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I don’t know why but almost everyone I know is in the throes of the most traumatic and drastic form of house cleaning - getting rid of things. It isn’t even spring. I’m beginning to think they’ve become traumatized by television reports of people having to evacuate their homes due to one disaster or another.
I know I’ve had the thought as I watched the poor souls gathering up the few possessions they are allowed to take; what if it were I? What would I grab besides a blanket, a pillow, and my purse? Out of all the stuff I have, what would be of real importance if I were on the run?
This caused a good look around at all the material things I’ve acquired over time. What a lot of perfectly unimportant things I have, and how much space they are taking up.
Did you ever stop to think what you could live without if living came down to a matter of survival? I guess the people in New Orleans and Beirut learned the true importance of food and water, as anyone would if deprived of either or both.
Okay, let’s get beyond the point of bedrock survival and just face the facts of our daily lives as we are living them right now, starting with me. I have to think about the reality of everything I have that is superfluous. Things that I don’t really need or seldom use.
Let’s start with clothes. Do I really need four large closets and two large chests of drawers? If I look squarely at the fact that I wear one coat all winter, one coat all spring and none in the summer, I hardly can justify the number of coats taking up space.
I have drawers crammed with pants and tops and yet seem to always wear one combination or the other. When I’m home I live in Hawaiian Muumuus as I have for years. These fold up easily in one drawer. If I were to give away everything I haven’t worn in the past two years, (which I certainly should), I would create a lot of empty space.
I had a friend with a husband with a hard and fast rule. Once a year they would both go through their clothes and would give away anything they hadn’t worn in the past year. Needless to say they had a very uncluttered home as he took the same edict into the kitchen. He did exempt any heirlooms of which they were fond.
I’ve had to take a good hard look at my use of electricity lately, thanks to the fact my bill jumped one hundred and twenty dollars this month. Reading the kilowatt usage over the past year indicated there had to be an electrical problem somewhere.
Solving the problem involved my checking out everything electrical I used. Having been a careful saver of energy over the years in an effort to help save the planet I received a clean bill of health in that department. It was soon apparent that the fault lay elsewhere, So far, the refrigerator and electric water heater have been fingered as trouble makers.
Going over the situation with the electric detectives, they and I were amazed at how few modern energy burning items I own and use. For example I’m the only one in my area who does not use air conditioning. I have three small fans which my son placed so strategically I survived the recent heat wave. I also have the best low wattage gizmo in the world - a ceiling fan, which I love because it makes me feel I’m hanging out in Rick’s bar in Casablanca.
The kitchen is great. Because I live alone I use only a small wattage microwave for cooking, a toaster, a low wattage electric teakettle, (my best buy in recent years) and the frig. So why does my monthly electric bill read like a bill for an 18 room mansion housing ten people?
While surveying the kitchen I was amazed at how much stuff I have in there which, like my clothes is never used. I can’t reach above the front of the second shelf in any cupboard, so I’m not even sure what I do have. I can see what looks like many glasses and such. I’m sure if I asked someone to help me take inventory we would be staggered.
I think it’s time I joined the crowd and started a general heave-ho around here.
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