Trigger finger


This winter I began a serious decluttering mission. I donated three large bags of clothing and one large bag of household items, resulting in a far more streamlined closet and clothes drawer and a feeling of having lost a lot of psychic weight. I have fantasies of owning the perfect capsule wardrobe and being able to throw together an effortlessly chic outfit like Bea at Zero Waste Home, but for now I’ll settle for the ability to find my shoes in the morning.

I’m trying to reconcile my desire to streamline with my love of thrift store shopping. It’s very hard to stem the tide of acquisition when you find half a dozen beautiful $25 widgets for $3 apiece. To be honest with myself, though, I enjoy the thrill of the hunt far more than the actual acquisition. The large bag of household objects that I donated contained at least two items that I’d bought at the thrift shop and was donating back with the price tag still attached. While perhaps good for the thrift shop, this is not personally satisfying. I’m working on engaging in the act of shopping as often as I want without actually buying much. My new mantra is, Shop constantly, buy almost nothing. So far, it’s helping me control my trigger finger quite a bit.

Here are items I’ve passed up on recent shopping expeditions:

  • A DevaCurl hair dryer, new in box and very well priced at $15. I am a curly-haired Deva devotee, and was sorely tempted by this one. Fortunately, I reminded myself in time that I NEVER ACTUALLY USE A HAIR DRYER, or I would have been the proud owner of a $15 dustcatcher.
  • A vintage Singer sewing machine, complete with case. This one was priced at $35, which is a bit steep, but the devil on my shoulder was telling me that it was ALL METAL! and QUALITY CONSTRUCTION! compared to today’s plastic wonders, and that the strange goo on the side would come off in a jiffy with just a little bit of rubbing alcohol. The angel on my shoulder (or, more likely, on my back) reminded me that 1) I was on foot, without a shopping cart, and would have to lug it home; 2) I already own a sewing machine; and 3) it was missing the presser foot, and locating the exact presser foot to accompany this model would probably prove both difficult and expensive, thus negating the value of a $35 backbreaking”bargain.”

The shopping trip was not a total wash, however. I did snag the lovely–and USEFUL!–can opener above for only $1. It’s a high-quality model which was clearly used very gently, if at all. Itchy trigger finger satisfied, decluttering job intact, and significant money saved. Or, at least, not spent. 


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