March No-Buy Conclusion

After a bad start this month, I am pleased to say that these last two weeks,  I have purchased nothing! Other than food, which I kinda need.    

My first week really was hard for me.  I can’t really explain why.  I usually don’t do hardcore shopping anyway. I’m not a shopaholic.  But yes, if I see something and I want it bad enough and it won’t mess up my monthly budget, I’ll buy it. 

It might be partly because of my job as well. 

I have a stressful job.  Very stressful.  Hundreds of people depend on me each week.  

However, I get paid pretty well for what I do (pretty much the only reason why I’ve stayed so long).  There are many days that I see something I want and I do say ,”I deserve this,” and I kinda do because I’ve busted my rear end each day.  Sometimes I think, “why am I doing this every day if I can’t get what I want?”

I actually want to get away from this way of thinking.  

I have zero intention of quitting my well-paid stressful job.  

But I do want to get away from buying THINGS with my paycheck. 

Today, I spent the day with my family. I bought one thing.  Milk, to go in a quiche. We  went for a really long walk to Mars and then barbecued hot dogs.

Space Pugs on Rover Mars

Just kidding.  This isn’t Mars. It’s just a short walk from our house.  See there’s still a tiny bit of snow on the hill? 

Anyway, the buying one thing (milk) and hot dogs bit was true.

And we had a lot of fun! Just being with each other.  Getting outside.  Breathing fresh air.  Being a human without consuming.  

I’ve been thinking a lot this month on what I want to do with my money.  Will I buy things in April?  Probably.  I didn’t set aside this huge list of anything to buy after my “no-buy” month was over.  I might buy a new pillow for my neck at night. Maybe. Buying stuff just doesn’t seem important as much anymore.

I want to have days like today, hanging out and eating with my family.  I want to travel a bit. Maybe I’ll look into retiring early.  Or I’ll just shove it all into savings.

But I just don’t want to buy anymore.


OK now I’m really IRRITATED

I just finished my post about purging about 30 dog toys when I felt cold and realized I had a bag of dog toys I put “away for a rainy day” in the closet.  I think I shouted a few expletives, sat down and ate some lunch so I would calm down….

A trash bag stuffed full of dog toys

I mean, I am literally ashamed and embarrassed right now. My last post (that I literally wrote an hour ago), I was so chuffed and proud of myself because I thought that I had sorted through them all.  I was shocked that I had 57 toys in the house! Then I realize “WTF, there’s another TRASH BAG FULL??”

I can’t do this anymore, all this spending and shopping. It’s really not like the dogs care, they don’t sit in their kennels at night and wonder “oh! It’s been X months since I’ve seen big floppy monkey, I wonder when mom will bring him out of the trash bag full of toys that she has shoved in the closet?”

The SECOND huge piles of dog toys that I needed to sort through. Lula’s giving me an “Are you serious, woman??”
Donate pile. 9 in total.
The trash pile. I did decide to move the big monkey into donate pile. 11 in total.
The keepsies. 4 in total.

So really truly.  This is obviously an issue I need to work on

In total, including last post I: 

  • Donated 21 toys
  • Threw away 26 toys
  • Kept 34 toys

Grand total 81. My dogs. PETS had 81 toys. There are children in the world who have no toys. There are people in the world who don’t have and can’t afford 81 things.
Never again.

Purchasing things to save your sanity

Sometimes, you have to buy things.
About 6 years ago,I picked up this dining room table (and chairs) for um.. I think $45 at a garage sale (I’m so cheap). It was painted badly when I bought it, and then painted badly again (with spray paint. Psh!) after I bought it.

Then after a while, my pug Talula decided that the table legs were her favorite place to dig for buried treasure (kibble she dropped under and on the legs). Ellie then caught onto the game and decided to help (and scratch up the table too).

I had to put furniture mover things on the feet as I had to move the dining room table EVERY DAY to pick up kibble because there was no stopping Lula.

After 6-ish years of this, it got to the point where the legs were so trashed and covered in dog smudge I couldn’t even keep it clean anymore. I thought about painting the legs again but figured, why bother? I spent 15 minutes EVERY DAY moving this thing and cleaning the bottom of a table and I was FRUSTRATED.  Yes, I tried training my bratty pugs, they’d play Find The Kibble game while I was in the shower, when I wasn’t home and every time my back was turned.  So, after about 5 minutes of mulling it over I decided to buy a different stinking table. (I can’t get rid of the chairs, they’re too cool looking)

(In case you were thinking, “well why have it in the first place? It’s not very minimalist.” We use it every day for eating, as a desk and for family conversation.)

And lo! I found one. For $10. You read that right, see the sticker? 10 DOLLARS on sale (I think I mentioned how stinking cheap I am?). I was also feeling generous and donated an extra $5 to the thrift store (all extra money goes toward domestic violence victims). 

Look at the legs! Where you gonna spit your kibble NOW??? So I spent $15, the dude at the store helped me load and I brought it home. 

