Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Is it more wasteful to keep it or give it away?

It's Ash Wednesday, everyone! To my intense amusement, the Methodist church down the street offers drive-through ashes every year. Wow.

So, I've been doing a lot of purging in my clean up of the house, though in the last week since Jake has switched to an odd work shift everything has ground to a halt. (He's working 4:30 PM to 3 AM. We're all adjusting, but it stinks right now.)

My mom is an incredible purger, and not very sentimental at all about objects - I get most of my attitude about items from her. My MIL is rather different - she keeps many sentimental things that I would never think to do. For example, she sold an old conversion van that she loved many years ago, and kept the bills that the new owners paid her. (It didn't sell for much.) Never deposited them, never spent them, just kept them in a lock box, because they represented the van. So, a little different.

In the beginning of the KonMari cleanout, most of what I got rid of was sent straight to the thrift store, but after a bit my MIL asked if there were things I'd like her to sell at yard sales this summer. She does have several yard sales a year, and also takes things to the flea market, so instead of donating them I started sending them to her garage.

She's been a little surprised at the things that we've been sending her way - cake pans, a cheese slicer I never liked, some old decor that Jake decided he didn't like anymore, and several of the items have been ending up in her home to be used. I don't mind that at all - the idea is to get back the space in our home, not to sell stuff. But even though she doesn't say it directly, I often think she sees this as being wasteful on my part. I'm getting rid of perfectly good items that still have a lot of life left in them - that's the definition of waste, right?

I, however, feel like these items were going to waste in my house. I didn't like them, I didn't use them, and neither of those things were going to change, no matter how long I held onto them. So there they were, sitting there, not being used. When I took them out and sent them to the thrift store or my MILs, they had a chance at being used by someone who wanted them and would like them. To me, that seems like the LEAST wasteful thing I could do. I'm saving someone else money by letting them buy used, it's one less product that will be manufactured and bought new, and as a bonus, I have more room in my home! Yes, at one time I spent money to get them, but that's the way the world works. If I spent the money and I loved it, I'd have kept it. But since it doesn't work for me, I have to decide - what's more important to me? The fact that it once cost me $20, or the fact that I can't close the kitchen drawer when it's in there? To me, a drawer that closes is worth getting rid of a $20 gadget I never used, and sending to a home that will use and treasure it.

Tell me in the comments - what is wasteful to you? Getting rid of things, or keeping things you don't use?


  1. I would get rid and have the space in my home. 15 years ago my MIL downsized from a 4 bed large home to a smaller 3 bed one. Last year I helped my parents downsize from large 4 bed home to a 2 bed bungalow. One day we will have to do the same probably, it will be hard enough even if stuff is purged now. House doesn't seem big enough, but we have 2 adult children living here with us. We all have hobbies and do 'stuff'.

  2. I've held on to way too much simply be a use if how much I paid for it. Especially my two daughter's clothing. I've had tons in bags that I know I can get some $ for, and I could...if I got around to selling them! Instead it's been a stress and guilt inducer for almost TWO years!! I just want to let it all go and not buy so much STUFF!

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