Friday, July 23, 2010

To Save or Not To Save

For me it is always "SAVE."

I always thought I was programmed to be a saver, having been raised by parents who survived the great depression. They saved everything.

My mom washed plastic sandwich bags, dried them on the dish drain and reused them. The backs of envelopes were our note paper. She used butter wrappers to grease cookie pans. She folded tissue paper and gift wrap from presents to reuse on a future gift that she would give. My mom darned socks over a light bulb. They make darning bulbs but she used a burned out light bulb to fix holes in our socks.

My dad saved broken things because he could usually fix them. Back then, a broken toaster could be fixed. He saved seeds from his vegetable and flowers to plant the following year. He saved and used anything in a bottle or jar (ketchup, salad dressing, shampoo, etc.) by adding water to get every last drop. He used a spatula to reach and clean out mayonnaise and peanut butter jars. Jars were washed and saved for reuse. He saved money in a savings account. He never bought a car on time. Instead he waited until he had saved enough money to buy a new (used) car and paid cash for it.

What chance did I have? I'm just like them. What do I save? Bits of fleece material from projects to use as dust cloths. Rain water to water my plants (I got this one from my dad). I also have receptacles under my window air conditioner to catch the water and use it to give my plants a drink. I save reusable items for crafts that I might do with my kids at school. I never throw away paper. It can be printed on the back or used as note paper or coloring pages or at the very least, recycled.

I also have collections of things that I save. I have a giraffe room that I am filling with all things giraffe. I love coffee and started a coffee mug collection. If I see one I like, I buy it. I often get them as gifts. When I go on vacation I try to bring a mug home as a souvenir. I also have a postcard collection. I buy too many postcards but what a beautiful and inexpensive way to remember trips and places. I keep every postcard that people send me. I made a scrap book once of the cards that I'd received. It was like going around the world with my friends. But I kept getting more cards. So now I keep them sorted by location and subject matter. I have a collection of bookmarks started by my friends at the public library. Whenever we go on vacation, we try to buy bookmarks for each other. It's fun looking for bookmarks to get for friends and it is also fun to add bookmarks to my collection when friends get back from vacation.

I was stunned when I met my husband's parents who are from the same generation as my parents, only his parents were much poorer, and yet they did not save stuff. They throw out a jelly jar with enough jelly left to make a sandwich. One Sunday at my mother-in-law's house, she asked me to get her another roll of aluminum foil. She handed me the empty one. Only it wasn't empty. It had a foot or more left in it. You guessed it, I took it home with me.

It must not be the Great Depression after all. I guess it's just in my genes. And I've passed it on at least to one of my children. Beth told me today that she took a shower at my house and pumped what she thought was shampoo into her hand only to find out it was conditioner. She scooped it into a cup to use later and found the shampoo. Proof that she's related to me.

My house gets cluttered because I save everything. I admire people who live in a minimalist fashion and sometimes try to move towards that lifestyle but end up only rearranging.

Is there any hope for a person who saves?

1 comment:

Mari said...

the beth anecdote cracked me up!