Little Miss Hates Change Lula pretty much figured out right away that her Seek-the-Kibble game was over and done for and pouted for about half an hour under the “new” table. LOL try to ignore the mess of dog toys, I’m still working in minimalising their mass of toys)

(I do plan on refinishing this when the weather clears up si it will at least match the chairs a bit.   I have already found a new home for the old table, they will be using it as an outdoor table.

Long story short (too late?), I bought something “new” to save my sanity.

Minimalism and pets

I know I haven’t written much abut my pets yet.  I have two pugs. I think they’re fantastic.  However, with pets comes lots of stuff.   Not too copacetic when it comes to a minimalist lifestyle. Both of my girls have different needs, different preferences, are different sizes (even if they are the same breed) and fight over EVERYTHING so my house is like Noah’s Ark, all things must come in twos. Want to know what my dogs “own?”

My pugs have: 

  • A play tent 
  • Two beds
  • Two outdoor beds
  • A giant caterpillar toy
  • Countless chewies
  • Two types of shampoo (one for allergies and one regular dog shampoo) 
  • De-shedder brush
  • De-shedder glove
  • Two toothbrushes and toothpaste
  • Ellie’s medication (for ears, skin, wrinkles)
  • Lula’s medication (for nose)
  • Two massagers (I’m not kidding)
  • Their own set of towels for baths 
  • Blankets for the couch
  • Blankets for their chair
  • Blanket for my car
  • Two harnesses
  • Two leashes
  • Their own water bottle for walks
  • A doody bin/doody bags
  • Two kennels
  • Kennel pads 
  • Kennel blankets 
  • Their own laundry detergent 
  • Water and food bowls 
  • Food tray
  • Food container
  • 40+ toys

Etc. etc. etc. Does all this stuff bug me sometimes? YES.  Do I want to get rid of it all sometimes? YES.  Do I get sick of cleaning it? YOU BETCHA.

So how do you manage when you’re working towards your minimalism goals and your pets have all these “things?” 

(Disclaimer- I DO NOT CONDONE “DECLUTTERING” A PET FOR A MINIMALIST LIFESTYLE. This is not something I will discuss not is it or will it ever be an option for me)

Figure out necessities- If your pets are anything like mine, they’re pretty spoiled.  You go to the store and see something cute…you imagine the goofy look on their face when you bring home the cute thing.  Admit it.  You love making your pet “smile.”  So do I.  Pet stores are dangerous places.  I’m guilty of playing with all the toys and imagining if Lula or Ellie would like them.  However, when you have 40+ toys, can they possibly play with them all?  

A trip to the dog park, or a nice long massage (or if you have a water-baby pet, a bath), a ride in the car, can bring just as many pet smiles as the cute thing.  

Do they need all the accessories?  Do they need the extra beds? Extra anything? Are they actually using them? Playing with them? If not, get rid of them.

If we’re talking about things like medication, items pertaining to health and longevity.  Keep them.

Try not buying them new things for a while (again, we’re talking non-necessities here).  Do the pets even notice? Probably not.

If you MUST buy them a toy, something I have found that helps (if you have the appropriate type of pet) is to bring the pet to the store with you and let them pick it out themselves. Not kidding.  The toys my dogs picked out themselves always seem to be favorites and are kept for longer periods of time (years in some cases).

Request that nothing is bought or gifted for them- my family and friends are very guilty of buying things for my pets (or just bringing stuff over because THEIR pets don’t like them and aren’t using them).  I get it.  It’s fun to see the pet smiles and makes you feel good when the pet plays with the thing. However, it’s not very conducive to a minimalist lifestyle.  I have recently requested to friends and family that my dogs don’t need toys, food,  beds, nothing.  I have asked them that if they must buy something or get rid of something to donate it to the local shelter.  They’ll appreciate it more.

Again, my girls love a visit from family, a rub on the head or a walk far more than a thing.

For those of you with family like mine who will buy and bring the thing anyway, just politely thank them and accept it.  Either replace the existing item with another or donate the gift to a shelter later.

Purge purge purge- Particularly with toys, I try to purge as often as I can.  If it were up to Ellie, I’d keep EVERY TOY EVER, as she behaves as if they are all her favorites.  Some toys really are favorites.  Those get washed and mended.  

Some toys get played with once and then are quickly forgotten.  If they are in good shape, donate them. 

Others get so tatty that it’s time for them to go.  If there are holes, yanked out squeakers, stuffing ripped out,  they’re dirty and you can’t wash them, the rope is like string now, or they’re broken and possibly dangerous for the pet, throw them away. 

If I end up having a new toy come in, I TRY to have two go out.

Ellie has a hoarding problem.

Accept that if you have pets, they’re going to have stuff- Sometimes minimalism can only go so far. Some things I have accepted. Do I need a blanket for my car? If I want to keep the upholstery clean, I do.   Are they using the outdoor beds? Every day for HOURS.   Does Ellie need her own detergent?  If I don’t want to have to spend $$$ at the vet to get her allergies under control again.   Find the right amount of stuff for you and your pets.  Sometimes as with all aspects of minimalism, compromise is inevitable.