Before I told my husband that I was done with the house (my over-exaggerated response to this realization) I tried to put my negative feeling into perspective. I wondered whether or not emotions make a difference; meaning, if you love your things and your things give something good back to you then maybe working on them is worthwhile? And possibly, when taking care of things feels too much like work is that when there's a problem? By problem I mean that one has way too many unnecessary things?
On the boat, before we made a purchase, we asked ourselves two questions: (1) what will we regularly use it for, and (2) where will it be kept? We've kept this mantra in the house and successfully we've limited the stuff that we've purchased and used for decorating. Our house is simple, and creates echoes when I talk on the phone, but it contains things that are important and useful. When I discussed, with my liveaboard friend Kelly, the possibility of a Pier 1 Papasan chair, we decided that although comfortable, it probably wasn't the most necessary purchase. It just didn't fit with a required answer for both (1) and (2) above.
|Papasan Chair - one of Pier 1's great items that I just can't justify.|
My friend, Kelly, lives with her boyfriend aboard their boat and the boat takes up a lot of their time for maintenance. Yet, both of these friends love living aboard, enjoy the lifestyle, and the boat is what gives these pleasures. Taking care of her, a beautiful 35 foot sailboat, is worth their time because of the enjoyment she provides to both of them. Yesterday, the boat left the slip and my friends spent their breezy sunny spring afternoon on the water - fishing, relaxing, and enjoying. The boat, a thing, is worth their time and work. It really gives a lot back to them and creates a richer life.
Now I also think that it's important that we also take the time to recognize what it is that the things (which we have specifically chosen to include in our life) give to use. For my friends, the boat gives calm and adventure, and something as simple as my laundry gives me a feeling comfort each day. Maybe we move too fast somethings to really think about the value of what we have - often, we're always rushing to find more.
As I did my laundry yesterday, I kind of had a moment where I was okay with the work. I've decided to forgo usual use of the dryer and instead dry my clothes using the breeze that enters my upstairs windows. It may sound funny, but realizing that I was utilizing a natural means of energy to complete a household task brought a bit of satisfaction. Even this morning, as I did two more loads of laundry, when I opened the windows, set up my drying assistants and hung my laundry among each, I enjoyed it. Truthfully, I do not think that I enjoy doing laundry, but the process has now gained more meaning than before. I'm using something provided to me by Mother Nature, a gift if you will, and it feels good. And the smell that fills the upstairs is priceless. The smell of fresh, hanging laundry brings back memories of my backyard in spring when I was a little girl.
What I've come to understand, is that there are things I do need to do with a house; but how I do them and with what I use can turn the chore into something more meaningful. I'm taking care of my home, which provides me and my family with shelter each day and night and also a place for us all to gather, spend time, and enjoy one another. My home is worth taking care of, and when I take care of her in a way that mutually respects my larger home, our planet, there's a good feeling that comes with that.
I've been reading Sophie Uliano' book, Do It Gorgeously, and enjoyed her website yesterday - www.gorgeouslygreen.com, which all serve to help ladies live lavishly while respecting the world and its resources. There are so many good things that we have here on Earth, and they are readily available. I've started to feel good about conserving my resources, keeping life simple, and utilizing natural energies and materials. On Sophie's site, she gives these think-abouts to help us keep it simple and green:
I invite you to simply become a little more aware of the way you live your life. As you walk through your day, think about the following:
- Are you and your family making a concerted effort to conserve water?
- Are you and your family trying to cut down your energy usage this season and how?
- Have you thought about the air quality in your home and how you can minimize your exposure to pollutants?
- Have you included at least a few organic items in your weekly shop?
- Are you growing anything edible in your garden this year?
- Do you air-dry your laundry?
- Have you ever visited a hazardous waste facility?
- How many bags of trash do you throw out a week?