Oh my cookies! Yup, these are actual pieces of clothing that I wore in the 1980s. And what’s worse is that I actually made them myself. When I was cleaning out closets for a yard sale recently, I found these stashed away … probably in an effort to forget. But it’s not my fault. As stay-at-home moms in the 1980s, my friends and I perfected our uniform of Laura Ashley jumpers, black stretchy stirrup pants and oversized Bedazzled T-shirts gathered on the side with hair scrunchies. Painful but true. And for some reason — I am not creative or crafty or in any way remotely talented artistic-wise — I became addicted to sewing. I made clothes for myself and my two daughters. I made clothes for their dolls. I made pillows and curtains and Halloween costumes. I think I convinced myself I was saving money, although anyone who’s ever wandered into a fabric store and come out minus the grocery-budget for the month recognizes that big fat lie. The collar has little bunnies on it, and I think I work it for Easter over a white blouse. The sweatshirt I have no excuse for. Why I would want to bedeck myself in a huge hot-pink sweatshirt decorated with buttons, bows and spools of thread, I have no idea. Please tell me some of y’all went through this phase, too.

Books and Other Random Thoughts

You all are so sweet to wade through my jumbled and scattered thoughts here in Bloggy World. You have no idea how much I appreciate that. But you’ll be happy to know that I can manage to string together some coherent sentences and actually get them in print — really, I can!!! Here’s proof:

You know the economy has tanked and everybody’s scrimping and saving wherever they can, right? You know folks are cutting back and slashing expenses, right? And you know that the book-publishing industry — like music and movies — is suffering. Then you’ll be as surprised as I was when you find out that there’s one category of books that’s seen an incredible increase in sales. And it’s no wonder — I’ll bet you’re like me and cannot wander past that section in your local bookstore without stopping and checking it out.

And you know what they say when you first start trying to sell your house: Your No. 1 top-priority chore is to declutter. But be careful, because sometimes you end up with more stuff than when you started!

Speaking of family efficiency, how are you at packing? I thought I was pretty good. I had a system based on my method of household organization and it worked for years … until I out-organized myself.

Yard Sales

Tomorrow, this mess is going to be all organized into the Best Yard Sale Ever. Or, if it rains — a garage sale. We’re flexible that way. I’ve called in all the troops: Husband, Younger Daughter, Older Daughter and 2-year-old grandson Capt. Adorable to provide plenty of abundant adorableness. In addition, we’re having Bargains Galore. I promise — things you will not be able to resist. Also: I am not hauling this stuff back into the house. You have been warned. If you’re anywhere near northwest Alabama Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, c’mon over. We’ve got clothes, books, jewelry, home decor — tons of things that would look wonderful in your house!!!

Saving Money

I admit it: I’m a spender. I’m much rather spend money than save it. I love shopping. I love going places and doing things. I love buying and having.  The problem? Hmm — let’s just say that income and outgo don’t always match! And whether you’re bring in $25,000 a year or $250,000, not managing your money efficiently sure can put a crimp in your style. The solution? Lately I’ve been doing my best to reduce UNNECESSARY expenditures in order to get the most bang for our buck when we do spend. I thought I’d share some of those efforts and see what y’all think.

1) Cut out my four-a-day sweetened bottled water habit and switched to plain water in a reusable container — sometimes adding a mix such as Crystal Light or Lipton Iced Tea. And even though we recycled the plastic bottles, I just feel a little greener not buying so many in the first place.

2) Visit a walk-in hair place at the mall for in-between trims and cuts, reserving my fancy high-priced stylist for coloring and occasional styling. This works especially because I notoriously am a bad hair person and no matter how the stylist fixes my hair, it’s back to the same-ol’ same-ol’ after a couple days. Why pay $75+ for that every month?

3) Teach myself to do my own pedicures. I did not think this would work but I really was proud of the results. And I never have done manicures since I can’t walk out of the salon/spa without cracking/chipping the polish.

4) Shopping in my own closet. Although I’m all for supporting local businesses, I’m also for having enough funds to go on vacation. When I dug around, I found things I hadn’t worn for months that I loved. I usually buy sort of classic non-trendy things anyway, so reviving these oldies-but-goodies doesn’t look dated. I hope not, anyway! If you can look at something you bought in the past couple years or so and imagine it hanging in your favorite boutique right now, it’s a keeper.

5) Using what you’ve got. This is another variation of “shopping in your closet.” I’m determined to use what I have before buying more. This includes makeup, lotion, skin care and such — my weakness. I mean, who can resist a lovely bar of handmade peppermint soap? Not me. As a bonus, this also requires organization so you know you already have three bottles of Warm Vanilla Sugar Shower Gel and do not — repeat, do not — need to buy anymore.

6) Enjoying what you’ve got. Another version of the same theory. I’ve got books and DVDs and magazines and CDs sitting around that I’ve never even picked up since I brought them home. Use ’em or lose ’em!

What do you think? How am I doing?