TBT #18: Baby Steps

I’ve been thinking about #18 on my 30 Before Thirty List quite a bit lately.  While the stated goal is that I “only buy things that I absolutely love,” I think what I was really trying to get at is more adequately reflected in the William Morris quote that’s been making its way around the blogosphere lately:

click image for source

 I consider myself a pretty frugal person.  And while I’ve definitely fallen victim to impulse purchases now and then, I can usually keep my eye on the bigger picture when it comes to finances.  Let’s be serious.  I plan on having a house some day and I’m not going to get there by filling my apartment with a bunch of crap I don’t need.

However, there’s a lot of pressure out there to be a consumer and it’s not always easy for me to stop listening to all those messages.  I’ve been paying more attention to the emails that flood my inbox every day and realized that a lot of it tends to make me wish for things I don’t need. As Conor and I were planning our wedding, I went through a period where I signed up for all sorts of email lists.  Discount shopping websites with flash sales on cute dresses?  Yes please.  I need something to wear for the rehearsal dinner right?  Etsy circulars for unusual things?  Yes again.  Where else am I going to find cute paper straws?

As I realized (thank God) that I didn’t need “All The Stuff” I tuned out all the noise and focused on what was important.  However, the emails kept coming. Slowly, that nagging feeling that I don’t have “enough” or, the “right” stuff came back.  This week, in an effort to tune out again, I started unsubscribing from all of those email lists. It’s my baby step towards appreciating what I have and focusing on the things I want to have in my life for the long haul.

At last count, I was at twelve.  Twelve!  A whole dozen companies that were sending me emails weekly, bi-weekly, or (gasp!) daily.  Companies that I hadn’t bought anything from in ages.  It feels damn good people. Why didn’t I do this sooner? 90% of it was just laziness. It was easier to hit delete than unsubscribe. There was a small part of me though that was worried at first.  Am I going to miss out on an amazing deal?  Will I no longer be in the know about the latest products and trends?  Then I realized that that was all nonsense.  Delete.

I realize that cleaning out your inbox may be a no-brainer for some of you that are reading. I’m also aware that I run the risk of coming across as a mindless capitalist pawn(But it was Etsy and independent art sales! Etsy doesn’t represent the Man does it?).   Maybe this post doesn’t really have a point.  It made me feel like I made progress though.  I guess this is what you get for asking me to post my 30 Before Thirty list.  Anyone else feeling consumerist pressure?

It turns out that I’m not the only one trying to simplify. For further reading, Jules over at Pancakes and French Fries has turned this quote into a directive as well with The William Morris Project.  She’s made a lot more progress than I have.