A Little Friday Reading

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Hoping my weekend includes plenty of this.

From me to you:

1. I have not read enough Wendall Berry. He is revered by many friends of mine, and I am fascinated by the life he has chosen (that he doesn’t always recommend). A local friend-of-several-friends wrote about his time with Berry here. Good reading, when I am tempted to wish away my three particular “interruptions”; too often in favor of productivity and accomplishing the neverending to-do list. Sometimes those to-dos should trump, often they should not.

2. My friend Keely is blogging again! I loved/hated this, and it generated a good discussion on her facebook page. Seems many of us can relate to her, and the feeling of losing contact with yourself in motherhood. (If we ever had contact with ourselves to begin with? That’s another blog post…).

3. Another friend is blogging about Financial Peace University, the Dave Ramsey course on financial management. I love her description of blowing through money without thought. I would have been on that trip with her, except hemming and hawing over every little nickel and not allowing myself to enjoy France fully as a result. Which approach sounds worse? It’s a toss-up, really.

Happy Friday to you! On my docket: use up a few gift cards that have been languishing for too long. Massage! Dinner at The Local! Coffee! Use it up!

So Far, I’m Killing It

IMG_1469.JPGThis is what they did when I asked them to look at me and smile while “Creative Galaxy” was on the ipad today. This. Thanks for the smile. And eye contact.

Day 24 of the “Use What You’ve Got” month and I own this.

I love using the remaining two cups of rice that have been in our pantry for the past 6 months. Also: dry beans, lentils, and cornmeal. Using it up.

I love seeing the back of our freezer, as I pull out more bags from Trader Joes that I bought and promptly forgot about.

I love using things we already have, instead of buying new things. I get a little thrill out of it. I don’t know why, but there it is.

A case example:

The other day I was ready to finally buy a new cd carrying case for the kids’ cds that we have. The Monkey enjoys listening to story or music cds during his daily room time and our collection has expanded enough to overflow the one carrying case I bought about 15 years ago. However, in the spirit of “Use What You’ve Got”, I decided to put a few cds in a box (that we already have, sitting around!) in his closet and just rotate them every once in a while with the ones in his case. Who cares if another cd case is only $6. We don’t need more stuff. I can make do with what we already have. Bonus: rotating cd’s means they become exciting again when they reappear.

And one more:

I went through the baby clothes that we have and pulled out anything that baby girl can wear. A lot of them had yellow stains on them from being in storage for two years. A little hot water, some OxyClean, and line-drying later (the power of the sun cannot be underestimated!)- we have enough onesies now to outfit my daughter and at least seventeen other babies.

These are silly little examples, and- to be clear- there is certainly nothing wrong with buying a new cd case once every 15 years. Hell, even every 5 years if you’re wild like that. And a new outfit for a new baby is just fine, too.

But when I open up my closets downstairs and think “Dear God- so much STUFF,” and feel burdened by it…why add to the quantity? I just hate looking at a closet full of stuff that I don’t use. It feels like such a waste. So this month- I really like focusing on using it up.

Use What You’ve Got.

The Vacuum

The vacuum is something that is seldom seen around here. A few months ago I stored it in our downstairs closet, in an effort to make it simpler to just pull out and use. That helps. But it still doesn’t get much action.

(Other small things that help you GSD: having a toilet brush in every bathroom and cleaning wipes under every sink. But I digress).

One problem with our vacuum is that it doesn’t seem particularly effective anymore. I have to move over the same spot ten times to get things swept up. That alone will kill motivation, amiright?

Back in the day when I was a regular at the gym, I started seeing the commercials for the Shark vacuum. The Shark got a lot of air time in between “Love It or List It” episodes, as I churned out my 30 minutes on the elliptical. I knew it- all of my problems with vacuuming stem from having an ineffective vacuum! If I had a more effective and easy-to-use vacuum, I would use it more often.

I am that gullible consumer who marketers LOVE.

In light of “Use What You’ve Got” month, I am forgoing the new Shark vacuum and using the perfectly adequate one that we already have. The problem, most likely, is not the vacuum. The problem is that I hate vacuuming. It makes my back hurt and I just generally dislike it. (Same with emptying the dishwasher, now that I think about it…). But the poor effectiveness certainly does not help.

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My sidekick, who played outside and “helped” while I took the vacuum apart.

Today I hauled the vacuum outside and took all the filters out for a good clean. I think I have done this twice before, in my 9 year relationship with this vacuum. Once every three years is probably sufficient, right?

The filters are now drying in the sun and all the little plastic parts that could be removed and rinsed are drying off, too. Forget the Shark, even with all the bells and whistles it offers. I’m going to give my Bissell another few years. Cleaning the filters will, I’m sure, help.

(And if you feel like your dishwasher is performing poorly but aren’t ready for a new one, here are some tips to help it do its’ job better. Use What You’ve Got!)