Word of the Week: Restrained


In January, I imposed a no-spend month. Quietly. I didn’t really announce it as a thing to the family. I tried to lead by example and reason. “Do we need it?” was my rallying call.

It worked.

We cut back on food treats. If we wanted cakes or biscuits, we made them from scratch. I bought no craft supplies. Using what I already had.

Backs of wardrobes and drawers were checked for clothes, instead of buying more. We made our own entertainment. There again, reaching into the back of cupboards and book shelves. So much more I could add, but I don’t want to turn this post into a list.

Do you know what? I feel lighter. I don’t mean in the weight sense, although less food treats and more walking has done that. I mean having less stuff, kind of lighter.

In effect, I have de-cluttered. If we are talking reduce/re-use/recycle, I achieved all three. I have not increased our stuff. I’ve decreased it. Steadily.

Ironically, we are throwing less away. Our weekly black bag and recycling bin has been smaller and lighter. Less stuff in, less stuff out too.

I’ve also enjoyed turning up the power of my creativity, to solve the problems. Taking a moment to think about what we’ve got rather than what we’ve not got. Not choosing to buy my way out of the issue.

I’ve also discovered something else. I think this has been the most enlightening. Want to know? Well between you and me, I’m not as busy as I thought I was. It’s true. I’ve found pockets of time to make and bake, that I didn’t know I had. I just needed to look.

It all went so well, I let the no-spend drift on into February. It’s become a habit. Ok, I did start to buy doughnuts (and crisps) for Mondays, as an after school treat. It was our way of coping with back to school. Mondays become something to look forward to.

So why am I writing it now? Ah, yes. Well, you see this week, IĀ  compromised. I allowed myself a free pass. The exception that proves the rule. I bought two things into the house. Not big spends, but stuff all the same.

Fabric and a book. I’m not going to justify the book. I can’t really. I have so many books waiting to be read. My only defence was that I had time to kill and it was cheaper than a magazine. Charity shop purchase of Ā£1.50.

The fabric was a creative compromise. Design wise, I needed something plain and uniformed for my star quilt. I didn’t have any suitable candidates skulking in my craft stash. Fabric does tend to skulk, but not red, because I can always use red.

I went to the fabric shop. I resisted the sock yarn and the ribbon racks. It was hard. I bought the fabric I needed and left.

I’m now back to restrained. No impulse buys. No rescuing plants from the supermarket. Only what we genuinely need. There will be a few bags of stuff going down to the charity shops this half term, because I am liking the lighter feeling.

Word of the week, and possibly year, is restrained.

24 thoughts on “Word of the Week: Restrained

    • Friday 10 February, 2017 at 5:34 pm

      It is rather lovely, isn’t it? It does get easier. I don’t think the fabric shop people could believe how little I was purchasing this time!

  • Friday 10 February, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    Oh you are inspiring me! I go through bouts like this, but I haven’t done so for quite some time, so maybe I should?! Glad it’s worked so well and you’re keeping it going. And a charity shop book doesn’t really count as a purchase…at least I never count them! Thanks for sharing with #WotW

    • Friday 10 February, 2017 at 5:41 pm

      It does feel good to be thinning it down without putting it all in a landfill or sending it to a charity shop, where it could still end up in a landfill. Hmm. Take your point about the book. I do love rescuing a good book from charity shops. Least I have a bag of books to take down there next time.

  • Friday 10 February, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    First of all, that’s a beautiful chess board. And secondly, I love this idea! Thanks for sharing it. #WotW

    • Friday 10 February, 2017 at 5:44 pm

      Thanks, Stephanie. The chess board used to have legs and drawers, which made it difficult for us to store. I think I prefer it like this now.

  • Friday 10 February, 2017 at 6:44 pm

    A lovely post and a nice reminder …compared to my Mother and Grandmother ..I waste and over spend and truth to tell a little restraint would not go amiss!

    (I have to smile though as when your post title 1st pinged up the image that sprang to mind was a determined crafter restrained in their chair by numerous wraps of wool …not sure what that says about me …crazy imagination I expect)

    Have a lovely weekend (and gosh I love the red fabric)

    • Friday 10 February, 2017 at 7:10 pm

      Oh Val! You made me giggle. Might not be a bad idea. Funnily enough that is along similar lines to my Eldest’s take on the title too. I obviously ooze no self control. Must try harder. No wraps of wool have been harmed.

      I’m with you on the waste. I think we are all gradually forgetting and not passing on skills.

      Enjoy your weekend too. Hope you are keeping warm.

