Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Clutter vs. stuff

"Junk is the stuff we throw away. Stuff is the junk we keep."

Our garage sale success the other day got me thinking--it seems I am constantly switching things out--clearing out one closet and getting rid of clutter, then bringing someone else's unwanted stuff and putting it right back in the closet. And though it sounds like it would be a counterproductive idea, its been very helpful. How could that be?
Well, last night, in light of our current temporary state of being a no-income family, I got out my trusty Tightwad Gazette. This was my constant companion throughout the 1990s and is the reason for the financial stability we have today. But anyway, a quote in there really caught my attention--
"Junk is the stuff we throw away. Stuff is the junk we keep."
Isn't that the truth?? All the "stuff" I'm keeping is stuff that will have a use, if not now, then later on. Having it now, for cheap or free, will save us money when we need it. This goes for things like wrapping paper and greeting cards, clothes a size or two too big for the kids, toys and games in a box in the closet to bring out when the kids are climbing the walls and need something "new". Junk, on the other hand, has no conceivable use to us. Empty peanut jars, princess dress-up clothes that my daughter wouldn't be caught wearing and my son shouldn't be caught wearing, books we've already read and nobody wants to read again, movies and games nobody likes, etc etc. Its interesting to me that no matter what one person's junk is, it could always be someone else's stuff. Thank goodness for Freecycle, Craigslist, thrift stores, and all the other places that put these still-useful-to-someone items into the hands of those who can use them instead of in the landfill. And thank goodness my family has no issues with hand-me-downs and second hand items, because who knows how much we have saved over the years this way.
I haven't always been in love with being thrifty, but I'd say 90% of the time I've been content with it. The other 10% has generally come on when I've spent too much time with people who have homes decorated like magazine covers, the most expensive car they can buy, designer labels on every item they or their kids own, etc. Sometimes I'll come home and look around and think "We could live like that. Why don't we?" The answer always comes to me when I come back down to reality. And these days, I've never more grateful for those thrifty days before and the thrifty days now. When hubby got laid off, and we could sit back and genuinely say--"We'll be fine. No worries" and go on about our business. I can't imagine anything I could have owned or bought or experienced with our money that could equal that feeling of relief. And in that way, this experience has been very good for us.


Missy said...

peace of mind has no price tag! Materialistic peolpe do not understand that!

2simplify said...