Shopping or Not!

Yesterday when Vince was home at lunch, the news was on and they were talking about the economy and people not shopping.  The thought occurred to me that maybe the reason we’re not shopping has nothing to do with the economy but maybe we just have too much stuff and the clutter and junk has become too much for us.  What do you think?  Are you shopping as much as before?  If not, are you not shopping because of the economic conditions at your house or is it because you just have too much already?

Also yesterday, I received mail from my favorite sock yarn shop.  They have a new yarn club starting.  They have some yarn on sale. I went to the web site and I looked; I ooohed and ahhhhed and saw several things I Iike and yes, I’ve done the yarn clubs before and it’s so much fun to get a surprise in the mail but then I remembered that I don’t need any sock yarn.  If I knit non-stop for the next five years, I probably will not run out of sock yarn.

I’ve shopped some in the last few weeks but I mostly bought little things and I have been careful about what I spend but mostly because of not wanting to add more “stuff” to the house.

In my head, I’m kinda formulating a plan for 2009 where I try to use up a whole lot of stuff in this house and try real hard not to buy anything I can live without. Not so good for the economy I suppose but I hope I can stick with the plan and at the end of 2009, there will be less “stuff” in my home.  Just think how much shopping I can do at those after Christmas sales in January, 2010! 🙂


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    My sweetie and I aren’t shopping right now because our current job situations. We’re both looking. While I just started working part-time at a fabric shop it’s not enough to support our family and I’m hoping to have something full-time soon. It would be nice to say that we’re not shopping because of too much stuff.


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    Pat says

    I need to cut back mainly because of the clutter I already have. I need to get rid of a LOT of it. I need to do this because I can’t stand it any longer AND for another reason, too. In the past year, I’ve seen adult children (next door to me) lose both parents and be faced with the overwhelming task of trying to sift through all the parents’ stuff and get the house emptied out. It was an extremely difficult task and I would hope not to cause such a problem someday (hopefully FAR off yet) for my daughter. SO….my resolution for 2009 will be to get the clutter tamed and give away (or toss) things that I truly do not need. If I do shopping, I’ll only be adding to the problem, so…I’m sworn off shopping for me for the most part right now!

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    I’ve never been a big shopper but I’m doing even less now. The bad economy hasn’t stopped me from buying the small purchases; a few fat quarters here & there, some new rotary blades, etc. But large purchases have been put on hold; landscaping materials, new carpeting, furnature, etc. I am making a New Year Resolution to >not buy fabric in 2009 without a specific purpose. If I lived another 50 years I couldn’t possibly use up the stash I already have. I figure that my “investment” in my fabric 401F plan is the only asset that held it’s value! I’m cashing it in next year!

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    I am buying less because I have too much stuff! Case in point, my work clothes. My work wardrob is all from one line and I’ve bought lots of it over the past 8 years. It’s very timeless and wears well. I lvoe the new styles but I can already go amonth without wearing the same thing twice – I can’t justify buying more if it. I could walk though my house and point out several other examples of ENOUGH! So I’m absolutely buying less.

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    Linda C says

    Can I say both? Last year my stash overflowed the cabinet, so time to stop buying stuff because I might use it “someday” (ok, ‘stop’ is perhaps inaccurate — ‘cut way back’, let’s say.) That dovetailed neatly with rising costs, a desire to get out from under the clutter, and traveling more, so the discretionary income that remains is set aside for other things.

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    Definitely buying less! Mine is a financial reason though. I’ve been laid off for 6 months now and no hope of getting a job soon (I work in automotive tool design….IN MICHIGAN!) We buy less food and everything else. I started making a menu for a whole month and shop only getting things on my list and eating out of the pantry and freezer as much as possible. As far as fabric, I have been following you for a few years now and I BELIEVED YOU and agreed with you when you said stash busting. I have bought very little in the last year and a half. I work out of my stash mostly. I am a longarm quilter and have all the thread, batting and books I need. So, in a nutshell, our expenses and income is way down and we have discovered we like it this way. Christmas will be minimal and that is ok too. We don’t WANT for anything. We are blessed!

