This post at The Happiness Project on “spending out” got me thinking today. Gretchen Rubin defines “spending out” as not hoarding, letting go, and giving. The key point is that “spending out” actually creates more of what was spent. She gives several examples.
First, she says her last pair of jeans started to fall apart so she bought two pairs of jeans but is only wearing one. She thinks this is bad: “Not wearing clothes is just as wasteful as throwing good clothes away.” I have to disagree, unless she’s never going to wear the second pair of jeans. I have a hard time finding comfortable shoes to wear to work. Several years ago, I found a Naturalizer pair that was perfect. I ordered 10 pairs and have been wearing them, one by one, until I was down to two last year – the one I was wearing and one in a box in the closet. Earlier this year, while I was on maternity leave, I got an email coupon for 30% off my entire purchase from Naturalizer, so I checked the styles online, saw that there several pairs I might like, and went to the store to try them on. I bought three pairs, but I’ve only worn one. I’m happy knowing that I have three pairs of comfortable shoes waiting for me when I’ve worn out my current pair. It saves me stress. It also saves me money, because I won’t have to buy uncomfortable shoes to last me until I find comfortable ones. Am I hoarding? Well, yes. But in a good way, I think.
Gretchen’s second example is about letting things go – not re-using razor blades too many times, tossing old clothes that are stained and faded, etc. She also applies spending out in this category to creativity – being willing to let it out instead of keeping it in for fear of running out. I have to agree with her more here. I have been known to hold on to worn-out or ill-fitting clothes for purely sentimental reasons – in fact, I have a little tank top from 10 years ago that I couldn’t bring myself to donate a few weeks ago that I think I will now add to my Goodwill pile. Even if I weren’t nursing, I wouldn’t be comfortable wearing it around my kids – it’s from my single days and doesn’t fit my lifestyle anymore.
The third example is about not stinting on love and generosity. About not keeping score. I completely agree with her on this one. There is no point in holding back here. I’m pretty good about it with my immediate family – with Marc, Alex and Tyler. But I could do with some improvement outside my comfortable, tight-knit circle. I’ll work on that. Because I believe that by spending out, I’ll be making room for even more love and wonderful things into my life.