My Lenten Promise: What Decluttering Is Really About

It is a little past 12:45am on Ash Wednesday, and my mind has now begun to shift toward my Lenten promise for over the next 60 days. My promise is to stop all indiscriminate spending from now through Easter. 

What does indiscriminate mean? It means random or without judgment. In other words, frivolous spending.

So, how did I get to this point of deciding on this as my choice for the Lenten season. Well, for one, it was ruining me. It seemed that whenever I had any extra money, I felt like I just had to spend it, and often times on things I did not need at all, and could not resell, or return for a myriad of a reasons. Oftentimes I would realize my mistake and call the retailer the next day and cancel my order before it had been processed, receiving a full refund. It left me with nothing in my savings account and no emergency fund. It scared me.

I do know how to live my life without spending money I don't have. In early November of last year, I lost my job, causing me to live off of unemployment and the SNAP program. Because of the extreme limits to my income, I became extremely frugal. I did not spend money, because it was something I simply did not have. Now here I am a month into being on disability due to a freak back injury that I still have no idea as to what happened, and having to live on an extremely cut back income once again. Spending has become an unnecessary, and I've once again have become frugal. 

One of the teachings of decluttering and minimalism is that you need to slow down or stop indiscriminate purchasing. Why? It continues the cycle of clutter, rather than helps it. The train of thought is that if you wish to bring something new into your home, you must remove two items from your home. It often makes people think twice about those purchases as if they really are a "need" or a "want". For example, if a pair of shoes that are necessary for daily wear becomes unwearable, then you know you'll be removing those from your wardrobe, then you probably could use that opportunity to remove another pair you haven't worn in over a year, as well, when you purchase a new pair to replace the pair you wear on a daily basis. 

However, you will run into those purchases that will be considered needs. For example, I actually started this journey on Sunday by handing over my debit card and next week's cash allowance to my mother in envelops marked "gas" and "groceries". I'm not even halfway through the week, and I've already ran into my first need: my printer ran out of ink in the middle of printing out needed insurance documentation. This required me to contact my mother to let her know: a) what was needed, b) the cost, c) where it could be purchased at the lowest price, d) what was the importance of it's being purchased right now. It brought back childhood memories of my mother questioning my every move right before going out with friends on a Saturday night. 

But this will work. I will make this work. I wish I could say there are countless articles on the subject, but I only found one called Giving Up Spending for Lent that is short and to the point (much unlike this post). 


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