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?