Shopping in my own home

My office is stuffed with wrapped presents right now. It feels like a ludicrous number, though much of this is a function of family size. If 7 people each get 6 presents, that’s 42. Interestingly, little kid presents can wind up being physically quite large; teen ones, though more expensive, tend to be small. We shall see how this plays out in terms of people’s present piles. I’m somewhat avoiding the issue by not putting most of the presents under the tree until much closer to Christmas (better for staving off any sudden lapses in self-control, or baby explorations).

Anyway, all this shopping never sits well with me. I find spending money painful, even as it must be done, and even as our life isn’t exactly cheap (hello, new house…). As a bit of a cleanse, I’ve decided that for the next few weeks I’m going to be shopping in my own home.

This house turns out to contain some amazing and surprising things. For instance, I need new pants and voila, I found two new pairs of jeans in my closet that I ordered right before the pandemic started. Then we stopped going to the dry cleaners, and so they never got hemmed and then I sort of forgot they existed. (I did manage to mend a rip in my old favorite jeans, so that increased my quantity of available pants that fit too.)

We struggled to find good gloves yesterday to go play in the snow. But I am quite sure our home already contains mittens and gloves of all sizes that just need to be passed down from one kid to the next. They are sitting at the bottom of bins and closets. Time for some closet-shopping! The good news is we did find boots that fit everyone. (The bad news: they are all currently sitting in our mudroom. That plus normal shoes for everyone is already topping 30 individual shoes…)

We have had some wins in the recent past. For instance, I found a Minecraft backpack (left over from kid #2) that wasn’t too beat up, and presented it to my kindergartner as his new backpack for school. He was thrilled and hasn’t suspected its history. There have been some strike-outs too, though. I never did find the size 12 months coat that all my little boys wore, so kid #5 is now wearing a new size 18 month coat. It was a Target find, so frugal as these things go, but not as frugal as free.

The toy situation is, well, intense. We’d packed away a lot of baby toys into storage once kid #4 outgrew them. I realized the other day that kid #5 would have absolutely no idea if I cleaned them up a bit and wrapped them as presents for him. I did not wind up doing this for Christmas, but I might pad out his birthday gift pile by finding and cleaning up some toys shopped from the basement closet.

I’m definitely pondering shopping in my own home as I figure out the new house. Rugs from one room might get a new life in a different room. Chairs too, with an old living room set redistributed to bedrooms. As for random decorative objects, well, I’m pretty sure that vases and books and small pretty things can be endlessly repurposed. I’ve had the experience lately of looking through some online auctions from estate sales and I have learned that at the end it all gets sold for pennies on the dollar anyway. Better to get more life out of stuff, and save some money in the process.

Have you had any big wins from shopping in your own home lately?

6 thoughts on “Shopping in my own home

  1. I have used furniture and decorations for years. It didn’t even occur to me to get new ones just because I moved. Most things work perfectly fine in a new home as well.
    I like your idea of wrapping pre-loved toys as a gift for your youngest. He really wouldn’t know and if it’s nice toys (which I assume if you kept them), that’s a great gift!

  2. Yes! We recently moved into a new home that was over twice as big as our previous home (we did this after growing our family by seven more kids via adoption in a 2.5 year time period…) and have reused almost all our furniture from the old house (sans dressers as the new house has built in dressers). We did end up buying some new furniture but it was truly what we needed with all the extra space and using what we already had allowed us to buy what we really wanted (custom made Amish pieces) because we weren’t needing to buy everything to furnish the new house.

  3. I also HATE spending money. Drives my husband nuts! We have been very blessed to be on the receiving end of several sources for hand-me-down clothes (I have 2 boys) and multiple times I have been fortunate to have been given something right when we need it. My 1st grader needed an “ugly sweater” this week and a dig thru the boxes revealed a striped sweater vest, which was perfect when paired with the addition of our gaudy homemade felt Christmas tree. He also needed a nice shirt for the virtual Christmas concert and presto, the boxes contained a very nice green sweater. These are things I would not have bought (especially as that is the only dress up event I anticipate this winter!) And now all of these clothes, and many of our toys, are being passed on again to my nephews, ready when they need just the right thing.

    As for decor, I can probably count on one hand the number of decor items I’ve bought at a traditional store (holiday decor excluded, though even that is eclectic). Almost all our stuff has been gifted, hand or homemade, bought as a souvenir in our travels or something passed down. I will say this approach makes it VERY hard to get rid of things!

    Hope the new house is going well! New homes are both exciting and exhausting! So many possibilities! So much work! Good luck!

  4. I’m doing something similar this year. My oldest just turned 3, and I bought her some puzzles for Christmas last year and pretty quickly realized they were too advanced for a 2 year old. So I put them in the closet in January and recently pulled them out and re-wrapped for this year. She didn’t miss them last year with all of her other birthday and Christmas gifts, and I’m sure she won’t remember them when she opens them (again) this year 🙂

  5. I realized this morning, when two people sent presents for our one year old, that the husband and I had completely forgotten to buy her anything. Chalk it up to being the third child maybe? Her siblings have been very vocal about their Christmas lists, so we got them done pretty early.
    I hate shopping this close to Christmas, and also find myself pretty unmotivated to try to figure out what new thing she could probably want in a house full of toys. so she might just get a wrapped empty box. Or maybe we’ll go the “wrap something from storage” route that you’ve suggested!

  6. Not lately, but in years past I would shop my attic for Christmas gifts for my 3rd child, as my first two are 9 years and 7 years older than her. So many gently used toys up there that she had never even seen, made perfect gifts.

    My kids are 19,17, and 10 now and for years we have been doing 4 gifts each- a want, a need, a wear, and a read. The “wear” gifts for the girls can sometimes be shopped from my home- a pair of my earrings that they have always loved, etc.

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