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Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Downside of Downsizing

In a effort to be trendy, catch a compliment, or live with less clutter, many people are downsizing their possessions. Okay, some follow trends and need to do so. Anyone looking for kudos should desist. For those who are hoarders or have OCD, this may be a lifelong chore, a fight. If a person or family moves into smaller quarters, obviously, this is a necessity.

For the detractors who say I have too much "stuff," that I could live with less, I disagree on most counts. I just took a load of white clothes from the dryer. There were eight towels in the load with many washcloths. I took a load of white clothes from the washer and put another 8 wet towels into the dryer with more washcloths. I loaded dark clothes and put three dark towels, amongst other dark clothes to wash.  That is 19 towels. There are no more clean ones on the shelf.

Before my illness described here and here and here, I needed to wash clothes. I had just taken a dozen pair of panties off the line the day before I became violently and suddenly ill. There were also plenty of clean washcloths. I have 8 horrid purple sweatshirts I bought too large and for $1 each last year, my winter indoor, outdoor, and sleeping wardrobe. LOL  The hens don't care if I wear purple every day. These sweatshirts keep me warm indoors, especially when worn two at a time. And, it is luscious to warm a sweatshirt and t-shirt and put a fresh change on before bed. They never are worn beyond the yard. I hate purple! But, I also hate wearing my beloved pink and red sweatshirts indoors, cooking and cleaning, and ruining them unnecessarily. By the way, I made the red and pink sweatshirts 20 years ago, and kept them nice by not cooking and cleaning in them.

Okay, 8 sweatshirts is a little much. But, I bought 2 to cut an outfit for my g-daughter. When the shirts proved to pill beyond belief, I forgot about that good idea.

By some standards, I have too many of the items so far mentioned. I don't have a person living with me who can wash as I soil clothes with uncontrolled poop. There is no mother or sister to help.  If I had fewer pairs of socks, I would have had to wear poopy socks or go barefoot. Believe me when I say that washing clothes was not in my capacity for two days.

Oh horrors! I like the last socks I bought so much that I bought another bag of them for later. It seems when I find something perfect, it is discontinued when I need it next year or in three years. I prepare, but am not a prepper. These are basic white socks with grey heel and toe, not the kind I wear when going out someplace.

When I started washing this afternoon, there were no clean towels or washcloths and few panties. Yes, I would have had to drag myself in to wash clothes today, no matter what. That would have meant soiling myself in another room and dripping it back to the bathroom. This was some serious shit!

If people are so concerned about hard times coming, I never understand why a few extra clothes are not a concern. I am by no means stocking up clothes. The $1 sweatshirts looked like too good a deal to pass up. My 5 pair of $3.00 fuzzy, colorful pajama pants were a deal and soooo warm. And, my house is soooo cold! So what if it takes me 10 years to wear out all this stuff?

Then, there are other considerations. The white towels with the pink stripes are over 20 years old, serged to keep from raveling further. The pink ones were bought new several years ago, along with their matching washcloths. The other odd pink towel was a quarter at a yard sale. The pear green towel was found in a park. The huge bath sheet that has "Jennifer" embroidered on it was left at the end of an estate sale, new, just soiled from the trash. Soon, all the oldest towels will be rags, cut to be my tp. Then, my supply of towels will be diminished.

White washcloths with pink stripes are already tp on the back of the commode. Many of the white washcloths were bought for a dime or quarter at a thrift store. The white washcloths with the one pink embroidered stripe are starting to age. Washcloths that don't get reinvented by placing them on the commode for tp often end up as cleaning rags.

My 40+ washcloths were all soiled today. All were used to clean my body the last two days. Some of them are threadbare but work for pee. None are new. Some are from thrift stores.

Back to the sweatshirts--thankfully, I had more than the two sweatshirts people often say they need. Mine had gotten poopy, so I could not continue wearing them. If it had just been grease or spilled chocolate milk, wearing a dirty sweatshirt would be okay.

I don't mean to reprimand or make an example of anyone who is getting rid of 20-year-old clothing that does not fit. That is not the point. Those things probably do need to go to a good home. A nice, planned, workable wardrobe is a good thing. A pared-down wardrobe is good. I have that myself. But, for the everyday items, I have multiple of the sweatshirts and pajama pants because I knew I would wear them strictly at home. Yes, it is a huge stack, but they can be stacked on a shelf, but in a plastic bin, or stored in a box. All I need to do is reach in and grab what I want, no are the same. I can keep them in a laundry bag or trash bag shoved under a bed!

In a bid for attention and kudos, a woman on a site got rid of all but one wash cloth and one towel.....ewww.  Okay, maybe she had two.  Think about the implications. If that is all a person has, that's fine and they can worry about keeping things clean. She did it to get praise.

Now, I don't drag home everything I find for free or cheap. But, this wash day/evening got me to thinking what I would do if I got rid of everything "extra" that I owned. The last three days would have been nastier nightmare than they were.

Seriously, I am not afraid the supply of towels, socks, or cheap sweatshirts will dry up. I don't fear doing without. There is no urgency to my buying of things on sale. I don't scavenge for used or free items for any other reason than saving them from landfill and saving money.

(There are no paper towels or any other paper products here.)

Each day, I dress in my home clothing (purple sweat shirt and pajama or knit pants) and change to go to store or drive out of the driveway. When I return, I change back into my home clothing. Some of my friends wear their new outfits all day at home, cleaning, cooking and eating in them. They buy clothing continually and don't spare the costs. That's not me.

