Friday, June 13, 2008

Going Green...With Envy?

Often, I think about weird things. For example, I frequently wonder how much STUFF we (as in we humans) can continue to manufacture and sell and keep before there is no more room in the world for more STUFF. I’m a purger when it comes to stuff. I love to get rid of it. I keep very little. I heard once whatever you collect and keep - you should love enough to display. If the things you keep have to go in a box in a storeroom, then really, why are you keeping it? This sums up my desire to have less. And part of me wants to go to a thrift store when I need something, not just because its cheaper (though it is a great deal cheaper) but also because I am tired of participating in the hyper-manufactured-junk culture we find ourselves in all too often. I want to send a message.

It should come as no surprise then that I have been catching on more and more to the green movement we see happening in our country. I have canvas shopping bags we use at the store. I love them. And not just because I get a LOT of compliments when I use them. Mostly, I just love that I come home and unpack two huge sturdy canvas bags and not 33 flimsy, falling apart, dripping, torn, twisted plastic bags. Plastic bags are not capable of carrying a bundle of bananas without having their structural integrity compromised. My canvas bags, well, I can carry all 24 pounds of Reagan with no problems.

I recycle, too. I’ve made a more serious effort to make my pile of junk in the landfill less noticeable. Similarly, I reuse things like margarine containers, water bottles, drinking straws, ziploc bags. I don’t like to use papertowels - because the convenience seems a bit wasteful.

I haven’t actually gone home for lunch in several months - trying to conserve some of that precious gasoline.

Slowly, but surely, I’m thinking that less truly is more. In certain categories, old is better, most often, than new. I feel a pull toward a more simple life. And that fits pretty nicely with my anti-packrat mentality.

I still get caught by that MORE monster. I see some of the big beautiful homes and its hard to feel quite as content with mine when I don’t have the stainless steel appliances or the 3 car garage or even a private master bathroom. Deep in my heart, I’m afraid I’m just a 5 star hotel kind of girl, and not so much a camper.

It makes me a little sad that this isn’t a more socially acceptable topic. When someone asks me where I got Reagan’s outfit, I mumble under my breath that I got it at a garage sale. Its my hushed tone that tells others I’m, for some reason, afraid they’ll laugh at me later or think I’m in some kind of financial crisis. But it would be a great deal of fun to have a bunch of friends who wanted to go treasure hunting every once in a while. We’d go to thrift stores and garage sales and Goodwill and find all kinds of fun things, and even have enough to go out for lunch without feeling like we just spent our entire budget in one day.

Anyone care to join my club?


Krista said...

Anytime you want to go garage saling call me. I would love to go with a friend instead of by myself!

Brouwer Family said...

I do, I do!

Laura K. said...

I'm in your club! Wish we lived closer so we could treasure hunt. Seriously, my best loved clothes & toys (B's toys) are ones purchased for less than $4 second hand. It's so very satisfying!
I too, love my canvas bags for groceries. And I cringe whenever we throw away plastic of any kind, or cans that aren't recylced here. Go Green! It's a good trend.

Jana said...

I think this is a very, very important topic, and particularly for Christians. Why don't we talk more about our duty as God's caretakers? Good for you.

One thing that I've noticed is different about the current "hippie"ish college town I live in is that people here are generally more open and accepting about this kind of conservation. We're much more likely to buy used than new.

Miz Jean said...

Wow - look at all of you gals who do your own treasure hunting! How awesome! I'm so glad so many of you are actually thinking about your purchasing habits and choosing to do something responsible and smart, even if it does take a little more time/effort! I'd love to go treasure hunting with all of you!!

Anonymous said...

So, individuals that chose not to go garage sales are irresponsible?

Miz Jean said...

Not sure where you got that idea annonymous. Each person does what is right for them...and hopefully doesn't judge someone else for doing something different.

Anonymous said...

"I'm so glad so many of you are actually thinking about your purchasing habits and choosing to do something responsible and smart"

This is where I got my idea. If shopping at garage sales is considered to be responsible, then I assumed that not going to garage sales is irresponsible.

Miz Jean said...

Just read through my comments again and realize where you may have thought I was saying people who buy full price items are irresponsible. Which is not what I meant to say. If that were true, well, I'd be a very irresponsible person myself! But what I was trying to say that it is a challenge to be a good steward of the gifts God has given us and that we should consider more often and more carefully the choices we make. For example, I want the $160 pair of jeans. Yes, I do. But that would be kinda crazy and just not necessary, so I am choosing not to buy them. Does that make more sense? I apologize if I offended anyone - truly not my intention!!

Anonymous said...

I’m not offended. I asked for the sake of clarification. I totally agree, we should consider more often and more carefully the decisions we make.

tapango1 said...

are you talking about hard plastic straws you wash or like the kind from mcdonalds??????????

Miz Jean said...

Alyce, I don't know precisely how to categorize them. They're incredibly cheap plastic straws. White with red lines on them. Very similar to the ones at McDonalds. But don't worry - if you come over, I'd give you a brand new straw! You're that important to me!!