Saturday, May 28, 2011

Discerning Need Urgency

Sometimes, when we recognize a need, it is incredibly difficult discerning the urgency level that need really has. I feel like North American culture whispers in our ear constantly that we have to fulfill all our needs now, RIGHT now, and we as people are unfulfilled until we have everything we can possibly need. That mindset seems so silly when stated matter of fact like that, but I see in my life how often I have and still struggle with wanting it all, and wanting it all now.

What I've really noticed I struggle with, is patience in letting a need rest for a little while. Sometimes, yes, things need to be replaced asap, but there's a lot of stuff in life that we can first try living without, before we run out and get the newest upgraded model.

The thing that's been on my mind that has been driving all this stuff home is work clothes. I recently applied for a job, was interviewed, (still no word back) but as I was preparing for this interview I was forced to pick an interview outfit. For most of the women I know, this would not be a painless process, and there is some amount of thought that goes into how we want to present ourselves. In picking this outfit I realized that a vast majority of my work clothes are not just pre-baby, but they are pre-husband. That is putting them in my early university days, and some even my late high school days. I found multiple articles that are a decade old. And while there are days that I can delude myself, I have to admit that I am just not the same shape I was after housing another human being.

In light of my aging wardrobe and (hopefully) fast approaching new job, I had work wear on the brain. It kind of worried me, knowing the price work clothes can be, but I am so happy I sat on it. I saw a sign on my drive home from grocery shopping for a Salvation Army kids clothes sale, for a dollar a piece. That price is much cheaper than most of the used places up here, let alone new, so I decided to turn around and check it out. The sale when I got inside was fill a bag for $5, with clothing not just for kids, but adults as well. Everything in the above picture I had in one bag. Most of the clothes are new with tags, and most of them are perfect for summer work clothes.

I'm not saying that ever ytime I need something, the need will magically be filled at a bargain bottom rate if only I wait a few days. But I'm starting to see the real battle in not letting a need take hold and POSSESS me. And a big part of that is truly confronting the North American lie that to consume is to be fulfilled. Sometimes, I would argue most of the time, we really do have everything we need to get by already in our possession. And most helpful is reminding myself over and over that the most important stuff in this life isn't stuff.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Garage Sale Season

It's one of my favourite summer activities: hitting garage sales. (or car-boot sales for my British family members) I have vivid memories from when I was a kid of taking home a $40 kitchen table with chairs that served our family for over a decade. I remember getting things from stuffed animals, to additions to my heart collection, to books, SO MANY books! At a quarter a piece or less my tight-budget family was able to feed my addiction as a kid to books and learning.

As a grown up I'm glad that they only happen one day of the week, because I think that they could become an addiction if I'm not careful. There's an added spark to the addiction fire in that you KNOW you are getting things at a bargain price, and an added excitement stumbling on the one gem in the midst of junk.

The most important piece of yard-sale advice I can give is go with a list. It may not have to be written down, it may not be all that specific, but if you give yourself permission to take home every good deal you find, you'll come home with way more than you need. Week to week I have an idea of the things I am allowed to come home with. If it's not in my head, I don't get to bring it home. I know there are a few kitchen pieces I need (who keeps taking all my platters?!) and a few items of clothing Sam needs (who keeps taking my kid's socks?!) and taking the time before we leave to brainstorm on the few items will keep me focused in my hunt. I know a family that prays with their kids for their family's specific needs before they go.

My favourite find so far this season (a garage sale post is not complete without a brag) is the big ticket toys we have picked up for Sam. I had been looking at play structures for outdoors and indoors, but they are so expensive to buy brand new. We bought an outdoor slide, and an indoor kitchen, and at $30 a piece, they took up a lot of my garage sale budget for a few weeks. This was made up for by the fact we got Sam a water table, and ride on car totally free at the side of the road. He now has an excellent collection of backyard toys, and when it's raining, he can enjoy cooking and creating on our new-to-us play kitchen.