  • Friday 10 February, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    Well done you! A no spend month sounds like a great idea.

    • Monday 13 February, 2017 at 9:40 pm

      I’ve wanted to try it for a while. Easier than I thought.

  • Saturday 11 February, 2017 at 2:30 am

    I think buying only the fabric you need is a major accomplishment! I am helpless in any type of craft store!
    Trying to avoid “consuming” is definitely the right way to go. I’m trying to buy less. It would be easier if I didn’t have access to the Internet!

    • Monday 13 February, 2017 at 9:49 pm

      Yes. Internet shopping is tempting. Too easy to put something in the basket. I don’t need it. The fabric shop was challenging too. I kept on thinking about the fabric I had at home and that seemed to keep me on the right path. Also the thought that once I’d used up my fabric, I could buy more, but not before.

  • Saturday 11 February, 2017 at 10:00 am

    I’ve had a similar month but with a food bias. Trying to use up things which have been languishing in cupboards and, more importantly, not just buying the same stuff (packs of peppers) in the shopping every week without thinking how I’m going to use it. I’ve even attempted some menu planning! It was lovely to have an almost bare vegetable box this week and not have to throw anything away.

    • Monday 13 February, 2017 at 10:16 pm

      I love the challenge of coming up with a meal from whatever I have left. Really does encourage creativity! And, you’re right, there is a sense of victory if you don’t have to throw anything away at the end of the week. Hope you can keep it going.

  • Saturday 11 February, 2017 at 11:23 am

    Love this – I think sometimes we get so used to having new stuff it just becomes the norm, and we forget to appreciate and use what we already have. A couple of years ago now I reviewed my spending habits and I don’t feel any worse for it, in fact I think I’m actually better off (and not just financially). Restrained is a great word too, have a fab week.

    • Monday 13 February, 2017 at 10:20 pm

      Yes, so true! It is more than just saving money. There is rediscover what you have already. Making the most of it and taking responsibilty for it. In fact so much more.

  • Sunday 12 February, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    I must admit I’ve been trying to cut down on spending too, making lists for the shopping and only buying what we need. It does make a difference.

    • Monday 13 February, 2017 at 10:23 pm

      Lists are the way to do it. Hope your journey is going well.

  • Monday 13 February, 2017 at 9:07 pm

    That is a great idea. I am going to consider doing that for the six weeks of Lent. It is all too easy to just buy things that are missing and not to be creative with what we already have. Well done for only buying the fabric you needed in the craft store.You are obviously now practised at this and can perform great feats of restraint!! šŸ˜‰ I always find that when i stop eating sugar, after a week or so, the good feelings that I associate with healthier living outweighs any cravings for chocolate etc. i imagine it is the same – the feeling of decluttering, makes you feel lighter too and buying new things just because… becomes unappealing? It’s great to hear your waste is less too…. Good for you. I feel inspired to do the same!

    • Monday 13 February, 2017 at 10:54 pm

      I think you’re right about the craving becoming less and the sense of accomplishment of resisting takes over. Helps to keep the resolve in place. Buying is an easy way out, rather than searching through and creating from the things we already have, which is a shame really. A missed opportunity to use our natural creativity to solve the problem. I’m pleased that I’m throwing out less. I’m becoming more aware at how sending stuff to landfill is a last resort and not taking responsibility. I hope your plans for Lent work out well.

  • Thursday 16 February, 2017 at 1:23 am

    This is such a wonderful thing to do and I can imagine how you must feel “lighter” because I know when I declutter old books, toys and clothes and rediscover things that had been hidden at the back of a wardrobe/bookself, there’s a sense of excitement and accomplishment.
    We restrain ourselves for lent or Dray-January type activities so why not all year round?
    Glad it’s going well!
    Sorry for the late comments, my boy has chicken pox šŸ™

    • Thursday 16 February, 2017 at 11:55 pm

      It does feel good and long overdue. Hope your boy is feeling better and coping well with the itching.

  • Friday 17 February, 2017 at 12:06 am

    Love the sound of going no-spend for a month – so tempted to try it myself and see how resourceful I can be! That red fabric looks so pretty in your quilt šŸ™‚ #WotW

    • Friday 17 February, 2017 at 12:15 am

      I recommend it. Whether its to save money, pursue green living, decluttering or whatever, it’s worth doing. It is a mindset. Obviously some expenditure cannot be avoided, but there are enough areas that can be either cut back on or not happen. That’s where creativity comes into it. I hope you’re able to give it a go.

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