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    I find I’m buying less, for financial reasons (we’re working hard to pay off credit cards so we have no outstanding debt), and because I have way more than enough, and in several crafts (knitting, spinning, weaving *and* quilting, and that’s without counting any of the bobbin lace and tatting stuff – much less, but gets used far less often as well). I just cut about six quilts’ worth out of just 30s prints, two or three out of my 1800s repro stash, and still have four drawers and an entire [overflowing] shelving unit full of fabric.

    I wouldn’t rule out buying a small amount for an existing project, or tools/necessities (I did just get a Neutral thread set from Connecting Threads). I really have no need to go shopping for much else, though.

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    I would say both. We are drawing names for Christmas for the first time (for a number of reasons). We’ve been retired for four years and will continue to be careful with spending. But what do we really “need” that we don’t have? Really nothing. Plus my last shopping trip, I fell off the curb and broke my wrist — proof that shopping isn’t good for you.

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    Judy, I didn’t know you knit socks. I am pretty addicted to sock knitting and also have enough sock yarn to knit socks forever. I am on a sock yarn diet for that very reason. If I am ever tempted to buy more sock yarn I just picture my huge container of sock yarn and realize I can shop out of it for free!

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    Both, actually. We are fortunate enough that DH has a disability retirement income, which, while fixed, is there, and while my hours are erratic and sometimes diminished at the hospital with the current low census, I could hire on as extra at another facility if I really needed to. However, I am 57 with 25 years left to go on my mortgage, so we are paying bookoodles on the last credit card to get it paid off and start making extra payments on the principle. And it would only take a couple of months out due to illness or injury before our lifestyle would definitely undergo major changes. We are also trying to cook more, though DH is unable to do much when I work, and eat out less.

    On the other side, I have been a subscriber to for several years, and try to stick to the adage “if something comes in, something else goes out.” We underwent major decluttering when we moved across the country to a smaller house 5 years ago, but there is more that could be released if DH would ease up those packrat tendencies a bit! Periodically I go through things and ask myself if I use it and if I really love it, and if I don’t–someone else gets blessed with it.

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    Kat says

    Both actually, but mostly due to the financial crisis our household is in. Hubby’s been unemployed for over a year, and we really do have all we “need” to live. Hey, I’m happy as long as we have a roof over our heads, food to eat and the electricity to keep that food cold. Everything else is icing on the cake.

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    pdudgeon says

    buying smart (and saving smart too) for the next couple of years.

    i still buy quality quilting fabrics, i just don’t buy as much of it, or stockpile it like i used to.
    this year i’m looking more into long term kit projects, fat quarter (or less) friendly patterns, and scrappy patterns.

    some of my friends who were used to investing and have more income and savings than i do, are going very frugal now in their spending, and are holding on to their money.
    i haven’t noticed any shortage of parking space at the malls. they seem just as crowded as ever

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    gardenpat says

    We just had three of our children get married this year (2008) and now that we’re down to just the 3 of us- DH, DS & me, I find it much easier to cut back on our spending! We have always kept a year’s supply of food and supplement it with produce from our garden. DH says I also have a “year’s supply” of fabric, sewing/quilting supplies. He’s definitely right!! I’m not purchasing much these days both to declutter and to save money! We drive a 92 Toyota Camry with 125,000 actual miles on it- we bought it from the original owner. Not in a hurry to replace it since it is comfortable and runs fine.

    You will, however, see me in front of JoAnn’s on Black Friday at 6 AM if their flannel is all 99 cents/yard! But when I buy my roll of batting, etc.- I always wait and use a 50% off sale!

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    I plain out just don’t need more STUFF!! I far too often buy things just because they’re on sale for a bargain price – not because I have a NEED for them. And – I have two sons and nobody in my extended family sews — if I go to the great sewing room in the sky, people will be pawing through my stuff with an eye to ditching it as fast as possible – they won’t be spending time figuring out where it would be loved and fondled and used!

