Some days it feels like our family’s mission in life is mostly to keep other people’s stuff out of the landfill.
In the last couple of weeks Craig refurbished (another) hand-me-down laptop and we laid a walkway made of brick salvaged from a demolition in our neighborhood. (I will be eternally grateful to the neighbors who helped us cart all those bricks home!) Nearly all of our clothes and furniture are second hand, as are the dishes, though I admit that I dream of someday purchasing myself a beautiful matching set when there are no little hands to help me break them.
We currently have a rescue dog, hand-me-down cats and garden plants, and second-hand chickens, some of which came complete with a coop.
I realized as I glanced around our bedroom that almost every item of furniture could be counted either as a hand-me-down or an heirloom. (I’ll leave you to decide which is which.) And without stretching our budget to include more “consumer goods” we have a full life, and a remarkably full house – so much so that I’m constantly hauling things off to Goodwill.
I’m not complaining – I’d rather be given a slightly-used pair of shoes for one of the kids than pay $50 for them and wonder what kind of sweat shop I’m supporting with my purchase. And it’s not like we don’t buy new things sometimes. Socks, for example, are best when fresh, in my opinion. It’s just hard to wrap my head around how there can be so much stuff in the world that we can fill our house to overflowing (almost) without ever buying anything new.
Also, as I look at the piles building up in the corners (again), it occurs to me that I need to accept that it’s probably not my job to keep things out of the landfill, especially things I didn’t buy in the first place, lest we all go the way of Hanta in Too Loud a Solitude. (Which you should read if you love darkly beautiful books about…books.)
In the meantime, I guess I’ll continue keeping our local thrift shops in business…