How a pair of PJs almost brought my live with less mentality undone.
A few days ago on holidays in the Southern Highlands, I found myself a little perturbed when I couldn’t find any winter pyjamas at the local shopping mall. It was averaging 4 degrees at night, and I’d had to pack a pair of old track pants in place of my usual PJs – they’d lost their elastic the night before I left for holidays. The track suit pants were old and daggy and not quite long enough in the leg to keep my ankles warm, so I decided to buy new PJs while I was on holidays.
Now, it’s cold in the Southern Highlands. Particularly at this time of year. The warm weather is months away, yet despite the single digit temperatures, the shops had begun stocking summer clothing. There were absolutely no winter pyjamas to speak of (and no, I couldn’t bring myself to buy the numerous discounted winter onesies on sale that no one else seemed to want either).
After a quick trip around several shops, it became apparent that I wasn’t going to find winter PJs easily. I decided to just deal with my old daggy track suit pants and sort out some new PJs when I got home.
So I’m home now and planning the last few days of my break. An hour ago I started a to-do list with “get new winter PJs” at the top of the list.
Whilst planning, I decide that some new decorative pillows for the bed would be nice. Maybe some bedside lamps from IKEA (did you know that they start from $10 each?). A new throw for the bed, and curtains too – I figured that if I’m going to wear new PJs, that I may as well shuzz up the bed as well.
Before I know it, I’ve got 10 things on a list that are ALL outside my holiday budget. There’s a little whisper in my head… credit card, credit card. And we all know how successful us human beings are at repaying back purchases on the credit card. N O T V E R Y…
Now, if you’ve been following my blog, here and here, you’d know that I’m trying to simplify life and live with less – to be a little more frugal. I’m aiming for more “experiences” and less “objects”. To make decisions that give me more “time”, in place of having more “money”.
It’s not as easy as it sounds though. Just how do you learn to live with less stuff?
Have a think about the last time you went shopping. How much other paraphernalia did you buy?
But back to the PJs, I’ve been having trouble working out if I actually need them.
There’s a part of my brain that keeps harking back to ‘they are only PJs, just bloody get them’. Even if the PJs are el cheapo ones from Target… And yes, it’s taking all of my willpower to stay off Peter Alexander website. (Did I mention the credit card?)
Hang on, STOP I tell myself. It’s impossible to get out of those “only-$7-must-have-department-store-kingdoms” without walking past at least 5 must have items. The cheap stuff adds up. Look at the list you just made that started with PJs and ended with new lamps and curtains, and that’s without the impulse instore buys!
The list is already up in the $100s, so I decide not to buy the PJs. Do I sound too harsh?
Well… one thing that I have been learning through my efforts to live with less, is that it is an ongoing day by day attitude. Shops and advertisers have the you-cannot live without-this-message really buttoned up. It takes ALOT of effort to distance yourself from instore charms. You’ve got to keep working at it. It’s about looking at everything as a potential “can I live without it?” scenario. Because somewhere along the line, me/we/society seem to have gotten the message that everything is necessary.
Yep. Everything. How crazy. I won’t even get started on the ethical issues regarding super cheap clothing, not to mention the environmental problems the clothing boom is causing when it comes to landfill.
Now I’m not saying that life has to be colourless and no fun. That I can never ever buy anything. But for me, I’m trying to avoid those crappy junky purchases that don’t add that much to my overall happiness – you know the ones that clutter up your house, burn through your cash and end up in the charity bin a year later.
Can I live without the new winter PJs now that I’m back home and it’s not quite as cold?
Given that I don’t seem to be able to contemplate buying them without going hell for leather on a bedroom makeover – yes I can live without them. I’ll keep exercising my minimalist muscles. In making a decision about not purchasing more stuff, I get the mental strength to flick away all the other “must buy stuff” thoughts.
Oh yeah, and PS, I’ve got stacks of nice summer PJs waiting in my draw and it’s spring in just 5 days…
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