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    This year we have one in college…in a few years it is very possible we will have 3 in college. I think that about says it all. I must say I think that is very brave of you, Judy to state your shopping intentions for all to read. Being held accountable can be very helpful in achieving difficult goals (even if it isn’t much fun) Good for you…and once again…VERY BRAVE!

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    How about a YARN stash busting attempt in 2009 in addition to the fabric one? My stashes could use both. I, too, have enough yarn and fabric to last a good long while…SABLE for sure!

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    Katie says

    Though we are just a small sample of the population, I’m suprized to see how many of us are buying less because we have too much. Probably not what the economists would like to hear…

    I, too, am buying less because I have too much. This is carrying over into my holiday shopping as well this year because everyone I buy for also has too much. (Not my place to judge, but when you can’t figure out what to buy a 7-year-old because she already has it all, I think I can safely say “too much.”) I’ve been on this track for a few years, though. After moving a few times in a short period (back when the economy was good and I was dating my hubby), I realized how much stuff I had and how much just stayed in boxes or the back of the closet for years. That’s when I decided I needed less “stuff” and quit buying things I didn’t need (not just fabric and quilty stuff, but shoes, clothes, books, etc.) because they were cute, on sale or a good deal. Added to that is my mom and her insane stash of fabric. She has more than both of us could ever use (maybe we’d have to add some neutrals to even it out…) and can’t ever seem to find anything she wants. Looking at that, I decided even more to NOT be like that. Plus, she’s generous with what she has, though I’m not much of a scrap quilter (I just like things simpler than that).

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    Marla says

    Judy, you can get the most interesting converstions going! I too am trying to be more frugal. My husband has also been without steady work for about 6 months so I have been the primary breadwinner. Add to that a child still in college and that pretty much says it all. I don’t have a stash but wish I did. I do however have enough projects to keep me busy for the next year. My biggest regret when my children were little is that we gave them too much at Christmas. Now they just seem to expect it. If I was starting all over, I would stick to no more than three presents apiece (like the three wise men). Would make life at Christmas a lot less crazy!

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    For me, it has always been both.I stopped buying as much maybe seven years ago, when they announced at work that they were going to move to another, farther, area of town. I wanted to be prepared for two scenarios – if I quit, I would have to have a savings cushion until I found another job – and if I moved with them, I would want to move houses so I could be closer.
    I wound up quitting, and then saving money became even more important. By that time though, I was having neighbor trouble, so I wanted to sell the house, so I was still trying to reduce clutter, and save money.
    Now with the economy being what it is, I am still doing both. I realize I have too much stuff, and still want to be prepared cash wise and house wise for whatever I plan to do next.

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    gina says

    I suppose I’m buying less for many reasons. The first being that I just dont seem to care to? Wierd, I know.
    My finances are in the toilet since I havent worked enough this year, so I dont feel too deserving either.
    I have much stuff, that I wont part with? I just cleaned out my shoe closet, bagged 17 pair for goodwill, leaving 24 pair.. and I actually stood there and justified needing more for color variations! Then… I walked away just not giving a rip…. Im worried about me!

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    I’m full up at the quilting condo. I’ve had so much fun collecting fabric for the past eight years, and I’ve used a bunch of it. But, truly, I’m out of room. So 2009 is designated as my Stash Diving Year!

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    We’re buying less due to the economy, my unemployment ran out last week and we had to let our house go and move to an apt. We had purged or sold about 75% of our belongings and while unpacking I’m still purging more…it feels refreshing to have so much less stuff to figure out where to put and just have what we need. For Christmas there will only be knitted items for the kids and grandkids….that’s all I can do. So yes it’s the economy…but I’m like you and don’t like to shop in the first place.
    Take Care

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    carol fun says

    I have to agree, we are buying less because we are watching our pennies and we just don’t need any more stuff. My house is filled with great crafty stuff that I should use before adding to it – fabric, rubber stamps, paper, beads, and yarn. I could be snowed in for years and never run out of things to do. I’m being very selective in purchasing new items, however, books are still a weakness, since new books lead to new ideas. Currently my biggest weakness is sock yarn and as I clicked on the link you had, I realized that we have the same fondness for this company. I was tempted by the sock club too (cause while I do have enough sock yarn to outfit a small platoon) I don’t have a lot of semi-solids. But in the end I resisted ( and it was hard) but I’ll reward myself by starting another pair of socks using some of the yarn I have already stashed — Have a great day Judy, I love your blog!!

