Two weeks ago I thankfully (and finally) got rid of evidence of one of the largest material mistakes I've ever made. Behold, the 7 foot long foam bean bag:
The idea for something to fill up that corner came because, well, I feared The Simple Man might try to make it home to more crappy furniture after I'd already gotten rid of a horrible armchair. Clearly, I shot myself in the foot, although I was unaware of it at the time.
I'm not at all an impulse buyer. This beanbag did fit a lot of my requirements. It was low to the ground. It had washable covers. Rather than seem juvenile, it appeared to me like a slightly less exotic western version of a Moroccan divan or something. I steadfastly ignored that most of the advertising seemed aimed at college aged kids who apparently were supposed to pile onto the beanbag and writhe around together under strobe lights.
So I saved up for it and bought it. I had wanted a small one, but was persuaded by The Giant Simple Man that he needed the 7 foot long one. It was a huge mistake. Literally. The thing inflated like a life raft in the ocean and the kids took one look at it and began running and slamming into it with uncontrolled mania. I did expect that. What I didn't expect was that I actually didn't like all that mushiness and I was pretty peeved that The Simple Man, who had talked me out of purchasing something of a normal size, now refused to have anything to do with it. If he had loved it that might have softened my immediate hatred of it, but...he didn't. I couldn't blame him. After all, we aren't 5 year olds.
I tried unsuccessfully to sell it soon after we bought it. I wasn't mentally prepared at that time to let it go for a big loss. I hadn't reconciled myself to how much this mistake was going to cost me. So it sat there like the Blob, while I loathed it. Now that it's gone I think I can remember sitting on it once, maybe twice.
Six months later I was over the money issue. I made peace with my mistake. I accepted that I would be paying for that mistake and understood the lessons it taught me. This took awhile because I'm really frugal and I was insanely angry with myself for wasting money. Although I was berating myself over it, I did take the time to step back and look at my spending habits overall. I decided that I was allowed one mistake. I'm very careful with our money; I agonize like a dork over any purchase more than 30 dollars, and I couldn't have known that this item wasn't going to work in our house. I let it go. It helped that I realized my desire to have a minimalist home. I understood that I don't have to fill a space. We are happier with less. It also confirmed to me that I was going about what (very) little house decorating I actually do, all wrong.
Yes. Wrong. First of all, I wouldn't admit to what I liked at the risk of being labeled austere and/or boring. Denying my taste hindered my ability to make good choices with the little bit of money I'm willing to spend on that kind of thing. Also, I have learned to stop completely deferring to what the The Simple Man thinks is his taste. Without going into a whiny and desperate tirade about this, I will say that when he is asked his opinion, he invariably either does not like my suggestions, or is very meh. Or he says "red." Red is his design solution for everything. When he is not asked his opinion, he ends up really liking everything. Heh, heh, heh. After 10 years of jumbled furnishings and a severe lack of calm cohesiveness in the family home due to my adherence to his preferences, I'll be taking a break from asking for input unless it's a structural issue. Luckily we're downsizing which means there isn't much coming in anymore. And my taste is pretty neutral so I'm not about to break out the pink ruffles and ceramic chickens wearing aprons.
What? You're supposed to finish painting your baseboards?
Many thanks to Mike, for his politeness, his ability to be punctual (a trait sadly lacking in Craig's List dealings) and the giant truck he brought to take away my beanbag. What was my mistake was his good luck. I was happy he was such a nice guy.
Does the money you spent hold you back from getting rid of things? And heck yeah, you know I want to hear about your big, ugly, mistake.