I love having our kitchen in the front of the house. I can look out at our court and be aware of who is getting a FedEx delivery, who is getting dry cleaning picked up, who is leaving and returning in five minutes flat. I like knowing what is going on in our neck of the woods. It makes me feel a little safer.
A couple of days ago I watched as a couple of neighbors were clearing a lot of items out of their house. Lots of small pieces of furniture and such. With each load out I would see what it was and think, ooh that would be nice in so and so's room. Or ooh I like that.
On my counter is, was, the big ten page black friday ad for Jo-Ann fabrics store. I have had it on the counter since it arrived Monday. I have perused those pages many, many times. I love that store. I have had to put down some strict rules about that store, and limiting my going into that store. Well for this week they are having 75% of sales for flannel and fleece. Fun fabric, soft fabric, there is always some project that can use flannel or fleece. There are a few other deals that piqued my interest but I had to remind myself that I am in the middle of TWO sewing projects, both of which have fabric already cut on the office table. There was another that I sewed last week that I had cut out at least six months ago. I need to get these done so that I can move on to the ten other patterns for which I have already bought fabric.
So I mention these two experiences because they are so related for me. I love getting new things, even if those things aren't new. I won't pass up hand me downs, especially for the kids, and clothes for me. Most of our furniture are hand me downs or second hand, only the beds and mattresses are all new. And I am more than fine with that. It is so fun to get a new thing, but with seven people in the family, there are a LOT of "new" things coming into our house. And it is harder for me to get rid of things than to get things. I feel like if the item is usable than it shouldn't be tossed unless it's nice enough to put in the DI truck, and with five kids I also think that another of the kids will want it. That is especially true with clothing as their likes are so different and you never know what will be in good enough shape to be passed on to the next sibling. But I have learned that too much is too much, even if it is good clothes, good furniture, anything really. The last few months I have had to purge the kids drawers of extra clothing, anything they didn't like or wear had to be removed. It was overwhelming. There is a happy medium of enough that can quickly move to stifling fairly quickly. So it is with seeing the furniture leaving my neighbors' house, we have no NEED of any more furniture. So it is with the fabric store, there are a few things that I would LIKE a lot, but I don't really need. Too much stuff is awful. It takes time to organize, time to keep organized, money to acquire, energy to move and organize, and energy to remember what you have and where in the house it is. Oh that last one is a killer, the I-Know-I-Have-It-But-Where-Is-It brain teaser.
The tail end of the having process involves a little thought about part of the whole picture. When I don't want, need or use this, or it breaks, now what do I do with it? We had to deal with that a cople weeks ago. Joe was given a Lay-Z-Boy chair 11 years ago from a lady who had had it at least that long. This chair was in good cosmetic condition but that back support was gone and the kids were destroying it slowly with all the rough housing. My M-I-L got us a new one as new baby gift and now we needed to get rid of the old one. You know how big they are, they don't fit in the garbage, you have to pay to get rid of it at the dumps. No thanks. So I spent a couple hours dismantling it down to the frame and was able to get it into about four garbage cans around our block. We even got the metal parts off to recycle. Man, it was work. Things are work. That chair was 27 years old!!! It was well used but the wood frame was in perfect condition. That chair was solid except for the comfort part. What a lot of resources went into making it and into getting rid of it.
In reading the creation story God told Adam and Eve to take GOOD care of the earth. I do think we will be responsible for how we use the resources of the earth. I don't think we need to live in a shanty with no amenities like running water or luxuries like hanging christmas lights. But I do think that our overall impart will be part of our character. Am I extravagant? Am I oblivicous? Am I extreme in my non-impact dedication? Am I trying to be wise and prudent and use what I have to the fullest? I use the sun, I use our windows and blankets and jackets, I capture rain water, we turn gray water into black water in the bathrooms. I will not give up my disposable diapers so I try to offset it with being extra frugal in other places.
We live in such a disposable society that it's easy to get caught up in it. But I have found that the simpler (to a point) things are the easier it is to function and enjoy them and life. Enjoy deep stuff...