Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Decluttering--waste vs. saving money

This is a reprint of an older post. 
As I mentioned recently, I feel like I have a bunch of stuff I don't love. An example is a pair of leopard print rain boots. I looked everywhere for rain boots that I liked that were less than $25, and I finally found these a year or two ago at some cheap store in SoHo. And I hate them.

They're really heavy to wear--exhausting, even. They're not really all that cute. But most infuriating is the little "comfort pad" thing in the bottom of the boot. This thing is essential to actually wearing the boots, since they're painful without it. But it's not fastened to the inside of the boot in any way, and as I wear them, the comfort pad will work its way all the up the boot until it's in danger of falling out. I kid you not. I've tried everything--wearing two pairs of socks, supergluing it (there's nothing to attach it to!! That's why the boots are uncomfortable!!)--and they're awful. I don't think I've worn them since last spring. Instead, even in the summer, I wear my snow boots when it's pouring and I can't get away with wearing some other shoe, like rubber flipflops (gross).

But I still have these stupid leopard print boots, because I looked for them for so long and I don't feel like I've got my money's worth out of them. I know, not even all that deep down, that I will never, ever wear them again, unless maybe all my other shoes are stolen. Even then, I'd be tempted to go barefoot first.

This is just one footwear example, and there are other things that I know I don't want (hello, all the clothes my mother sends me). The problem is I do believe in "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without" which sort of goes against the whole decluttering mantra. Why throw it out when there really is some useful life left in it? And then another frugal argument is Why keep storing it? That costs money too!

Do you ever feel like frugality and decluttering are at odds?


  1. Donate the boots! When I have items I don't want that still have useful life, I drop them at Goodwill. Someone else will be able to get value out of something that is just depreciating in my closet.

  2. Sometimes I think they go hand in hand. At least in the sense that "being frugal" assumes being modest with "things". I am frugal with shoes and don't own as many as I did a few years ago. But I spend decent $$ making sure to buy quality pairs that last longer. I used to keep old pairs of running shoes until they fell apart. But this took years to happen... Now I donate them and keep the shoes to a minimum.

  3. I faced this problem recently too. I used to buy pants that though they didn't fit perfectly, they were relatively cheap. But then I never wanted to wear them, and they were just taking up space in my closet. I donated them (and a few others) just last week... and have decided to only buy pants that fit really well- in the long run, I think they are worth the investment! Good luck!

  4. A few years ago I bought a pair of really cute, black leather high-heeled boots. I really liked them, but I rarely wore them, and once I had a kid, I wore them even less because they were a bit teetery and I had other heels that were more comfortable. Yet I held onto these boots for YEARS because I had spent a fair bit of money on them and I kept thinking that I needed to get my money's worth out of them. Once I finally gave them away on freecycle, I felt so relieved! I think that anything you don't use or love is a waste to keep around, even if you spent a lot of money on it.

  5. The problem is that, if you keep them but never wear them, you're still not getting your money's worth. If you KNOW you'll never wear them again, better to donate them so that someone else can get use out of them.

    I only think frugality and decluttering are at odds if you're donating something that you would continue using or that you will need to replace. I feel the same way about clothing. Even though the clothes I have now are a size too big, the frugal part of me thinks, "Why donate them when they're still in good shape? Who cares if you look shapeless from your baggy clothes? You're saving money!" But I know that once I buy the correct sized clothing, I will keep them until they wear out. Anything else I've donated has been something I never used, thus saving money because I'm not storing it. Like Cate said, it also saves me mentally because I'm not constantly thinking about this stuff I have that I never use!


Thanks for commenting!