Our children are very artistic. All 3 of them. They love to draw, paint, colour, create, cut, fold (which used to be called origami in this house but has now turned into something called papercraft) and sew. Sometimes they even collaborate:
All of this creativity comes at a price, however.* CLUTTER. We have an “art corner” upstairs and it is absolutely chock-a-block with art books of various descriptions. I removed about 3/4 of them, and the results of my purging (plus one book of mine – see if you can guess which one) are on the chalkboard. Understand, readers, that each line item represents more than one book. Mostly more than 4 books.
Just before I took this picture Mike and I had a little chat with the children. It went like this:
Me: “You know we’re doing 5 Down, right?”
Me: “And do you know the very easiest way to get rid of clutter?”
Clara: “Throw everything out!!!”
Me: “Uh, everything?” (hilarity ensued).
Max: “Don’t buy stuff?”
Yes! Max is getting the method behind the madness, clearly. The absolutely easiest way to cut down on all the crap, clutter, crud that you cram into all the crannies in your house is to just. stop. buying. so. much. stuff.
Last year, in October, after being prompted by my hero, Mr. Money Mustache, we had a buy-nothing week. It was a great kick-start to attempting to live more frugally and it really helped us understand where we were frittering money away. So now, in honour of the NEW YEAR and out of the need to take a breather from all the Christmas frenzy, we’re going to have an entire buy-nothing month.
“But what if we need food?!?” asked Solomon, brow furrowed.
“But what if we’re lost somewhere and we can’t find anything to eat and there is a restaurant” asked Max, with a gleam in his eye.
“But what about my Hanukkah present you told me I could go shopping for?!?” asked Clara, lip quivering.
What about these things? Well, we’re going to have rules:
* We’re allowed to buy food (obviously) and toiletries and anything that is absolutely necessary (for example: if a neighbourhood kid lobs a snowball through our front window and smashes it, we’re not going to suffer through without replacing the window).
* We’re not allowed to buy anything unnecessary, including restaurant meals, or other edibles-of-convenience (coffee/tea from a shop or stand). No movies at the theatre, no admission-charging events.
The boys are all-in, and Clara is … except for the Hanukkah present. I’m torn about this one. See, their grandparents in Montreal sent them each money to buy themselves a Hanukkah present. When they got theirs, the boys were busy saving up for a laptop, and Clara was busy building up her stash.** But then Fancy Nancy perished, and Clara’s trove no longer mattered. We searched for a replacement to no avail, and I promised I could take her out to buy something…with her Hanukkah money! Of course, it’s been holiday time, and that has not yet happened.
So that is the dilemma: do we take them out even though it’s buy-nothing month? The jury is out…on the one hand, Hanukkah was last month, and the money arrived last month. On the other hand, it’s now buy-nothing month.
What to do?!? Stay tuned (or weigh in!).
Day 62 Scorecard: 310 down, 1515 to go
* You might be noticing that this artwork has been created from the box for my shredder-of-joy.
** Our kids all get allowance, but Clara almost never buys anything so she gloats about being wealthy instead.