Your turn
Do you see value in downsizing to the point you can only go three days without washing clothes? Do you see any value, like I, in having more than just enough? Do you wear worn clothing at home rather than soil or wear out clothing fit for wearing to work or to the store?


  1. When my twins were babies and both had stomach flu at the same time, I learned the value of extra sheets, blankets, towels and pajamas.
    Downsizing can be good but I think logic should dictate how far one goes. A person probably doesn't need two blenders or five t.v's.

    That lady would have to wash her one set all the time, thereby wasting energy so what is the point then? Thats if she wants clean towels.Maybe she doesn't care.

    I know alot of preppers who stock up on clothes, towels, wash cloths, blankets, socks, etc. I try to do that myself when we have gift cards or money to spare. It just makes good sense.

    I live in house clothes. They are sweats, tshirts and a hoodie. I can run out of the house in them though the one time I didn't bother to match, I ended up on local t.v.! Thats when I got matching house clothes! LOL!

  2. Linda...
    First--glad you are feeling a little better. This bug is making the rounds here too and people are miserable.

    Second--I think the way you do things makes sense (to me). When I find a ridiculous buy on something that I know we use, I stock up. I do that with food, with underwear, husband always has at least 2 packs of the socks he likes in his closet. He wears them out in the work boots and when I find them on sale, I get them. Same with underwear--his and mine both.

    The sweatshirt deal made perfect sense to me.

    I agree with Linda...I know people with 4 televisions and 3 sets of dishes...that is space wasting stuff. I need to downsize more because I do have a lot of stuff that doesn't "enchant" me anymore...but mostly I don't buy things like I used to either. People do give me stuff all the time...I generally sort through it, take what I want and pass it on to the Goodwill.

    Thought provoking post, lady. Thanks...

  3. LindaM,
    Even with one baby throwing up or having diarrhea, extra was good. I cannot fathom two sick babies!

    I never get so organized as to be called a prepper. As things come along, I get the super deal or sale.

    She wanted attention all the time!

    My "at home" clothes are rarely what I would wear to the store. I might go get gas on a dark On the other hand, some of these clothes have scandalous holes and revealing rips!

    A friend has half a dozen bread machines, same for toasters and makes neither bread nor toast. There are 6 TVs in a one-person home.

    Now, I am wondering if you live near me. I had thought it was food poisoning until I heard so many people in town had the same condition.

    I am glad to know we think alike, buying things and putting them up for the future, not prepping, just preparing for the day socks are chewed up or items wear out.

    That sweatshirt deal was the best. I was getting cold since several tattered and stained sweatshirts were on their last legs. They went into the rag bag.

    It's funny how some things that are so enchanting lose the Those things are mostly gone from my life.

    These thoughts came as I was washing 4 full loads of things soiled just before or during my late health disaster! I started wondering how people who severely downsized could have managed to help themselves in a similar laundry enriching experience.

    1. Ah, but Linda, you'll arrive at the gas station at midnight and Brad Pitt will be there and the news will want to interview you in a purpke sweatshirt and torn green polka dotted pants! LOL! I am exagerrating but yes, it can happen!

  4. At one time I used to have to go to the lauderette to wash my clothes but had only enough underwear to last a week. I had neither the time or money to go to the launderette more than once a week and if I had to miss it for some reason, I had to wash undies by hand and dry them on the radiator (whether it was on or not!) And a decent pair of undies cost £3 a pair or 3 pairs for £3 (but they needed constant repair); this at a time when I lived on £30 a week. NOBODY will make ME feel excessive for having eleventy-seven pairs of undies in my knicker drawer!! (OK, it's only about 30 pairs, really.) I have friends who have ONE set of bedlinen for their bed; they are short of storage space but even so...

  5. Attila,
    Nothing like doing without to make a person err on the side of excess, and with good reason. It is a luxury to you to not have to wash things by hand. Keep a drawer full of knickers for more than one reason!I do think I could find space to store at least one more set of bed linens! By putting it all in one pillowcase, it is more easily stored. Speaking of panties, right now, I have a dozen pair all tearing up. Okay, a few that are smallish are fine, but I don't wear them often. So, the next thing is to find the panties that will fit and see if they are in bundles or just buy a few pair at a time if they are singly sold. A really good sale would suit me! Thanks for the very apt comment.Really, 30 pair is not excessive, because if your panties are like mine, a few are always on the verge of being unwearable and will pass away soon.

  6. LindaM
    It always happens that if I try to sneak out, I see someone that I have not seen in ages. Soooo embarassing!

  7. We're minimalists at home in many respects (little furniture, few knickknacks), but when it comes to things we know we'll use (food, household supplies), we'll keep as much as we can buy at a rock-bottom price. And when it comes to clothes, sheets, towels and blankets, I'm not sure we can have enough. For example, since we air-dry our laundry (the dryer is dead and gone), having two sets of sheets, which used to seem like a luxury, is only practical. My stack of extra blankets and towels gives me a sense of security; if a pipe bursts or the heat goes out in the dead of winter, I like knowing we'll be able to clean up or keep warm without running out to the store.

    I also have "at-home clothes" and "presentable in public clothes." It keeps the new stuff looking better longer and ultimately cuts down on laundry.

  8. Hops,
    I have had more years than you to collect furniture and furnishings, plus I am not a minimalist at all. Sheets bought separately, not in sets, are often on sale. So, another set for you is not all excessive--"one on bed, one in wash, one on shelf."

    Extra blankets and towels just makes good sense for all the reasons you said.

    Yes, it does save clothing and save on laundry. And, those two things save money!


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