Fun With Thrifting

9. That is the number of people for whom I am in some way responsible to clothe and feed. Granted, several of my children are earning money, but now that we realize how expensive college is, we are asking them to sock away any extra money toward those expenses while we pay for day to day life. 

This large number in our home means that we need to be creative about how we provide for household needs. The list at times seems very long. Food, clothes, shoes, housewares and toiletries are all constantly being worn out, used up and otherwise consumed. 

Although consumption is a fact of life, since we care about living within our means and helping the poor, we don't want consumption to become our life. In order to live for more than just consuming more and new products, it is important that we make two principles a priority for how we meet our needs for stuff.

One principle is to evaluate every need. Do I need more home decor? Do I need more clothes? Do I need more dishes? Keeping my home and my people looking nice is important to me, but it is also important to do justice. 

With that in mind, we try to make do with what we have, whenever possible. Making my house pretty might involve cutting down some greenery from outside, or moving furniture around, or using paint on hand to refresh a room or a piece of furniture. 

Thrifted cups
My library table is one example of this. It was in a shed when we bought our property and I simply cut the legs down and repainted it with paint from a previous project, in order to dress up my library a bit.

Sometimes though, what you need will not be already in some random shed on your property. 

This brings us to the second principle, buy used. When what I need is not at hand, my next step is usually hitting up a thrift store. Although the smell of a thrift store can sometimes turn my stomach a bit, the treasures that are available are such fun to discover. 

Take my new boots for example. I had been wanting a pair of low heeled booties, and sadly, the man made material on my four year old Target specials had begun to peel. True, I could have just stuck with my other boots, but I really enjoy being creative with my wardrobe. 

Doing justice doesn't have to look dowdy

Enter a nice big thrift store in a neighboring town. I ran in there one afternoon with my younger children and discovered exactly the boots I had been looking for, in leather, no less. Along with the boots, I found a couple of good books and a beautiful cotton sweater to replace a worn and pilled acrylic sweater.

The new boots and sweater, but sheesh my head looks small for my body!
The other great find on that particular day were several soup bowls which matched the ones that my mother had handed down to me several years ago. My family is hard on dishes, it seems we break something at least once a week. This is just one more reason that I am thrilled to replace them for .59 each at a thrift store, instead of buying easily broken Ikea dishes or whatever Target is selling.

Thrifted, everything but the darling girl.

Whether your goal is to get out of debt, give more money to the poor, or avoid supporting unethically produced clothing; buying less and shopping at thrift stores are a few savvy strategies for accomplishing your goals.

For more ideas on living on a budget, check out my book, Bountiful Homeschooling on a Budget.
Bountiful Homeschooling on a Budget

For another great post on thrifted clothes, check out the lovely, Flower Patch Farmgirl


Goal Setting For A New Year

I love Christmas, but as soon as the day is past, I am ready to get organized for the new year. In the past, I would wait until New Year's Day to put away the Christmas ornaments. This year, by the Monday following Christmas I had put away my decorations, organized the school baskets and painted a new-used table for our school area. 

The downside of all this productivity was that by New Year's Eve, instead of feeling all festive, I cuddled up in a cozy sweater, hardly bothered to apply makeup and showed up at a party for just a couple hours before heading back home to bed. I was even a little taken aback when I arrived at my fellow homeschool mom's house for the party and saw her looking beautiful and bedazzled, complete with lipstick and a sparkly sweater. I think the premature start on New Years productivity completely sapped my party spirit. Note to self, give yourself a little time for fun.

Goal setting and productivity is a form of recreation for me though, which is why I look forward to this day of evaluating the goals I set in the previous year, and setting new ones. As I look over last year's list, I see that many of the same goals will be recycled for this season. Partly because they are important, and partly because I really didn't make them into a habit last year.

I am still loving the system taught by Colleen Adams which you can find explained in detail here. The short story is that, instead of trying to make A, B and C goals, or just a big list of general goals for the year, Colleen's method has you break down your goal setting into eight different areas. Also, instead of making goals for the whole year, these goals are meant to be for a shorter time period, such as three months.

The goals I set don't always turn into habits; I may have to keep rewording some of the ones that are the most difficult for me to become consistent in. Exercise, for instance, is just so easy to relegate to a low place after laundry and social media. That is why it keeps getting put back on the list. The upside is that bed making and closet organization are becoming consistent so that they can be dropped from the list.

Making goals and working towards them, while remaining flexible to the Holy Spirit, is one small step towards an orderly life and a civilized world.
As a starting point for your 2015 goal setting, I have included my goals for the first three months of the year, in each of eight areas.

1. Self Care
Exercise 5 days a week
Drink 6 glasses of water per day

2. Spiritual Life
Daily Bible copy-work
Spend first 30 minutes of the day in prayer and Bible study

3. Intellect/Emotions 
(for me right now, these are some goals with my kids)
Weekly nature walk and journaling
Teach chore consistency with children

4. Relationships
Weekly date with my honey
Work on eye contact with my children
(I do a lot of listening while working, but kids need eye contact)

5. Time Management
No phone/computer until priorities 1, 2 and 3 are done
Family Bible time by 8:30 a:m

6. Nest Management
Monthly deep cleaning
Library redo (tile, flooring, window)

7. Uniquely You
(This might mean weekly pedicures, or more time spent on self care, 
but those aren't my top priorities right now)
Weekly blog post
Improve photography

8. Financial Stewardship
Make a list of accounts
Make some money

God has plans and purposes for each one of us, and as we seek His face, He will give us inspiration about those priorities that He wants us to focus on. 

After you write down your purposes for the year, be sure and find some friends to share them with so that you can encourage each other to pursue the dreams that God has put in your hearts.

The steps of a good man are ordered of the Lord: and he delighteth in his way
Psalm 37:23

A few other resources for goal setting-

and linking up here for many more goal setting resources.