    carol fun

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    Honestly BOTH! I started this year with major dejunking. I have to much stuff. I have gotten rid of tons of “stuff” that I just don’t need. In turn I am not shopping to replace any of it. My husband is in new home construction here in California. He got laid off a few weeks ago, and has already found another job. He is one of a few lucky ones. We are trying to cut back just incase.


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    Brenda says

    De-Cluttering is what I am doing and it’s stunning how much stuff you ‘collect’…..
    I am not ‘not’ shopping, but I am also watching what I do shop for. And I have a comment for Diane I belive it was – if your a long arm quilter, that is another way for you to suppliment your income and keep working on your skills!!
    And I am going to be working from my stash in 2009. I am a new reader – I have found out about blogs!!! And now I can read about what other people do!!! It’s fun and interesting and just nice to know your not alone.
    So, I am working from my stash and doing UFO’s and making ’09 my year to ‘clean up’!! Get rid of the stuff I don’t need/want/have any use for, and finish what I have started -so that is cleaning up too. I want to go into the next year with a clean slate and house – ready to start fresh. And I am going to enjoy reading about what is going on with everyone else.
    It’s true, alot of people have stopped buying just because how much do you really need??? And I have noticed to, the malls and stores parking lots are not looking any empiter – but it could that be because it’s so close to ‘ho,ho’ man time????
    Lets clean up our stash’s and see how creative we really are this year, and have fun doing it! Great to be part of such a wounderful site!! (and lets see it I did this all right so I can post this………)! Brenda!!

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    Yes, buying less. Economy is part of it, but face it, when you get to our age, there is simply nothing we really NEED. Want yes, need no! We don’t buy Christmas presents, instead have a gag gift game we play. Little kids get something, but not very many of them anymore either. My freezer and canning jars are all full, I have plenty of fabric. We don’t need clothes. My one bad habit is books. I love to read. Oh well. If that is my only bad habit then I won’t worry. I always say I don’t want to be the little old lady that died and they had an auction to dump all my precious items! So I’m sewing as much as possible, and decluttering as much as I can. And I am working to reduce my stash by 100 yds by the end of the year. I WILL do it!! Lori in SD

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    I will be the only one buying more this year, I suppose. I started working part time this year, and while we don’t have lots, I have had a little more “wiggle room” in my budget. I have been shopping more prudently, and most fabric has an end vision. I’ve also been preparing for the reality that my part-time job may dry up, and if it does, there won’t be ANY money for fabric. I will be shopping less next year, and purging the stuff my girks have (WAY too much)!

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    I spent all morning shopping, but it was only because I hadn’t been for weeks and had a whole list of things I needed. I live about 30 miles east of Albuquerque so shopping is something I keep a list for and when there is quite a list… I shop. And then I drive in the order of the shops to conserve gas. My Bernina needed servicing and a bunch or really important things like that. Now I won’t go for another several weeks. I leave “Grumpy” at home so I get it done faster!

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    For me it is a combination of both – using stuff to make more room to not stuff with other things and saving money.
    And I don’t even have a yarn stash 😉

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    Pam says

    I have the donation truck coming tomorrow. I have cleaned out my closet and reorganized drawers. The drawers got purged of old store bought socks. Replaced bathroom hardware and light fixtures are going. I wanted a new bathroom floor, but I decided I can live with this one for a while longer,
    We have decided to cut back on Christmas gift-giving because we buy what we want. We don’t need much because my husband has his hunting and fishing supplies and I have my quilting supplies. I only buy what I need. I told my husband once that I wish his next wife to be a spender! Hey, but I’m not planning to go anywhere.
    We are fortunate to be retired with pensions coming in. I’m sad for the economy, but I think that we can thank our elected officials for that. No one helped us pay for our house or vehicles.
    The only time I buy fabric is when I want to make one of your designs and it calls for more than I have. You are the reason that I have to go to the LQS!!!!
    Thanks for a wonderful blog with thought provoking questions.
    Happy in SC.

