While perusing CBC articles on Hurricane Sandy, I came across this interesting article about a family in Toronto. This led me to this blog about having only 100 items in one’s possession. I’ve been reading the Minimalist Mom’s blog fairly sporadically so this 100 Things guy seemed to say something that resonated with me. While it seems unrealistic for us to live with only 100 Things at the moment, it seems to gel with how I’ve been feeling lately.
This sentiment about not having stuff to clutter up your life seems to echo discussions that I’ve been having recently regarding thoughtfulness and intention. Since M has been out of work, I feel like our family has intentionally retreated from the world a bit. It’s been a very deliberate withdrawal in participating in a conventional lifestyle. It feels almost defensive, as if we are gathering in, to fight off the nasty economy. I don’t mean to imply that we sit in the house catatonic with fear- quite the opposite. We are embracing using what we have, and are trying very hard to not bring new stuff into the house. M has been quietly fermenting up a storm in an attempt to heal our selves with probiotics and other good foods. I have been quietly crafting up a storm in the hopes of supplementing our meager income. We have been quietly trying to figure out what works for our family instead of trying to make our family better with expensive family outings. I’ve taken A geocaching a few times which has been really fun- using our almost-hopeless car GPS (the only time I’ve ever longed for a smart phone is when I am 40 meters away from a cache and cannot find it!). I am really trying to get out more and hit the trails near our house, and get the kids out there as well. I had no idea that salmon spawned in the creek behind us- it just took a little time to figure this out. Biking during our glorious autumn has been fantastic- although M finds it excruciating having to wait for A to catch up all the time! What I am trying to say is this: we have discovered an amazing array of things to do, foods to eat and ways to prepare them fairly simply and inexpensively. This frugality has forced us to seek out alternative ways to make our family work. It is also wonderful discovering that many other families are doing the same. The strength in numbers is positive encouragement for us to keep us on our path.
In discussing intention the other day, I inadvertently came up with our family slogan: “quietly revolting against convention.” Everywhere we turn, we continuously run up against convention and battle against how things are “supposed” to be done. We are constantly making choices that are not popular and that put us in a direct line of fire from other people who think we are nuts and question our decisions. This is fine with us, we roll with it. We are confident in our choices. Our new frugality seems to compliment these choices and decisions.
So back to my earlier point about living with less- I think this is a fabulous idea, albeit slightly unrealistic at this point. As an avid sewer, I’d obviously have to keep both sewing machines. (Heather W I know you’re smiling and nodding your head). But what of the 1000’s of fabric scraps? If I keep all my fabric, can I question M in his decision to keep so many blasted guitars? So no, living with 100 things is not going to work right now. But I have a plan- to tackle the scrap pile and the other clutter in our life.
I posed a challenge to the family earlier this week: let’s start with finding 100 things EACH to donate. Let’s de-clutter the home of 400 things and see how that feels. If it feels good, then we’ll keep going. It’s another experiment. Quietly revolting against convention.