Many of us save things for later, worrying they might get damaged or lost, but chances are they won’t. And if they do, at least we’ve enjoyed them! Plus, with the cost of living so high, it’s better to use what you have rather than buy new things. Most of all, give yourself permission to say, “I’m worth it” and use your good stuff.
Why should I stop saving things ‘for best?’
If you’re someone who loves digging around in charity shops and garage sales, you’ll know all too well the quality of clothes, fabrics and household items has dropped in recent decades. For this reason alone, it’s worth enjoying your beautiful sheets, plates and cutlery today rather than wasting money on inferior new items.
Start with your wardrobe
Many of us feel we have to save things for special occasions – maybe it’s a hangover from wearing school uniforms or not having much money in the past. But if you’re going out, dress up in your ‘best’ clothes. You worked hard for them, after all! Get rid of all your old, worn clothes while you’re at it, apart from one or two outfits to wear around the house or for gardening. That way, you’ll have to wear your best clothes. We don’t mean grocery shopping in your old ball gown but putting on your smart blazer will make you feel a million dollars.
‘Shopping your own wardrobe’ has become a bit of a trend in recent years. The idea is that rather than going out and buying a whole new wardrobe, you look at what you have and wear things in different ways. Maybe you need to have something altered at a tailor or you need a couple of key items to go with pieces you already own. It’s a great way to revive your style and enjoy your old, classic pieces.
Another thing we often forget about is our jewellery. We keep it tucked away in strange places in case we get burgled only to forget about it altogether. That burglary may never happen, so in the meantime, enjoy your jewellery and family heirlooms. Chances are, they won’t get stolen, and if they do, at least you enjoyed them while you could!
Use the good plates (and everything else…)
As with clothes, we often keep our best homewares tucked away for a special occasion. But instead, these items remain in dark and dusty cupboards, sad and forgotten. Enough. Take out your best crystal, your lovely plates and bowls and use them now.
If you have a ‘good’ tea set, invite a few friends over ‒ or treat yourself with a beautiful cup and saucer for your afternoon cuppa. While you’re at it, recycle all those old Vegemite glasses and pull out the wedding crystal and beautiful glassware to drink from instead. Why? Our friend found unused wedding gifts in her parents’ cupboards when she was cleaning out the house to prepare it for sale. Those gifts were 50 years old and never unwrapped.
The same goes for bedding. Don’t leave that handmade patchwork quilt or crochet rug your grandmother made in a chest ‒ or those beautiful antique sheets and pillowcases. Pull them out, repair or wash them if necessary, then use them on your bed, exactly as they were intended.
Dig through your cupboards and use what you find
Many products, such as bath oils and lotions, expire after a few years anyway, so always check your cupboards and use up what you have before buying more. Same goes for perfumes, scented candles and bubble bath.
In her essay collection, These Precious Days, American author Ann Patchett writes about the time she gave up shopping for a year (although she still bought gifts and books for herself.) She found enough lip balms in coat pockets alone to last the year, and worked her way through face creams and shampoo and fancy gift soaps that had gathered in various cupboards without needing to buy anything extra.
Make the most of your space
If you live in a larger family home, you might have a ‘formal’ lounge room and dining room. But why not turn a barely used space into a place you can truly make the most of? A cosy library and reading room, a home cinema, an exercise space. Alternatively, if you find your home is too big for your needs, you may even consider downsizing and converting those unused rooms into a smaller home in a retirement community, a bucket-list holiday or a cruise.
Let go of what you don’t want
If you find you don’t want to use what you have, donate or sell them and buy things you do love. Sometimes, in digging around, we realise we are ready to let go of stuff we’ve been clinging on to, and give those items to someone who will appreciate them.
In our throwaway culture, it can feel strange to hold back from buying new rather than enjoying what we already own. However, using what you own (and enjoying it) great for the planet and your bank balance, plus it gives you a chance to appreciate how beautiful your best things are.
Want to learn more about making the most of your next 30 years?
Retirement living can be the best time of your life.
We’re committed to making life better for the over 55s. Check out downsizing.com.au for more insights and great advice on living life to the fullest. We have a great range of properties for the over 55s to help you do that with like-minded people in land lease communities and retirement villages.