Sunday, August 27, 2006

School Un-Shopping

One thing that happened over the summer is that our house began to look like a dorm room on a Saturday morning. Laundry piling up, us sleeping in until late morning, books and newspapers piling up. We were off our routines, to say the least. The school day gives structure to all of us, not just my daughter.

So now that school is back in session, we have done the requried school shopping, just for school supplies and one new pair of non-stinky shoes. [Once shoes go to day camp, they become unfit for civilization. It's fine, it's part of the deal, but you really can't fudge this one. Her summer shoes practically radiate a green stink cloud. And tomorrow they're going in the trash!]

We don't really have to shop for new school clothes yet, since it's still 90 degrees here in North Carolina. I am trying hard to resist the temptation to do more school shopping until we do some serious Un-Shopping first.

Un-Shopping means catching up on the regular laundry, of course, and pulling out clothes that no longer fit. Our school yard sale is in a couple of weeks and that will give us a good home for those clothes we've outgrown. Un-Shopping also means going through my closet and washing the pile of "hand wash only" clothes that have accumulated all summer. A trip to the dry cleaners is also in order. I think I'll feel like I have a whole new wardrobe once I get everything back in rotation.

There are dirty laundry days when I open my bureau drawers and feel like I don't have anything to wear, even though there are clothes in the dresser. I'll see if I have the courage to say goodbye to the bottom-of-the-drawer remainders. I have a hard time letting go of things like this, but maybe I can catch the "back to school" seasonal momentum to make positive changes.

Thinking about all this makes me realize how much we use shopping as a distraction, entertainment, and reward, rather than just to buy things we really need. Shopping gives us that slot machine payoff high. For the next month, at least, I'm going to try to be as happy that my favorite shirt is clean and wearable as I would be about buying something new.

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