Wednesday, February 1, 2012

My Challenges for February

Behold! The Encroachment of Knowledge!
Last month, I decided to challenge myself by stating that I would only purchase two t-shirts a month.  I only bought one t-shirt last month (so I'm letting that extra one roll over to February -- boom, lawyered).

Somewhat obviously, participating in this exercise helped me evaluate my buying habits.  In prior months, I would buy a t-shirt within minutes of seeing it online.  The t-shirt sites that I check daily update a couple hours before midnight here on the west coast, and so what my challenge has forced me to do is to essentially sleep on my choices.

If I love a design when I see it just before bed time, I force myself to re-evaluate my purchase the next morning.  Perhaps not so oddly, much of the compulsion to buy the shirt goes away after a good night's sleep.

Due to how happy I am at how this challenge has played out, I'm going to add to it two challenges that are February specific:

  1. Sell or otherwise get rid of 25 items from my condo.*
  2. Limit myself to the purchase of up to two books and five ebooks (unless I can sell my beautiful bride on why I need another book).  This excludes free ebook downloads.
You see, my wife and I live in a fairly small condo, and probably the greatest space suck that our condo has is my collection of books.  To an extent, I *need* these books due to my professional scholarly goals (many of them are plays or books on theory).  

Unfortunately, while having a semi-extensive personal research library is arguably a worthy goal when one has a house, when one has a sub-900 square foot condo, there are other amenities such as places to sit and eat that take priority.
Pictured: my bedroom. (Yes, including the random arm).

With this in mind, I'm shooting to curb my (book) enthusiasm this month.  I need to get back in the habits of getting books from the library or borrowing books from friends.

So, this month, I'm planning on slowing down the rate at which I purchase books, and I'm getting stuff out of my condo (yes, probably some books).  I'm making a two-pronged attack on my clutter.

It may be worth elucidating upon why I have the caveat that I might be able to purchase more books if I can convince my wife that I need to do so.  Let me first state that I am not trying to make her into a killjoy or some sort of boogey(wo)man in charge of regulating purchases.  

Put simply, my wife understands more readily than I do that a finite condo such as the one we own cannot accommodate an infinite number of books.  In general, if she were asked the question of whether I needed another book, she would almost certainly respond in the negative.  Having said that, if I've gone past my two book limit, and I find a great deal on something that I've been meaning to pick up, I'd like to have an out (and I think that she would both see and appreciate the special circumstance).

Also, you know, I love my wife, and I do my best not to do things that make her comment about how I'll soon by sleeping on the patio. :-)

How are you saving money in February?

*I had originally considered trying to sell or get rid of 365 items from my condo during the month of February, but, since I'm currently working on (and learning lines for) two separate shows, I thought I needed to be quite a bit more reasonable.

Photo 1 by cote.
Photo 2 by nSeika.


nicoleandmaggie said...

That could add up to a lot of t-shirts. Do you wear them all?

Bryan said...

I do my best to wear them all, but, admittedly, I have a hard time doing so. I used to buy a lot more, so 2 per month is actually cutting back quite a bit for me.

Evan @ Smart Wealth said...

good to setup goals, I'm interested in seeing how your new goals will play out, I pondered setting a goal to sell some things from my house

Jana @ Daily Money Shot said...

I have dealt with my share of book clutter. I have a hard time letting go of books. However, if a book (like a research or text book) is too old, I tell myself that some of the information is outdated and I need to get rid of it.

Oh, and I tell myself that if I get rid of one that I'll never read again, I can bring in another one.

My goal for February is to clean out my house to get it ready to sell. I don't care if I make extra money from it. I just want to sell my house.

Bryan said...

Evan: As I make progress through the month, I plan on providing little updates on what I've gotten rid of and what I've considered necessary to buy. (I'm already kind of hitting some gray area though; at an interview yesterday, a professor suggested an issue of an academic journal that I might want to peruse as it related to my research interests. Now, is an academic journal a "book" [the cost is greater than many books that I buy], or should I consider it a magazine?)

Jana: While we aren't in a position to sell right now, my wife and I are both pretty intent on not living in our condo forever. The more I can reduce clutter now, I think the easier the eventual sale/moving will go.