Friday, December 25, 2020


Hello, hello! Yes, I'm still here! Sorry about the long silence, but let’s just go ahead and blame it on 2020 along with so much else, right?

Actually, besides the dearth of sales and my inclination to keep myself separate, safe and healthy, I had a second knee replacement surgery in early October that put me out of commission for a while. Happy to say it went great, possibly even better than the first, and it's absolutely wonderful to be able to walk around without pain. And huge thanks go to my friend Marcia, who one again helped me through those first difficult days after surgery when I was hurting, grumpy and drugged!

Then there were almost no sales to go to, and the couple of estate sales I tried (run by well-regarded companies) were taking so few precautions for their customers that I decided not to participate for a while. I'm talking big crowds inside the houses, staff not wearing masks…as much as I love thrifting, it's not worth dying for, right?

But it is time for the annual spreadsheet review! Smaller numbers this year, but still had fun and found some great stuff. I can hardly believe I only spent $132.65 for the whole year. Three years ago that number was just under $1200. I brought home 111 items with an estimated retail value of about $2200. I'm happy with that kind of return on investment!

Crafting and gardening supplies are almost tied for the areas I spent the most ($27+ each). Picked up a few tools and several big pots for the thungbergia vines I plant to grow next summer. 

And under crafting came the twenty bucks for beautiful yarns that would have set me back well over $200 in a shop.

The category in which I brought home the most number of items was Entertainment, which included two dozen magazines to while away all the time this year I wasn’t going out and about. Most of them were even free, so the two bucks spent for the rest was well worth it. And I was able to share the gardening magazines with friends, so even more bang for the buck.

Best return on investment once again was clothing. Only brought home 13 pieces for $9.25, but they would have set me back over $600 in a store. Let’s face it, you just can't beat fifty cent jeans and brand new shirts! And I had a lot of fun improving this linen Coldwater Creek jacket (narrowed the collar and shoulders, added contrasting accents, better buttons).

One of the upsides to reduced garaging was a drastic reduction in my ‘category of shame’ Donations – those things I bring home then decide not to keep. Only four this year!

I was recently reading my earlier year-end-roundup posts and came across this line:

No matter what else happens, I can always look back at my garaging record and say without doubt that it was a very good year!

And I have to say, even in notoriously-awful 2020 that still holds true. I'm safe and healthy, my wonderful pets are all well and making me laugh, and the garaging was fun and worthwhile – as is the spreadsheet I've maintained now for fifteen years. That's a lot of memories and personal history.

In fact, my garaging spreadsheet inspired me this year to create one for another endeavor – my yard makeover. I've never been successful in keeping a garden journal; I tried a few times but it never lasted. But this year I started listing tasks I needed to complete in a spreadsheet, with a column for completion date and notes on the project. Instantly I had a to-do list as well as a list of accomplishments. Then I added another page for bloom times, and another for expenses. I'm not sure I really wanted to know I've spent almost $130 on DIRT since I moved here a couple of years ago (I mean, dirt!). But that’s offset by seeing the great deals I've found on garden tools and pots by shopping on driveways. 

And just like the satisfaction I get from the garaging spreadsheet, I'm amazed to see that I planted 184 things in 2020! (Okay, yes, I had some fabulous help, especially from friends Lysa and Briana!) Some are in the ground, some were in pots and my window boxes, but (so far!) most are still alive.

The end of 2020 will not bring instant change to the troubles of the world, as much as we might want it to. But I feel hopeful for good things in 2021, and I know that for me, some will be very thrifty and fun to find. I hope that’s in your future, too! 

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