Friday, April 11, 2008

How Do You Decide…

…when to throw stuff out? How worn and shabby does it have to be before you think about replacing it? Are you one of those who buys a new set of towels the minute one starts to fray? Or do you use them until there are holes and the edges are all raggedy. Can you live with a little “lived-in” look or do you need to have everything fresh and perfect? Do you need to change your décor often to keep from being bored or to follow latest trends? When you do buy a new one, do you throw the old one out right away? Or hang on to it to use somewhere where its scruffiness won’t matter?

I think most of us in the richer countries are totally sold on the idea of buying new all the time. All the advertising we’re bombarded with every day says that we won’t be happy and everyone will look down on us if we don’t have the latest and greatest whatever! But do we really need to replace things as often? Is it OK to live with something that still functions even though it’s not picture perfect? Even more importantly, can we fight the urge to shop?

Personally I actually hate shopping. Not for books, magazines and craft supplies and maybe not even groceries — just everything else. I can never find what I want, in the colours and quality I like and the stores are too stifling and full of junk I never use. T-Man is even worse than I am, probably because he’s male. Shopping for clothes or household items is definitely not on his to-do list if he can possibly help it. However sometimes I need his assistance with a vehicle to get larger items home. So we both drag ourselves to the mall and kind of blitz-shop: get in and get out with as much at one time as possible so we don’t have to do it again anytime soon. Hence the reason I try to buy reasonable quality so it will perhaps last long enough so I don’t remember the pain of shopping for it.

Of course the big drawback to this method is that next time you need it, months or even years down the road, you can’t find anything that remotely resembles the first purchase. The popular colours have changed and don’t match mine. They stop manufacturing or importing that item. The quality has deteriorated and the price has inflated. You have to buy a whole set when you only want one part of it. Etc. Makes me wonder why I don’t buy 3 of them the first time around. But then if I did, it would be something that didn’t work the way it was supposed to.

OK, enough of the Damselfly Musings for today. What’s up on the needles? I’ve grafted the crotch on the Unmentionables and picked up one of the leg’s stitches to carry on with the ruffle.

That is what’s left of Ball 3 still. Amazing! Each ball of yarn goes much farther than you might expect. I think we’re into a “loaves and fishes” situation here! BTW, did you know that the words “crotch” and “crutch” come from the same root and that it’s the forked shape that they have in common? I’ve actually seen crutch used instead of crotch in an old sewing manual. Perhaps it was more polite? Fascinating, to me at least. But I digress.

I’ve only gotten one more heart started but not completed. I think, deadline or no, that I’m just slightly obsessed with the Unmentionables. Which of course have no immediate need to be completed. Too bad. I’m going with my heart and ignoring the knitted ones for the moment. Which likely means that I’ll be knitting and stuffing and fulling and beading up a storm in a couple of days to get them done. Fine.

Got the vacuuming done yesterday but T-Man discovered that the freezer on the bottom of our fridge has been running constantly. The vents were clogged with ice that shouldn’t have been there. So he thawed it all out and pulled out the fridge and vacuumed the even bigger and nastier dust creatures under it. Later we found that the drip pan had overflowed and leaked down into the basement. The fridge tried to pretend that the hot water heater had peed on the floor but we weren’t paying any attention to that old “not me” ploy. It made a good excuse for me to wash the floor by the cat box and food dish anyway. Now hopefully the fridge will behave itself. I’m doing laundry today so I’m watching the hot water heater to see if it’s planning any retaliation.


Sue said...

I hate shopping too. The last time I bought myself clothes was last fall, and then only because I was starting back to work. I wear clothes until they aren't decent anymore! My towels are the ones we got as wedding presents, 8 years ago. They aren't fraying yet, because we put good quality ones on our registry. They do seem to be fading a bit, though.

Anything to avoid shopping, I say.

Anonymous said...

Hi Louisa

You've mentioned listening to podcasts before and I'm curious which ones you listen to, especially any about knitting. If you've written about them before could you link me to that, or, if not, could you let us know?

Thanks. Marina

Sharon in Surrey said...

I know exactly how you feel about shopping & never throwing things out. I'm a collector too. I know most people would throw half my junk out but I re-read those books all the time! I listen to my audios all the time. I wear my favorite things to death. This is my security blanket & it cost a lost of money & I just might need that again, someday!!!