Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Falling off the Wagon

The wagon had a lot of baggage on it

I have a confession- the old Clutterella came back for a while.

It's my Ireland trip. What happened is that I kept thinking of things that I HAD to have before I left. And I bought them. All of them.

First, I thought, my current digital camera is kind of mediocre. I don't want to come back with anything less than fantastic photos. I should get a new camera before I go.

Then I said, my suitcase is a little banged up, and also clashes with my huge collection of Vera Bradley weekend luggage (I live in the South, don't judge). A new suitcase is a must-have for my trip.

And on it went- a new cardigan, a Vera Bradley villager- they retired my pattern, I was afraid it would sell out, it's a Southern girl thing, don't judge- a pair of lightweight hiking boots, some incredibly expensive wool-poly blend socks to go under the boots, a new pair of sneakers to wear on non-hiking boots days. I think that's all but I might have forgotten something.

Here's the thing: I have been trying for almost a year to get away from the belief that more stuff will make my life better. That's what was really behind the shopping. I kept thinking that if I had a cuter evening wardrobe I would get out more; if I bought nicer workout clothes I would go to the gym more; if I bought TONS of healthy groceries I would stop eating junk; if I bought the right floor cleaning appliance I would keep the house cleaner (I still struggle with this one)....and so on.

What I have learned is that if I want to get out more, I need to get out more (and not spend my going-out funds on stuff); if I want to go to the gym more often, I need to put on my shoes and go. The eating junk and messy house issues are not completely resolved, but I have given myself permission to focus on my big goals and let some things go.

On the other hand, there is some stuff that does make your life better. Hiking boots were recommended for the trip because it rains a lot and boots keep your feet dry better than "trainers." I have been really disappointed with the performance of the camera I bought 18 months ago. When I returned from the Bahamas last summer, I was sad to see how dull the ocean and sky looked in the pictures, and I spent a lot of time doctoring them on the computer to match my memory of those beautiful colors. And, right or wrong, I am the kind of person who would feel uncomfortable dragging around a ratty suitcase that clashed with my carry on.

So I guess this comes down to the issue of simplicity, rather than minimalism. I am spending a lot of money to go to Ireland, and I don't want the trip to be disappointing because I had wet feet the whole time, or because my photos don't capture what it really felt like to be there, or because I walked around Dublin in sneakers with poor arch support and a too-small tote bag.

You guys in the peanut gallery have been pretty quiet lately. I know you're out there...I was hoping you could tell me about a time when you went overboard getting ready for a trip, and whether you were ultimately glad or sorry that you did it? Or, just keep lurking, whatever.

See you soon, KISS (keep it simple stupid), and check out the Vera Bradley bags before you judge.


  1. Hahaha. The Vera Bradley comments have me cracking up...especially since I have literally the entire set in my pattern.

    The little things do matter to me. Before our Med cruise, I wanted a really good pair of non-tennis shoe for walking around and I wouldn't have been happy on the trip without them.

    I'm def NOT a minimalist, but more of a keep whatever makes you happiest kind of thing. If a new book/shoes/suitcase will make me happy for a while, I keep it until it no longer does. Patrick on the other hand will keep a book he hated, because one day, he might like it (we're working on it)

  2. I have been reading a lot of Minimalist blogs, but I just can't get on board. Thanks for the comment!


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