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    I’m shopping less for us. After moving twice cross country,,, then cleaning out the folks house. What a chore ! I have decided that by now we know what we DONT need. The rest Im passing to the kids.. freecycle… charities. ~~clean those closets ! ~K

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    I feel that I am shopping less and enjoying what I have more. While or finances are still OK, I worry about the economy and what the future will hold. I also find that I enjoy getting rid of things and the empty space that follows. It really lets you focus on what is left when the important things aren’t overwhelmed by clutter. If I do ever run out of fabric in my stash, I could still switch to scrapbooking and keep myself busy for years to come!

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    I don’t shop because I don’t like it. When I do shop I hang out in second hand shops, op shops, and quilts shops by preference. Then if I have to, supermarkets, the bargain shops and chain stores. Sometimes a real bookstore, but never a boutique, and shoes have to be the worst thing to shop for. I don’t think a huge lottery win would make me like shopping any more than I do now, even if the price tag didn’t matter anymore!

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    peggy says

    I would like to retire someday. DH and I have both had good jobs and saved for retirement, but those accounts are so diminished that I don’t see a day anytime soon where I will go shopping “just because.” To be honest, I suspect we have all done more of that than we should have over the years. I know it’s bad for the economy in some ways for people to stop consuming, but in the long run, I think we will have a healthier USA. And I don’t believe this country is the only guilty party here. Consumption has been rampant for a long time worldwide. I guess I fall into the category of not needing anymore stuff but watching my pennies for economic reasons.

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    Toni says

    Today I went shopping for a few things I really needed. When I got home I remove two items the size of my purchase to put in my Goodwill stack. At this rate I’ll get ahead of the game in about five years. Hehe.

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    Not shopping. Three reasons, really. 2 in college, and the 3rd is a junior in high school. I have waaaaay too much stuff already, and it is just “stuff.” And, I’m not finding anything that appeals to me. There’s only so much ’70s stuff a person can stand, and most of it I didn’t care for the first time around.

    So it’s scrap quilting, and UFO busting for me!

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    Eve says

    What a great discussion!! We’re on a fixed income, but it really isn’t that bad. DH is a 100% disabled veteran, has his SS and a small pension.
    I don’t particularly care for shopping in the first place—unless it’s for fabric/quilty stuff. But I am full to overflowing in my sewing room, so there’s really little that I need–usually just thread, needles, or neutrals/backgrounds(‘cuz this is the thing I rarely buy).
    I keep wanting to declutter/downsize, but I’m married to a master packrat. Any time I make a clean spot in the house, he fills it. Sometimes w/ stuff he already has, but he shops and buys WAY too much. We’d have an excellent savings if I could just keep him from spending. Oh, well. Eve

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    My spending habits are pretty much the same – I buy when it’s something I care about – books, quilting supplies, a little yarn and don’t buy things like jewelry or much in the clothing line. This time of year I live in a mock turtleneck, jeans, and long john bottoms. We also spend on travel and dining out.

    I do think a lot of people are hurting – we see and hear about problems here in MPLS in the hotel and restaurant business and that’s not related to people having too much stuff.

    I do have too much stuff but I love spending a night like last night and being able to work on anything I want, knowing all the supplies I need are right there.

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    I am really limiting shopping-partly because I get out of the shopping habit in Co. in summer when we are so isolated it is all internet shopping! Now back in PHX. I am still not in a shopping mode & our enlarging family has decided to draw names this Christmas for anyone under 18, sensible idea I think. I have neough fabric to keep me occupied until…….. well whenever! So I just have to buy food & other essentials.
    I am definitely in a non spending mode.

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    I love the idea of a yarn stash busting in 2009! I already plan to do your fabric stash busting. I am feeling overwhelmed by my fabric and sock yarn stash, so it is going to feel great to whittle it down!