Wearing Stuff Out and Using it Up

This post is part of a series called “35 Days of Favorites”, in honor of my 35th birthday. You can read more about the details here

I’ve been a little too blessed in this life.

I’ve always lived with a lot of excess, and haven’t ever needed to learn how to squeeze absolutely all the life available out of the things I use and own.

I’ve gotten rid of clothes because I was tired of them, not because they were worn out. I’ve sent loads and loads of perfectly good belongings to the thrift shop because I wasn’t using them, and they were simply lying around my house, taking up space.

I’m so tired of excess.

I don’t know what brought on the need for change. Maybe it started with this clothing revelation, and just grew from there.

Maybe it came from the stuff I was reading.

Or from moving yet again, and getting tired of hauling around all of the useless, random stuff we owned.

Whatever the case, it’s time to do things differently, but I think this skill of using less will take awhile to learn. This past year, it was my goal to start cutting back.

To start with, I’m trying to own only as much clothing as I actually use. For example, I own two hoodies now instead of five, and I just recently had to buy a new one, because one of my old ones was so worn out, it was only fit to be used as a rag.

I own two pairs of good jeans, and keep one old pair for emergencies. I buy a new pair when I get the inevitable hole in the right knee. (Why always the right, specifically??!)

I’m trying to keep less food in our pantry, and only one kind of salad dressing in our fridge!

I packed away half the girls’ toys, and they are just as happy as ever with what they have.

And our most recent accomplishment: Driving our van until it died.

It sounds kind of dumb, but it was a victorious moment. We limped along for a long time, knowing that the end was near. And then one day, we took our van in to have a problem repaired, and were told that it would cost $900 to fix, but the vehicle was only worth $1000. If we chose to fix it anyway, another $900 of repairs were predicted within the next few months.

We bought a new vehicle because we didn’t really have a better choice, and it felt good.

vanThere sits our van, waiting to be picked up. She’s done well, and carried us many, many miles!

I still shop too much, waste too much, and think I need too much, but I’m working on it.

And every time any of my belongings legitimately wears out, and must be replaced out of necessity, it makes me feel good inside.

I would like to feel this way more often.


Any helpful purging, “living with less” tips out there? How intentional are you about wearing something out before replacing it? Anyone else struggle with balancing “need” versus “want”?

5 thoughts on “Wearing Stuff Out and Using it Up

  1. For “living with Less” or purging, I will watch an episode or two of “Hoarders” on Netflix and I will want to throw out just about everything I don’t need… Wearing out before replacing is dependent on the item. If my socks are starting to get thin, I will throw instead of waiting for the thin spot to get a hole. I feel like shoes/socks/clothing can only be worn so much before they start to look old. By no means do I throw out just because it was “last season” but I will not keep a black t-shirt which is now grey… A need versus a want is definitely the most tricky. I feel if I can justify and most importantly AFFORD the want, I will get it. My biggest rule for myself, is that I will not purchase something on sale just because it is on sale, if I would buy this item full priced and now its on sale I would totally do it.

  2. I’m actually going through that right now! It’s a necessity for us to save money so it’s been really tough dealing with want vs. Need but it’s been a good lesson:)

  3. I’m finding right now it’s more of an issue to find time to shop than to own excess for myself. Of course we have too much stuff! Just one look in our basement right now would show anyone that much. However, this season of my life has kind of been good in that I don’t own many clothes because I can’t find the time or the energy to shop for myself. I shop for the kids since they continually grow and need different sizes (and we have nobody to give us hand-me-downs…we’re the ones providing the hand-me-downs to other people in our family!) Anyway, this shows me constantly how many clothes I don’t actually need to get by in life. And for me the jeans always get a hole in the bum. Silly. No idea why! haha! I’m also going through a season of re-organizing and re-decorating my home. I’m finding it to be very satisfying to find new ways to use old things by giving them new life. Certainly I’ve got a long, long way to go to truly living with less, but I feel like we’ve put a foot on the road. Sort of…

    • Ha, it sounds like I’m dragging my right leg around the house, and you’re scooting around on your butt all day! Oh, those holes in jeans! I can totally relate to not having the time to shop for myself. It forces me to get creative! And speaking of redecorating your house, we have a bookshelf date that we need to schedule!:)

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