One Out, One In and Being Stupidly Cheap

In Sweden there is a word called “Dumsnål” , the literal translation would be Stupidly cheap. And I am one of those stupidly cheap persons. 

Let me explain. When you are stupidly cheap you hang on to every penny, not spending anything even though you know you have it. I felt this way when I bought my overlocker. Even though I had received money for my birthday to buy myself something special it felt wrong to spend that much money on myself. I dates back to my childhood, even though we didn’t have a lack of money at all. My dad is still the same, so maybe it comes from his childhood, which I have understood wasn’t the most affluent. 

So, how does being “stupidly cheap” relate to my Sew For a Change challenge? In three ways, actually. Let me count the ways.

 One major issue is that I don’t spend my points. I currently have 75 points and I don’t dare to spend them, because what if I’ll need them? What is necessary and what isn’t? Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t see myself having 75 points on Dec 31 and then spending the equivalent of it on Jan 1, 2 and 3, but it can keep me from buying something I actually need just for the sake of saving points. I talked to hubby about this and he agrees that I am “stupidly cheap” and that I in fact need to learn to spend money (or points) on things I need. I am also hoping that this will help me focus and think once and twice about what I buy, it needs to go together with what I have or plan to make/buy so hopefully learning to focus on my purchases can help me bring my wardrobe together.

 Secondly when I do buy something I want to get it cheap. Which is why my closet is stocked full with cheap stuff from the likes of H&M and C&A. I have bought bad quality (ie. polyester) fabrics just because they were cheap and I didn’t want to spend more money on a better fabric. A few years ago I came to the realisation that polyester isn’t comfortable and I’ve been avoiding it ever since. I still love making a great find in the scrap bin, but (and this is an important but) I no longer buy things I kinda like just because they are cheap. I have to like them. In the same manner I’ve also stopped entering every single giveaway I come across. If the prize is something I want and can see myself use I’ll enter, otherwise I’ll leave it to someone who will use it. There is no point in stocking up things just because I can get them for free.

Thirdly is that I hang on to everything. That’s why February’s challenge of de-cluttering wasn’t an issue for me. I could easily get rid of 25 pieces of clothing without a hitch. And I can still get rid of more. However, there comes a point when I can’t throw more out of my closet without replacing it, can’t walk around naked. But there’s plenty in my wardrobe that I never wear and that should be replaced with things I do wear. Although, sometimes these saving tendencies (I refuse to call it hoarding) come in handy, as I took up judo earlier this year I didn’t have to spend any money on a new judo gi, I just pulled out the one I’ve been holding on to, for no apparent reason, for 17 years.

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This leads up to a new challenge I’m giving myself. One in, one out. For every new item that makes its way into my closet I will take one out. I can refashion it, donate it, sell it or harvest it and throw it out. It doesn’t matter just as long as it doesn’t take up closet space in an unused form. Preferably I am to take out the same type of garments, in goes a dress, out goes a dress, or skirt or shirt… you get the idea. It wouldn’t be too bright to start with de-cluttering skirts, ending up with no shirts at all while I have restocked on skirts.

 I’m doing this to keep my wardrobe under control, not just adding more and more, but also to fill it with stuff I like and wear (I think I have at least 120 garments, not including undies, bras, stockings, camis and basic t-shirts. 120. At least. ). Being on a budget, albeit a point budget, makes me think more about what I want to add to my wardrobe, it should be things I use, things that go together. I don’t know how long I can keep this up and it will vary for different garments. Someday I will come to the point where I don’t want to take something out, when that point comes I guess I’ll have a perfect wardrobe in that category. I think I must start making a list over all my garment…

 Challenges like these surprise me. Here I thought I was doing a challenge on consumption and environmental issues and it turns out to help me with money management as well as wardrobe planning and de-cluttering.

 Have you ever learnt something that wasn’t the point of a challenge? How do you work on your weaknesses regarding your hobbies? Why do we end up with a wardrobe full of clothes and still nothing to wear?

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