Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wise words and socks

I'm reading (on my kindle) The Joy of Less,  A Minimalist Living Guide, by Francine Jay. When my husband and I heard of Dave Ramsey we both said, 'what a difference this could have made to start with his money principles ten years earlier!' Why on earth didn't I hear of Francine Jay ten years before now? 

God knew NOW was the time; in the middle of the Christmas season, when we're all scurrying to and fro, buying more and more. 

I'm barely started with this decluttering, minimalizing, simplifying, but already, with LITTLE effort: my embroidery supplies became a Christmas gift for a ten year old girl.  Extra yarn went to a friend who loves to crochet scarves; books were popped into Christmas boxes for my parents; magazines taken to the Care Center for workers and those coming in for help. Kitchen gadgets, extra sheets that don't fit our mattress, and clothes I haven't worn for years given away; CD's were loaded onto our computer and phone then the originals given away to others who will enjoy them.

This past week a woman came into our Care Center for food. When I asked if she wanted to look at clothing she asked, "do you have any socks?" The clothing area workers told us there weren't any, then one of them asked her, "what kind of socks?" and she said, "Any. I only have one pair." The worker went to her car and brought in a sack. She pulled out a few pairs of brand new socks, set aside because they didn't fit her feet well. Watching that woman's eyes as she took the socks was gratifying and heart-breaking all at once. I came home, went through my sock bin and grabbed A DOZEN pairs that I simply do not wear. Shameful that they were sitting there, a blessing withheld by being in my home instead of someone else's. I suspect my home is full of that sort of thing.

I've only begun this process really - Christmas time is a tough time to do a thorough overhaul of closets and bedrooms and kitchen cupboards, but already the house feels less overwhelming.

I remember hearing my mother and MIL say, "use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without", a slogan from the 1930's depression era.  Lots of wisdom to dwell on - Dave Ramsey, old sayings and Francine Jay. If you're not done with your Christmas shopping, maybe there's something sitting around your home that could be repurposed, or handed down or over, to bless someone else and clear your own house out a bit. A framed photo, a copy of an old letter, childhood toys and treasures, a scarf or jewelry - the possibilities are endless in my home. Maybe yours too?

3 comments:

Becky said...

We literally gave away 1600 square feet of accumulation when we downsized. And the 2 bedroom apartment we live in now feels exactly the right size for us. 1100 square feet and we are thrilled! I love this whole attitude. And you know that nearly everyone tries to do this in January. You are getting a realistic head start and I know you are going to bless and be blessed by the process. We sure were.

Oh, and my mom absolutely insisted we don't buy her anything to "clutter up the house". So we purchased an entire box of Feed My Starving Children food ($52). She gets a corrogated cardboard ornament that looks exactly like the box we bought. And some child in another country gets 7 months of meals. Perfect!!

Becky said...

I can't stop ... I just remembered that last January I gave away 3 plastic Rubbermaid bins of fabric stash and remnants from years and years of sewing and collecting. I gave it to a young mom with 2 small girls who had just learned to sew the year before with a new sewing machine her mom got her for Christmas. And her New Year's Resolution this year was not to buy one single new piece of clothing for her girls. She used my fabric to get very creative and learn a lot in the process. And she is going to carry off that resolution!! I am so proud of her.

Bev said...

Becky, can I just tell you how much I love this, and you? I do. Fuel for the fire under me - I've often thought of all you got rid of, not just to get rid of it, but to support what your husband was doing. I love, love that. I've been struck by how much we have, all neatly organized and labeled and sorted, but it's still too much. We don't need it and others do and I have high plans to do something about that, starting now and really jumping in January 2, when we're home and holidays are behind us. I'm thinking taking in one car load a week is going to be just about right. xoxo