This frugality slogan from the Great Depression is too often forgotten in the age of mass production, quick fixes and one-click buying. Many find it useful as a minimalism mantra. I do not.
It’s the make it do aspect that I struggle with. Frugality may be a side benefit, but it is not the reason I became a minimalist and making something do does not work for me in the long run. This does not mean that the instant something is not working, wears out or is just not quite the right fit, that I run to the stores for the opportunity to spend a day shopping.
Historically I would not have thought twice about replacing an item (or more accurately buying another one and storing the original item ‘just in case’). So why have I struggled so much this week to add pegs to my shopping list?
As a more mindful consumer I have one rule. Whatever it is, it must be fit for purpose. If it doesn’t do what I need it to, or doesn’t solve a problem then it’s not fit for purpose. If I don’t like the aesthetics of it then it’s not fit for purpose (it’s got to live in my house after all). If I don’t like the feel of it, it’s not fit for purpose. This is obviously very personal – my wife and I have two potato peelers as we disagree on which is fit for purpose.
I’ve been uming and erring about a waterproof coat for months. I need one, but deciding which one to put on my Christmas list has proven hard. I loved the sewing machine I received last year. It has given me a lot of joy developing new skills and gaining the bonus of perfectly fitting new skirts!. This year, I figured contributions to a coat that would last years would be ideal.
My requirements are that it needs to be
- Waterproof – this may sound obvious but we don’t have a car and I commute to work on foot. In the depths of winter it rains…a lot!
- In my colours – I’m not particularly fussy about which, but it needs to be a yellow-based bright Spring colour.
- Preferably mid thigh to knee length – see point 1.
- Have a hood – see point 1.
- Be warm(ish) – I don’t mind layering but don’t want a flimsy coat.
- Good quality.
- A good fit – some form of gathering at the waist if it is a longer one.
I’ve hit a glitch though. Christmas is 13 weeks away and in addition to accidentally minimising my phone contacts I’ve also accidentally minimised my raincoat (aka lost it!) . There is definitely a downside to minimalism!
Urgency has yet again reared it’s ugly head in my minimalism journey. With the pegs, I struggled to even put them on the shopping list because of a lack of urgency. I did’t NEED pegs. I had pegs. Did they ‘Spark Joy?’ Certainly not. Well six of them did, but the rest didn’t. They were an eclectic old bunch, mismatched and liable to break. It wasn’t urgent that they were replaced, particularly as we’re coming into winter, but I realised there is a difference between pegs and my coat. I knew which pegs I wanted.
On the other hand I have a sense of urgency about getting a coat but haven’t found “the one” that ticks all the boxes. Should I just make do? Compromise? Buy more than one?
On Sunday, after buying my new pegs, I visited a shop and found a good quality, pink waist length jacket with a hood that was waterproof and a good fit. I also found a waterproof, knee-length coat that was warmer, had a hood but was not in my colours and made me look slightly ill. I haven’t bought either and I’m resisting but the urge to buy is strong! Neither is completely fit for purpose, but….
What would you do?
I’ve had this one in my email to share with you for a while. Melanie Fisher over at Realisation of Good has produced a One page guide to decluttering. It is great and includes a list of 11 questions to ask yourself when deciding to keep something, including “Is it easily replaceable if I end up regretting letting it go?” It’s a perfect introduction for anyone who is thinking about simplifying.