Swimming in STUFF

I’m not much of a spender or a shopper. I try to avoid accumulating too much stuff. Or so I thought. As I look around my house — in my closets, the kitchen, the attic & basement — I see a few trips to the Salvation Army and a huge yard sale in my future.

Boots. Bags. Books. CDs. Furniture. Knick knacks. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Where did all this crap come from?! Some of it I’ve never even used. What am I saving it for? Stuff gives me stress! It’s gotta go.




Confessions of a Low-Maintenance Woman

In the pursuit of simplifying my life, saving money, and streamlining my daily routines over the years, I have evolved into a relatively “low-maintenance” woman. Don’t get me wrong. I still take good care of myself. But now I tend to work more from the inside out, focusing my attention on things that affect my overall health instead of simply my outward appearance.  And you know what? I feel pretty good, and I don’t look half bad either!

Here are a few of my biggest time-saving and money-saving “secrets.”

  1. I don’t go to the gym. I go for walks. I hike. Outside. In the fresh air. Even when the temperature is so ridiculously cold that my eyelashes freeze. I have a physical job, so every day entails plenty of heavy lifting: trays of letters, bins and bundles of magazines and catalogs,  heavy packages. At home, I lug armloads of firewood into the house every day during the winter. My cable TV network offers a variety of free workout videos “On Demand,” so I stretch, tone, and do pilates in the privacy of my own living room.
  2. I color my own hair. As a matter of fact, lately, I haven’t even been coloring it at all! Those pesky grays are starting to creep in though, so I’ll be picking up a $6 package of Clairol’s Root Touch-Up very soon.
  3. My husband cuts my hair. (Un)Fortunately, I have the kind of long, fine, straight hair that really doesn’t do much of anything no matter how hard I try, so it looks basically the same whether I have it cut professionally or do it myself. My husband has a steady hand, so why waste the money?
  4. My fingernails look like crap. I pretty much gave up on my hand-modeling career prospects when I started working at the post office. I now have the callused hands of a working woman. Hangnails. Paper cuts. Dry skin. Split fingertips. All of these occupational hazards make manicures a total waste of time and money.
  5. I shop at Goodwill and the Salvation Army. They carry a unique and ever-changing selection of clean, gently-used clothing. Sometimes I have to work a little, riffling through the overstuffed racks, but the rush of finding the perfect item for just a few dollars makes it worth the effort. I also have a friend at work whose twenty-something daughter is the same size as I am, so I get plenty of hand-me-downs. Don’t get me wrong. I also buy plenty of new clothes–more than I really “need,” I’m sure (usually off the clearance racks, though!). But I have no problem wearing other peoples’ cast-offs. Less waste, and more clothes for ME!
  6. I choose multitasking products. Despite my frugal and simple ways, I am still a bit of a beauty product junkie. My mother swears by her Oil Of Olay, never leaves the house without lipstick, and is the most beautiful 85 year-old woman I know. I hope I’m genetically programmed to follow in her footsteps, but I also have no problem giving mother nature a little help. My bathroom counter is covered with a variety of lotions and potions, but I prefer those that serve more than one purpose: all-in-one tinted/anti-aging/sunscreen/moisturizer, conditioning/styling hair products, etc.

Despite my no-muss, no-fuss attitude toward my appearance, however, I also have a few rules and minimum standards that I always uphold without fail. I NEVER wear sweatpants in public, and I will NOT leave my house in the morning without a shower, perfume, and mascara. I may be low-maintenance, after all, but I’m not a cavewoman.