better.

As Louise Hay says:

“When we cannot change a situation, we must begin to change the way we view it.”

I Have Been Decluttering for Two Years

13 Aug

I love this.

Image Source: Door

This makes me panic.

Image Source: Sales MOMS Network

Even this is too much for me.

Image Source: Dying of Cute

I have been decluttering for the past two years.

Image Source: Simply Stated

I only buy what can fit into a suitcase.

I recently threw away 7 kgs of university notes.

Image Source: The Way of Improvement Leads Home

I still have CDs, books and notebooks to sort out.

Image Source: State Library of Victoria

I can’t wait to declutter my home completely.

Image Source: Minimalisti

Related Posts:

The Art of the Essential

The Art of the Essential II

The Art of the Essential III

Confessions of a Book Abuser

A Game of Tag

23 Jun

A while ago, Kate from The Phoenixplains invited me to join a game of tag, to which the rules are as follows:

1. You must post the rules.
2. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post and then create eleven new questions to ask the people you’ve tagged.
3. Tag eleven people and link to them on your post.
4. Let them know you’ve tagged them!

So, Kate, here are the answers to your interesting, although at times difficult, questions:

What one ‘need’ and one ‘want’ will you strive to achieve in the next twelve months?

Need: find a new job.
Want: find a job in editing/writing which fulfils me and in which I can learn many new skills.

What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?

At the moment, it is not other people’s judgement that is preventing me from doing certain things in life, but the financial means to do so. I would love to take a yoga teacher training course in Costa Rica, for example.

What three words would you use to describe the last three months of your life?

Challenging, confusing, instructive.

What makes you weird/interesting/different?

I always look at the time when the numbers are matching, for example at 23.23.

If you could do it all over again, would you change anything?

No, because I learnt a lot from it all!

What small act of kindness were you once shown that you will never forget?

It was a situation in which a sick person was paying more attention to the health and well-being of those around her than to her own situation. Her deep care and altruism brought tears to my eyes, and I will never forget that even when we are in difficult situations, we must nevertheless continue to show love and care to those around us.

If you were forced to eliminate every physical possession from your life with the exception of what could fit into a single backpack, what would you put in it?

Apart from the essentials, such as basic clothes, money, a mobile phone, toothbrush etc., I would also put in my backpack my camera, my favourite jewellery, a pen and notebook, a poetry book, a few photos of my family and friends, playing cards, an address book and an umbrella.

What have you read online recently that inspired you?

In this post I discovered an amazing French song (video with English subtitles below).

If you could take a single photograph of your life, what would it look like?

Front plan: my sibling and I sticking out our tongues to the camera. Background: my mum and grandparents in the garden, looking at us and laughing.

What are you most grateful for?

The wonderful family and friends I have.

What is the simplest truth you can express in words?

Everything is perfect, even the shitty parts.

***

Here are my own 11 questions:

  1. What books have changed your life?
  2. What project would you start if you knew you couldn’t fail?
  3. When I say “time”, you say……
  4. Which well-known person is an inspiration to you and why?
  5. Which motto or theory do you love but find difficult to put into practice?
  6. If you could introduce a new subject to be taught to school-children in your country, what subject would you introduce?
  7. What activity always lifts your spirits and puts you in a good mood?
  8. What is the most challenging thing in your life at the moment?
  9. What are your favourite three quotes?
  10. Is there a song that captures your views/beliefs/thoughts on life?
  11. Which fellow blogger would you like to meet in real life?

I tag:

  1. A story of Light
  2. BA Expat
  3. Based on a True Story
  4. My Life in Colour
  5. The Sister Hawk Blog
  6. 6 Months to Live
  7. Shining Soul Yoga
  8. Life as I See It
  9. Love is the Answer
  10. Walter Bright
  11. My Sardinian Life

Looking forward to discovering your answers!

Art of the Essential Part III

22 Nov

I couldn’t believe it when I saw that our neighbours, a young couple in their early twenties, were back for the tenth time to move out their possessions. During their move out of their one-bedroom into a two-bedroom flat they had already loaded a 7-seater four times, a moving van twice and their own car at least four times. Their main reason for moving was “the need for an extra room to fit in all of their things”.

Among the things that my neighbours were packing away were VHS tapes, games for consoles they no longer owned, furniture they never used, broken electric appliances and various items of home decoration that was mostly kept in drawers. It shocked me to see just how much energy and time they were wasting to move these useless things from one home to another. And to think that they would be paying extra rent for the sole purpose of storing these unused things!…and that they would now have a whole room just dedicated to junk!

I couldn’t understand why anyone would choose to have so many possessions – so many useless possessions, at that. I have been living with only the bare essentials for almost a year now. Last autumn, inspired by Dominique Loreau, I started sorting out all of my junk (because that is precisely what most of it was), trying to get it down to the essentials (see The Art of the Essential, The Art of the Essential Part II). During the first few rounds of sorting, I reduced the quantity of my possessions by about three-quarters. I then moved to a different country and have been living with about 3-4 suitcase-worth of things for the past ten months. And to me that is more than enough – I’m already worrying about all the books and magazines building up on my shelves!

I follow these few simple rules to ensure that I don’t end up storing unnecessary junk:

1) Don’t buy it. If I don’t need it or don’t love it, I don’t buy it. Even when I ‘treat’ myself, I still buy either something I need or love.

2) Use the library. Books take up a lot of space and weigh a lot. I usually only buy and keep books that I love and which I am sure to read more than once. If I can’t find them in the library, I buy them in second-hand shops and give them to charity once I’ve read them.

3) Sort as you go. As soon as I know that something isn’t serving me anymore, I put it up for sale or take it to charity immediately. That way, I avoid build-up of junk in my cupboards and basement, saving me space, time and energy.

4) Set a deadline. “If my chair doesn’t get sold on ebay after two months, I will give it to charity”. If we don’t set ourselves deadlines, we will keep holding on to our junk.

5) Rules for freebies. If someone, after having sorted out their own things, offers me free clothes, books, furniture etc., I ask myself “If this was on sale in a shop, would I buy it?”. Keep, if yes, give back, if no.

7) Make your own home decorations. Pen pots, candle holders, curtains, folders…there are so many things we can make ourselves using cardboard, paints, fabric and a bit of imagination. Once we’re bored with these things or need to move, we can just throw them away or recycle them.

What rules do you go by to avoid the build-up of superfluous possessions?