From the Blog

Okay, So, I Hate Shopping

We’re back in Portland. We have a new apartment. And every time we move, I have the urge to nest a bit. With twins on the way, my urge to nest is perhaps a bit stronger than usual.

We actually haven’t thought too much about baby stuff yet. I’ve been blocking it out, actually. Since the beginning of this year, we first needed to think about getting a job back in Portland. Then we needed to get an apartment. Then we needed to coordinate moving. Those were all big, big, things to think about. And they sort of needed to happen in sequential order. I did a lot of nail chewing through the first few months of this year.

But now, we are here. We have a job, an apartment, and we’ve moved. We’re getting settled into our new place, and all of a sudden I remember why we put ourselves through all of this: we’re having twins. Oh yeah. I forgot about that.

I’m sort of in the middle of a delayed freakout about it. Dave and I have been looking at each other, and nervously sort of giggling as my belly becomes more of a presence in our house. Two babies. Two boys. What have we done? What have we done?

Don’t get me wrong. We are happy and excited. We now wouldn’t have it any other way. But you know. We’re freaked the fuck out, too.

Right, so: Shopping. We’re coming off a year where we had very little to no income. We lived off savings. And the only way we could do that was to not buy much stuff. We lived frugally. We avoided buying stupid, dumb shit. We already knew the value of downsizing, and we ultimately didn’t feel like we were sacrificing much in order to live job free for a year. I got used to not buying things. And when we did spend money on “stuff,” it was after a lot of thought and deliberation.

So now, we’re in our new place, and it feels like we “need” stuff. In our last place, we had a huge bathroom cabinet with a giant surface for toothbrushes, jars, Dave’s shaving stuff, doodads, plants, etc. Now we have a decent sized bathroom, but a pedestal sink and no surface. Also, the bathroom window faces a neighbor’s house. They have windows looking right into our bathroom. So, we can close the blinds every time we go in there to use the potty or do anything else in there requiring nakedness. And there are not too many hooks for towels and whatnot.

So here begins an example of the dilemma we now face. We could probably learn to live with less surface in the bathroom. We could learn to live with keeping the blinds closed. We could learn to live with fewer hooks for towels. But…but…that sort of sucks. We don’t want to run out and buy a bunch of stuff. But we do want to feel settled and comfortable. Every time I walked into the bathroom, I had some minor irritation about how dark it was, or that I had to hang my towel over the open door to dry, or I had to get my toothbrush out of a linen closet every time I brushed my teeth.

Okay? Minor irritations. I’m sure my grandparents would have been GLAD to have such trivial things to worry about, instead of having to eat wood and rocks, and having to defend themselves against roving bears in the woods, as all our grandparents did.

But at the same time, these are easy problems to fix. I can just go to the store. I can buy stuff that will solve all our problems. And I found myself thinking, repeatedly, “Oh, this would be easier if I had a shelf right here. It would be easier if we had a coat rack for towels. I could just get a sheer curtain to cover the window so it doesn’t feel like a dank cave in here, and the neighbors don’t see our gleaming white asses.”

It took less than a week for me to go out and buy all those things. And when I bought them, I felt weak-willed and indulgent. I kept thinking, “Do we really need this? Do we really need this?” A year of no income now makes every purchase an epic, agonizing, gut wrenching decision. But I bought them. Now we have a surface in the bathroom, a place to hang towels, and a curtain to hide our bathroom business.

But I hated buying that stuff. I hated shopping. I have never really enjoyed shopping. It’s never been cathartic to me. And a lot of the “stuff” out there is just so soulless and cheap and mass produced. Yes, I know I could scour second hand stores and curate pieces…but really, I just want to get it over with as soon as possible. I don’t like shopping. I don’t want to draw this out any longer than I have to.

I went to six stores yesterday looking for curtains for our living room. Do we neeeed curtains in the living room? My thrifty, frugal self says maybe not. We have blinds. But the functional self came home to a house that was 83 degrees. We have big south and west facing windows. It was warmer in our house than it was outside, even on a pleasant, mild day. As far as I know, we don’t have air conditioning, just a fan that pulls cool air up from the basement. So, I’m thinking we are going to need some curtains to block out some light and heat in the summer.

It’s much cooler today, so it doesn’t feel so urgent. And after six stores yesterday, I didn’t find any curtains that made me not want to stab myself in the face. Bland, generic, styleless, mass produced, awful curtains. I’m thinking I will make my own. I’m not sure what makes me think I have the capacity to make curtains, especially without a sewing machine. And also without a hell of a lot of time for projects. But I imagine making my own curtains might be cheaper, and probably infinitely more rewarding than stepping foot in another goddamned store.

I fricken hate shopping.



  1. Can you make me some curtains while you’re at it? :)

  2. Hi Heather. I’m the Queen of Repurposing. Before purchasing, have me over to see if you’ve already got something that will work. Trust me, you will!!! xo

  3. Second thing….cover the OUTSIDE of the windows, not the inside. Let’s talk. xo

  4. I can help with curtains, IKEA ones are cheap and easy and come with sticky stuff that allow you to iron the hem. Very cool and no sewing required.

  5. The thing about making curtains is that they aren’t typically any cheaper than buying them. I went through this project years ago and found that buying is easier and I think at the end of the day, more cost effective. I did go to multiple stores and got the ones on sale though. I also decided to bring home 4 sets of curtains, pick the ones I liked best once I saw them in the house, and then returned the others. A big pain in the ass, but in the end I think it was worth it.

    • I have found this about most DIY projects. They are projects/hobbies/fun – they are not cheaper; and doubly not cheaper if you have to go out a buy all the ‘ingredients’. We’ve moved a lot (overseas! several times!) and downsized a lot, so when I mean all the stuff, I mean ALL – every nail, tool, plank of wood, or bedsheet. And I hate shopping.

      Yup, agonized about this a lot recently living in our ‘charming’ vintage half-house (charming = moldy and no closets!). Glad I’m not alone!

  6. I can get you a good deal on curtains. I know a guy.

  7. You can make some easy-peasy curtains from flat sheets, and you don’t even need a sewing machine. Use those metal rings that go around the rod and clip onto the curtains (there are some simple and elegant ones out there, and you can buy ’em at Home Depot…I know, I know, you hate to shop). Get some sheets you like — maybe darkish to keep out the sun/heat, figure out how high to hang the rods so the sheets hit where you want ’em (the floor or a little longer), mount rods, clip sheets on, and go have a beer…uh, a water. Save the beer for post babies. :)

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