I have been on “Spring Break” this week, which, if you are young and still look good in a bikini, means Mexico. Since I do not fit either of the first two criteria, I went to Brainerd.
Last Sunday, when my mini-vacation started I had good intentions….really, I did. I planned to organize my closet…take stuff to Goodwill……get the piles of papers in my office into the lovely new binders I found on sale a month ago. But, true to form, the week came and went and about the only thing I’ve accomplished is this blog site. My closet is still a mess.
Compared to some, I suppose that I can say we live a fairly neat lifestyle around here. We built a house two years ago that is half the size our other house was. It was a lot easier to hide stuff there, and we did. In the basement…in the attic…in closets….in the garage. Stuff. Dumb stuff. Old stuff. Broken stuff. I didn’t realize how many Legos my children had until we got to the bottom of the toy box neither of them had taken anything out of in the ten years it had been in the basement. And don’t even get me started on the crayons, paperclips, and markers. I’d think I’d found all of them, sorted through them, and put them into containers to pack and then I’d get up in the morning, open up another drawer and it seemed that they’d reproduced overnight. I didn’t know that three bags of old Halloween candy had been squirreled away in one child’s closet. I had my “fat” jeans. I had my “skinny” jeans. I had my “someday, I will look good in these, but not yet” jeans and my “someday, these will come back in style” jeans. The marathon-running man I am married to had every pair of running shoes he’d purchased since he began running 20 plus years ago which I found weird since If I’d ever run just ONE marathon, I don’t think I’d want the shoes around to remind me of what I’d done to my feet. And if this collection of our stuff wasn’t bad enough, we’d also inherited stuff that the previous owners had also left behind which we had to find a place for in order to move.
I’m not proud when I say that even after two garage sales and about ten trips to Goodwill, we STILL filled two large rolling dumpsters before we finally stuck the dog in the car, locked the door, and drove away from that house, that life, two years ago. It was exhausting.
A relative recently posted a link to a blog http://zerowastehome.blogspot.com/2011/03/yahoo-video.html that I found interesting, based upon our experience. It is created by a woman who aspires to a “zero waste” philosophy for her family of four. Watching it, I was both awe-struck and a little creeped out. It seems extreme, to say the least. Call me crazy, but washing out reusable sanitary napkins and toting canning jars to the grocery store to pack bulk items into (to avoid the consumption/waste of packaging) seems a little, well…loony. I have a hard enough time staying on top of the laundry now, and half the time, the reusable bags I take with me to the grocery store are still in the car when I get to the check out.
Watch the video in the link. Where are the toys? The family photographs? The keepsakes? Her house, while very, very NEAT, seems cold and impersonal to me. Lifeless. Soul-less. Austere.
We have television shows like “Hoarders” and now we have “Zero-Wasters” doing their thing. My head hurts thinking about either lifestyle. I don’t care how cheap toothpaste is this week, I don’t need twenty tubes of it, but one tube to use, and one to keep on hand sounds about right. Maybe, as moms, we could just start with asking ourselves three questions every time we leave the driveway:
What is essential? What is enough? What is too much?
If we could all agree to follow the “one in…one out” rule and live more intentionally, we’d all be happier and the planet would be cleaner. I’m taking more to Goodwill and shopping thrift stores more than I ever did before the economy tanked, aren’t you? And if we could agree not to buy something new until we’d used up, donated or disposed of the old item, we’d probably all feel less stressed, less crowded, less broke. Maybe we start with teaching our children to discern between what they “want” and what they “need” to be happy. Or maybe we start with ourselves.
Time to clean that closet that’s calling my name.\”Zero Waste\”