13 January 2011

The 80-20 Rule

I make a lot of goals for myself. I'm a pretty driven person, so I end up achieving these goals one way or another without much thought. However, lately I've been rather disappointed in myself. I used to pride myself on my frugality. Frugality led me to being more aware of what I consume and my impact on the environment. I used to buy all of my clothes used and I always thought twice about buying anything, anything new.

As I've become busier and busier with a house, a husband, a job, and two kids, I find myself favoring convenience to frugality. That means less healthy meals, more new stuff, and infinitely more trash. So, I am reviewing my 80-20 Rule. This rule means that I need to try to buy 80 percent of my "stuff" used - from clothes, to furniture, to cars, to stuff for my kids. Nate and I do pretty well on the used furniture stuff. Of all the furniture in our house, we only bought five items new. The rest has a history. And I love that history. For example, we bought our desk from an antique store in Austin (the first piece of furniture we ever bought together). We bought our living room chair from a friend in Austin. We bought our dining room table from a family in the neighborhood. We bought our basement couch and chair from a nice guy in Boulder. We found all of this stuff on Craigslist. And the amazing thing is: It all looks fantastic. With a little patience, we'll furnish our whole house with used furniture. We even recycled our cabinets. We painted them and they look fantastic.

I'm also pretty good about getting kids clothes used (and for free). We're incredibly lucky to have a couple of neighbors who give us hand-me-downs. And I exchanged Benny's old clothes to a friend for some of her daughter's baby girl clothes.

So, I need to start practicing what I preach when it comes to other items in my life. I can't remember the last time I bought clothes at a thrift store or consignment shop. I need to start. If anyone knows of a great consignment shop in the Denver area, please send it my way! My new goal is to spend my Christmas gift cards at Banana Republic and then switch to used clothes. That way buying new every once in awhile won't feel so bad. In terms of food, I need to buy more fresh, locally produced stuff. Less packaging, less sodium, less icky stuff to put into landfills and our bodies. This is one goal that I do have to try a little harder to achieve. Now that I have two kids with impressionable little minds, I think it's imperative to really focus on these values so that they learn from example.

With all of that, I do have to admit that the new pair of brown boots that I just got in the mail are pretty freaking spectacular. I just can't feel guilty about boots, as hard as I try!

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