Monday, February 18, 2008

Experimenting with a Policy of Non-Replacement

For a while now, I've been somewhat in a "non replacement mode". Let me explain.

I feel that I own way too many things in this world. And even after a big clear out before Christmas, our house is still quite full of lots of possessions.

So I decided some time ago, that if something breaks, I'd see if I could get by without it, rather than replacing it.

(I rather think I'd draw the line at my stove, fridge, freezer, washer and dryer, though, and the computer for the kid's school work and cars. Just saying.)

So, since this resolution, I've broken more dishes than I can count. Pots and pans seem to be wearing out. I've broken my pampered chef bar pan stone. My favorite serving bowl is gone. A less fave serving bowl is also gone.

My winter coat got cat pee on it this past summer and I've made it through this winter by layering jackets. (I will get a coat when I'm done losing weight.)

Of course there's my engagement ring stone, too. Dh wants to replace it. I think I'll let him. ;-)

The dishwasher has been un-useable and I don't really miss it (my kids are learning how to wash dishes!) and today...

Today it was the microwave oven! I grew up without a microwave oven. I kind of like the idea of slow food. I learned this pm that it IS possible to heat up some leftovers on the stove top, and actually make hot cocoa water in a tea kettle. Duh!

But most importantly, I tried it and CAN successfully make low fat pop corn on the stove top with cooking spray in the pot instead of oil. I was not sure that would work, but it does.

And I'm plotting what to do with the extra space that little machine took up.

It's an interesting experiment, this non-acquisitiveness. Not that I've been completely perfect about not buying things. I've made a thrift store run here and there for t-shirts and such.

But even with my clothes, I'm trying to be very intentional about simplicity, especially as I start to shrink out of my current wardrobe. (I promise I won't go naked, and that I WILL replace my clothes! Today I had to rummage in the top of my closet for the next-size-down jeans I had stashed up there.) I'm seeing this, too, as an opportunity to scale down...not only my body, my closet, my food consumption, my possessions as well.

Well, at least I'm trying to be intentional about not doing the knee-jerk "gotta have it NOW" shopping response. It's not easy and I see that I'm very inconsistent.

4 comments:

T. said...

We got rid of our microwave before moving to MA, didn't buy one there, and haven't bought one since moving back home, and really I rarely miss it. Popcorn and quick defrosting of things and melting margarine for baking are a few of the things I sometimes miss it for. But, like you I've found I really don't need it. And living in a small apartment, the space is at a premium, so it's definately worth it to avoid buying one for us.

Xenia Kathryn said...

awesome! I like your experiment here.

Michelle said...

First, let me say that I love the new photo on your sidebar. Second, I really liked this post. I haven't been able to comment as much as I would like, but I wanted to say how much I admire this. I wish we could be more like it! We have so much junk- and I want to get rid of it ALL. How does one actually go about doing that?! I have sorted through our stuff several times, but we still have so much. I should try out this new policy. Maybe it will help with the junk problem

Alana said...

How to go about doing it: When something breaks, challenge yourself at first to see how long you can get by without replacing it.

With our dishwasher, we did the challenge out of necessity, and it has become a nice thing for our family. My older girls, at least, are stepping in and helping more, and the younger ones are more aware of the work that is kitchen duty, and tend to clear their plates on their own.

We have had so many things break this year, it's not even funny. So, the forced simplicity is making me live a "slower" life...I have to take time to do things like re-heat leftovers, etc.

It's just one item at a time.

And if you are having a major domestic clear out, remember that the Kentucky Refugee Ministry always needs household goods because they help the refugees have a place to call home by furnishing apartments for them. Can you imagine arriving with a suitcase (if that!) and nothing else?