Baby Boomer’s parents & grandparents who lived through the Great Depression developed a simple lifestyle devoid of waste. By necessity, they lived by 4 simple rules:
- Use it up.
- Wear it out.
- Make it do, or
- Do without.
I once met a guy who lived through the Great Depression who claimed he never threw anything away. He swore he even had a box that was labeled “STRING TOO SHORT TO USE”. I’m pretty sure he was exaggerating.
Pretty sure . . .
Since World War II ended and Baby Boomer started arriving, the race has been on to see who could accumulate the most “stuff”. Now garages and basements are full of stuff and storage units proliferate so people can accumulate MORE stuff.
Which brings to mind the question, “what are we going do with all this stuff?”
I have been making a conscious effort to reduce the amount of stuff in our home. I have been only moderately successful because, as I am sorting through all my “stuff”, I am invariably delayed reminiscing about the old stuff I uncover.
And then there is the dilemma of choosing what to keep and what to discard. My track record in this area is spotty. It can be summarized in four categories:
- Things I hadn’t used in years but needed the day after I discarded them.
- Things I mistakenly kept because I thought they would some day be valuable (think 8-track tapes).
- Things I discarded because I thought they weren’t worth keeping (think “baseball cards”)
- Things I discarded because I saw no value in retaining them and was correct (think “my wife’s stuff”).
Nevertheless, I remain committed to reducing clutter around our house by following the sage advice of experts who recommend “Do it in small chunks”.
Right now I believe I’ll go make a small chunk of ice cream disappear from our freezer.
2 thoughts on “The Simple Life”
Good post about something so many of us have or will experience. My Mom died in 2013. One of the things I never thought about was that when one has to deal with the stuff parents had accumulated, decisions have to be made about all of it. This means every single item must pass through our hands. Every book, picture, spoon, knick-knack, etc. Every drawer has to be opened, sorted and thought about. It’s an amazing journey and sometimes, one discovers new things about parents.
Thanks, Eric! My mom died in 2012 and my dad followed here in 2013. As you observed, after 2 painful auctions while they were alive & downsizing, we are still in the process of sorting what should be handed down to my son’s family. It’s a tough job with an unknowable deadline. Thanks for reading!
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