Planning for retirement. One cotton ball at a time.
Nine years later I started planning my move back east. Since costs of cross-country moves are calculated by weight, I put my household belongings on a diet. I went room-by-room sorting what I’d keep and what had to go.
Lesson: You can never have too many books.
I reluctantly sold about 500 books to Half-Price Books. That meant I could sell one of my bookcases, which I regret now as I look at my new books stacked on the floor. An extra set of dishes, pots and pans I rarely used, and both my really fat clothes and the few skinny clothes I had were packed into my Honda Civic and dropped off to Goodwill.
Lesson: Salt lasts a really long time and once cost 19 cents.
I was making progress. But I knew it wasn’t enough. And the months and days were flying by. I had to get serious. One day, I tackled my pantry. There were things in there that had expired even before I’d moved to Seattle in 2002. Yikes!
My bathroom cabinets weren’t much better. Did I really need five shampoos that were half used and separating? I wondered how much they weighed all the while knowing I couldn’t ship any open bottles anyway. In the trash they went.
Lesson: Moving can be fun. It’s what you make of it.
And then I saw tons of toilet paper stacked in each of my three bathrooms (I know, don’t say it. Why does a single woman need three bathrooms? We don’t. I used one for showering. One for hair and makeup. And the half bath was for my cat, Topher. Now you know. Don’t judge!) Back to the toilet paper. I counted the rolls and figured out how many I’d use between now and the move. Ah ha. I had enough to get me by and not have to pack any.
Which brings me to cotton balls. I counted how many I used a day on average. Probably six. I took out the two bags I had under the sink and calculated if I had enough, too many, or would need more. Bingo! They looked just right!
From then on, my cotton balls served as my countdown clock to retirement. If all went as planned, I wouldn’t have to spend $2.29 on a bag of jumbo cotton balls until I was back on the east coast. Hallelujah! True story. Don’t judge!
What are you counting on to get to retirement?