Ready, set, Pack! Move! & Reset!

I'm packing in preparation for our house move this coming Monday.

In a perfect world I would have liked to declutter our possessions whilst packing.  Alas, the world is far from perfect, so I will make do with vowing to myself that nothing shall be put away into a shelf/cupboard/wardrobe in our new home without first being scrutinised as to its usefulness.

There are no walk-in robes or built-in wardrobes in any of the bedrooms in our new home (a deal breaker for most, but I maintain that the existence of such features makes rooms less versatile), so as of this coming Monday my boyfriend and I will be back to sharing a 3 door IKEA PAX wardrobe.  The last time we did this I had my boyfriend storing his knits in Net-a-Porter boxes (oh, the humanity!). Welcome to my new nightmare... or should I say challenge?

Although my wardrobe is far less over flowing than when I started in my culling adventures over a year ago, thanks to an overseas shopping spree and a number of momentary lapses of judgement during the Winter sales, again I feel a necessary cull brewing.

In the outset I had hoped to have my 'ideal wardrobe' sorted by the start of 2012, but in reality my wardrobe is far from ideal... So just as the Australian Bureau of Statistics has reset the index numbers for each index series as of the September quarter of this year (which by the way totally caught me off guard whilst doing a calculation at work - I knew something was not right when my calculation indicated that the cost of living had halved in the last year... if only), I'm resetting my cull tallies and hence my ideal wardrobe journey.

Self-imposed spending bans vs those due to circumstances

Lately I've been reading a lot about self imposed shopping/spending bans (by the way, I think they are to blame for my record poor eBay sales).

I find it very interesting to read about participants' grand objectives with respect to undertaking a ban only to read weeks later that they purchased x (but it doesn't count because a voucher was used) or they purchased y (but it doesn't count because it was an item that was on their wish list for months if not years).  I giggle to myself but then think - I've been there and done that! I can totally relate and at times it's almost as if I am reading about my very own shopping ban attempts.

So yes, I too have tried to put myself on a shopping ban on many occasions. I've even written about my different shopping philosophies and strategies HERE and HERE and HERE. Although I have loosely succeeded in changing the way that I shop, when it comes to shopping bans, I have failed miserably.

Self-imposed spending bans

I could never really figure out why maintaining not shopping was such an issue for me?  It's only now, with the purchase of our new home (yes, settlement when smoothly) and the responsibility of servicing three mortgages between my boyfriend and I, that the penny has dropped as to the reasons for my past failures.

The reasons are as follows:
  1. I have always been dissatisfied with the contents of my wardrobe - there's always a piece or two missing.  Upon buying those two pieces, I realise that there are another one or two pieces missing.
  2. I will refrain from saying that I like to shop (because I seldom make a day of it), but I do love bargain hunting. This usually occurs in short spates in my lunch break. Let me tell you, a lot can be purchased during a lunch break, and multiple bargains soon add up to a mountain of money.
  3. Until recently I could afford to shop like a maniac (read: go crazy during sale times and make single expensive purchases).
  4. I have had no reason to budget until now, meaning that my level of disposable income was high. This of course leads to disposable purchases, in the sense that one starts behaving like a spoiled child with too many toys... you wear it once and then toss it in the corner.
Does this sound like you? If not, then why do you think that you have failed in your shopping/spending ban?

Spending bans due to circumstances

To say that being faced with the challenge of servicing three mortgages has changed the way I view spending my money and the true necessity of my possessions (more to do with having to pack them than anything else) would be the understatement of the century!

There are two ways I could go now:
  1. Not spend as much as I have in the past.
  2. Accumulate a massive credit card debt in order to maintain my unrestricted lifestyle.
No prizes for guessing which path I plan to take and already I have noticed a mind shift in the way I approach shopping and spending money.

My first observation is that I have stopped buying things that I do not NEED.  This may seem like a no brainer, but I challenge you to think of the last 5 things you bought and ask yourself: "do I really need this or did I just want it?".

Take my last frivolous shopping spree (if you can even call it that) that I enjoyed in Melbourne - I bought 5 things and truth be told I don't need any of them.  Not to say that I will not use or wear my purchases or that I am not pleased with them - but I bought everything simply because I wanted it.  Needless to say, no more buying the latest moisturiser just because it sounds good and I want to try it, because for the time being I have enough moisturiser to turn the Sahara into an tropical oasis.

Secondly, I have noticed that the things that I do need (arguably) have become glaringly obvious.  I find myself looking out for this stuff and my vision is no longer obscured by the things I just want and buy first or buy because I like or buy just because I can. These items that I NEED have now become the only items that I plan to buy.

My third observation is that I have parked the necessary purchases until such time that the need for them truly arises. For example I really do need new layering tops (I have been saying this to myself for years now). Say I was hit by a bus tomorrow and my clothes required to be cut away from me in hospital - I would be embarrassed by what lies beneath.  But given it is Spring here in Oz, this much needed purchase can be shelved until such time that it is truly required and I will make do with what I have for now.

And last but not least - I have come to acknowledge to myself that am an extremely lucky woman. Not only can I still afford to buy what I need, but I already have a wardrobe full of lovely clothes that would make most women pretty happy. It's time to take advantage of this blessing.

So next time you go shopping and are considering the purchase of yet another bottle of pink nail polish or the 10th striped top to add to your collection - ask yourself DO I REALLY NEED THIS?  I mean really ask yourself this question.  Answer it for yourself.  Don't feel compelled not to buy the item just because your answer is no (because maybe your circumstances allow you to go crazy Broadway style and also I would hate for you to miss out on the bargain of the century), but don't be surprised if you walk away empty handed.

Here is a video of Bart and Millhouse going crazy - Broadway style. Enjoy.


Good news!

The last month has been a whirlwind for us... we finally found a house!

Apart from the break we took for our holiday in March, we have been looking at open homes without fail each weekend and participating in auctions with no success for a year now.  We were thinking about giving house hunting a break for a month or so because we had lost our drive and then THE ONE came up when we least expected it. In fact the morning of the auction we almost didn’t bother getting out of bed thinking we had no chance (it was marketed for more than our budget).

Finding the ‘perfect’ home did prove difficult in the end, but we are very pleased with what we found and I truly cannot wait to ‘settle down’ at long last. I have felt like a nomad for a very long time now, knowing that where I was living was not long term.

Settlement of our new place is on 22 October. Fingers crossed it all goes smoothly.

So needless to say the last couple of weekends have kept us very busy...  We have just finished preparing my little cottage for sale. We even had to re-build the picket fence as the monkey who built it in the first place used untreated timber so it was literally disintegrating before our eyes (it was so bad that we pulled it apart with our bare hands). I’m so happy with the new fence and that it doesn’t look like a Homer Simpson job that I have to share a picture.

Hopefully potential buyers will fall in love with the fence and submit a nice offer...
Apologies for the dark photo... I literally put the paint brush down after painting the last brush stoke moments before I took this photo with my iPhone at dusk.

Last weekend we worked on the garden and after deciding that I could not afford to professionally style my house and hire furniture etc - I did it myself with the help of my amazing boyfriend. We were working on it non-stop all weekend.  I will do a separate post on that as I am amazed with the results. Our effort was well worth it.

Next weekend we are off for a preplanned mini holiday to Melbourne... Having just bought a big house, we can't really afford to do what I usually do (shop) but we truly deserve it, so I will at least spend my Myer vouchers which I have been saving for a while now :)