We moved to our dream home in February this year and decided that it was time to make some changes. Moving home is an excellent time to take stock of what you have, reminisce over things that you find hidden in cupboards and have a clear out of things that you’d long forgotten.
We decided that we would use the opportunity for a massive clear-out, and systematically donated, recycled or binned things that were broken, no longer served a purpose or did not support our view towards the new life that we were creating.
I bought some plastic storage boxes for the children’s keepsakes, and was ruthless with the contents of the loft – a garage sale helped us to release £80 worth of old toys, baby clothes and other related items that we were not going to need now that our family is complete – with the unsold items loaded straight into the car for a trip to the Demelza House Children’s hospice shop.
We’d managed to work out that when we moved, we would need to sort out some new crockery for the kitchen as our everyday set was down to 5 bowls – which meant that depending on menu choices – retrieving used ones from the dishwasher and rinsing ready for another meal – assuming no-one had left one in the fridge with half a tin of beans in. Being a practical person, I started to look for options, soon realising that as sets typically came with four place settings that I would need to get two sets. Then the brainwave hit.
We had a beautiful set of blue Denby with eight place settings, bought as a wedding present and sitting in the cupboard for special occasions, people round for dinner and Christmas celebrations – that had been virtually unused for 15 years. Why did we not just use that?
It’s expensive – what if the children drop a plate? The bowls are the ‘wrong shape’ for pasta….
Really? Is that it?
Why do we feel the need to save them for ‘best’, for other people – for important occasions?
You are worth the best china – every day.
You would have thought by now that the realisation that life is short would have sunk in, the upheavals, illnesses, bereavements and relationship breakdowns highlighting that quality of life needs to be my focus. But more than that, it is about appreciating your value to the world and that there is nothing to feel guilty about enjoying having nice things around you.
Wear your nice perfume, the one that you’ve managed to eek out over the last 5 years by only wearing on special nights out. If you like the smell, it makes you feel special and doesn’t remind you of an ex-partner – wear it every day. If need be you can ask for a new bottle for your birthday.
Be ruthless with your wardrobe. Throw away old baggy things past their usefulness, bargains you’ve never worn and things that you hoped to diet into, and replace over time with things that you really love, of better quality that make you feel nice when you wear them. There are many Pinterest pages on ways to create a capsule wardrobe and it doesn’t need to be expensive.
I would suggest putting some money aside every month for you to spend on yourself – pick a sum that you feel comfortable with and then spend it how you choose. Buy yourself flowers or take a day at a spa to pamper yourself – you deserve to have some nice things on your life, and no matter how tight your budget – finding even £5 a week to buy a magazine and a bar of chocolate re-enforces that you are allowed to take time for yourself, to relax and feel special.
If you’ve seen my earlier blog article, you’ll know that I put 10% of my income each month into a self-development and personal growth fund – and I use some of this to pay for getting my hair and nails done, along with my husband’s piano lessons, karate and swimming for the kids and other books, training courses and things to enrich our lives.
But back to the dinner service – we realised that our objections were not actually rational. This is often the case when you actually stop to think about things.
Most of the bowls that had previously broken were due to rough handling into the dishwasher, as they were porcelain they were prone to chips, cracks and being handled a bit roughly, not because the children had actually dropped them. The Denby is heavyweight earthenware, and likely to be more resilient to knocks in the dishwasher – and I asked the children to minimise the risk of dropping them by carrying plates one at a time. Replacing a plate, at full price is about £10 – not the end of the world – and 12 weeks in, we have no casualties so far.
We bought a set of 4 pasta bowls to match our existing set from John Lewis on their Black Friday sale event – getting them half price at around £22 – considerably less than buying two new sets of everyday plates.
And do you know what? Using the nice things every day raises our expectation of normal and makes me smile. I want a life surrounded by nice things, which make me smile.
I recently discussed this with some of my oldest friends, who said that they stopped keeping things for best when a close friend of theirs had a massive brain injury and ended up in a coma. Made them realise that you need to balance enjoyment of today with plans for the future.
Take some time out to think about the things that you save for best – household goods, clothes, jewellery – if you really love them, use them – if you don’t, then sell or donate them and replace with things that you do love.
If you’d like to chat about creating a budget that lets you afford to spend money on yourself – take a look at our resources section, or give us a call to book a free initial consultation – you are worth it!