Then I spent some time thinking about my stuff. I have a lot of it. None of it is particularly valuable; not in actual dollars, anyway. But every year there is more of it. Who am I kidding? Every week there is more of it. If I have 2 hours to kill, I'm likely to spend them at Target or Marshall's, culling for some unpredictable but wonderful bargain.
In truth, my house is beyond full. I can barely find places for all the stuff we have. Last week I visited my brother and sister-in-law in their first house, and marvelled at the empty closets and drawers. Did I say marvelled? I meant seethed with envy. "Imagine what I could store in here!" was more the sound of it inside my head. They had a huge Harry-Potter-esque under-stairs closet. Actually, Harry would have been envious; this one went around a corner. But the reality of things is this: we have the house we can afford, in the neighborhood we want. It's not getting any bigger, and I don't even have stairs under which to wish there were a closet of any size.
So I started thinking about the plausibility of having a negative growth year, in terms of stuff. Would it be possible to get rid of more stuff than I buy this year? Probably not. But maybe I could conduct an acquisition-neutral experiment. Buy nothing that is not meant to replace something worn out. That would mean no shoes, unless I could toss pair that is too worn to be seen in public anymore. No socks, unless I've had to discard a pair already. No kitchenware that isn't a replacement for a broken item. That's right: no new glasses or cookware. Well, no additional glasses or cookware, anyway.
I'm not sure I can commit to a whole year of that, so I'm shooting for three months. There will be some exceptions to the acquisition-neutral rules, I think. Books, for instance. Hannah is now reading her own short chapter books, and, although we regularly visit the library, I expect that we will, from time to time, buy her a book. Also, we have planned a camping trip for our summer vacation, and have important holes in our camping gear collection, most notably, cookware. That's where I may be able to cheat on the no-new-kitchenware rule a bit. But in terms of clothing, shoes, and general home furnishings, I'm going to put a three-month moratorium on new stuff.
There: I said it. No new stuff for three months, unless an old piece of stuff breaks. Let's see how this goes. If you hear a whimpering sound from somewhere in the vicinity of the Gulf of Mexico, it's probably me, wishing I could buy that pair of Gianni Bini pumps that Dillard's just put on sale for $26. Sigh. It's happened before, I have no reason to think it won't happen again this year. But I won't be the lucky girl wearing those shoes this time. Unless they go on sale in April...