January, apparently, seems to be the month we de-clutter. Since I live almost clutter-free, I use the time in January to re-evaluate and re-think my possessions. Do I have everything I need? Is there anything I can re-use before I re-buy?
DH needed new snow shoes this winter. I needed or wanted a 100% wool sweater since our home is much colder now that we have lowered our thermostat. In the ‘before time‘ (pre 2008) I would have just run out to the store and purchased whatever we wanted. Now, with the costs of almost everything rising AND the quality of practically everything declining (have you noticed the subtle changes?) it is no longer prudent for me to run out and just buy what I want anymore.
Which brings me to the conclusion and this pertinent advice: before you toss anything, sell it or give it away, look at the item first and if it is of good quality, hold on to it. Tightly! For you may not have the means nor the wherewithall in the future to replace it, should the need arise.
I don’t know if I, in the ‘before time‘ bought things of good quality because I had the money or the items were just made more expertly. Either way, if you want items of reasonable, good quality these days, you have to pay. And pay and pay. So, for me, in order to afford any new purchase today, I have to settle for inferior quality. Unless I buy vintage or used. Or, I just rummage through my own, un-cluttered and neatly stored possessions. (Nope! I don’t, or I at least try not to, throw away, give away or sell my quality possessions).
When we first moved to rural, upstate New York (2002), I bought all of us complete wardrobes from Lands End for several years. That included down jackets, snow shoes and cross-country sporting equipment. Ahhhhh! The good old days. Eventually, Sears bought out Lands End and no, the quality is NOT the same. But my original purchases, I am proud to say, are still being used by all of us each and every winter.
Enter my husband needing new snow shoes. Currently, it is cost prohibitive to purchase good quality snow shoes. What costs $99 back in 2006 would be triple today. Amazingly, hubby remembered he did indeed have a pair of snow shoes, tossed carelessly aside in the garage, that he had used while working on the property during a winter rain storm. They were covered in mud. Yes, when he located them, they were still covered in mud dating back to 2010 (it didn’t snow in 2011). Again, this is the ‘before time‘ when I used to toss dress shirts away when they popped a button rather than mend and sew a replacement.
Hubby washed off the caked-on mud with boiling hot water, re-washed the shoe laces and voila! A perfectly functional, good-quality snow shoe emerged. The black leather was slightly stained a brownish tinge from the mud, but the shoes were warm and waterproof. If DH were to purchase these shoes today, the price would be $144, rather than the $79 we paid back in the ‘before time‘. Plus, I don’t think the same quality would be there.
As for my needs, for some reason, I am finding out that only 100% wool is keeping me warm these days. I purchased a wool cap and hand-made woolen socks from our local consignment shop here in town. Lots of ladies up here knit so I was able to buy the socks for only five dollars and the cap for only $15. A sweater, however was going to be more of a challenge, since it’s a much larger item. A classic, lambs-wool sweater can cost anywhere from $50 to $75. Before I purchased anything, I looked through my old wardrobe (stored up on the 2nd floor) and found a 100% lambs wool sweater that I had purchased back in the ‘before time‘ for my daughter, but she never wore. Lucky break for me!
I’m glad I saved it!
Think twice before you toss anything away (or donate or sell it). No one knows what the future may hold. The things you save just may come in handy one day. If you own something classic, timeless and of good quality, hold onto it tight!
And take care of your possessions. That includes YOU, DH! (he’s very, very grateful for his ‘new’ snow shoes).