Saturday, March 24, 2007

spring cleaning and materialism

hi, i'm mindi and i'm a pack rat. seriously. i have issues with not being able to throw stuff away. i save notes, letters, silly momentos, gift bags, tchotchke, old t-shirts that i haven't worn since college.

when i moved to san diego, two of my friends came over to help me pack. i purged a LOT of stuff then: stuffed animals i'd had since my toddler days, notes i'd passed in class in middle school, birthday cards from my childhood, and a frightening amount of clothes i hadn't worn since high school. one of those two friends is an organizational whiz (though she'd deny it) and gave me a few rules of thumb to save me from my pack rat self (and to keep me from joining the ranks of the women in my family all of whom have drawers and closets that should only be opened while wearing a hard hat and garages and attics stuffed to overflowing).

one of those rules was to do spring cleaning. toss what doesn't work that can't be fixed. give away the clothes, accessories and shoes from last season that were never worn. clean out the files throwing away anything that isn't truly needed for tax records or insurance type reasons. get rid of things you just aren't using anymore. i've gotten good at this for me. and that's what i've been working on this past weekend and this weekend.

but i'm wrestling with what to do with a few things. for example, my toaster and coffee maker. both are the original ones i got when i first moved out on my own. they're probably both at least 15 years old. they're ugly, but they work. and my towels. i have them in a variety of mismatched colors. you can tell the history of my bathroom colors from my towels. my towels are faded and frayed around the edges, but they still work. so here's the dilemma all of this stuff still does the job they were created to do. they just don't look that good doing it. there's a part of me that wants to toss them out or donate them so i can buy new, pretty towels and cute appliances. but there's a part of me that feels wasteful, like if the items are still good enough to donate they should be good enough for me to keep and use.

i haven't quite figured out what to do. it's not like i need new stuff, i just would like it. but there's this little voice in the back of my head (it sounds more like my aunt than my mom which will make sense to you if you know them), that says "there are thousands of kids dying of starvation and starvation related diseases--do you really need a cute toaster?"

and the answer is i don't need one, but is it bad to want one?


Da Youth Guy said...

Look at it this way. Can you afford to buy new stuff? Probably. By giving away old useful stuff you make it available to folks who can't afford prices for new. They get something they need at a price they can afford. Every one wins.


mindi said...

i love this thought. i think i may have to go toaster shopping this weekend. it's the item really bugging me...