Thursday, April 7, 2011

Lust for Free Stuff—I Wanted It, But I Don’t Have It

By Christine Clark

Last weekend I visited my sister, who is consolidating the contents of two homes. Read about my lust for free stuff here:
I’m trying to conquer my lust for stuff, so before I left home, I made a list of criteria to consider before taking anything:

1.   Do I want to walk my talk and conquer the lust for stuff?
2.   What will I do with the stuff?
3.   Do I need the stuff?
4.   Where will I put the stuff?
5.   Do I love the stuff?
6.   How have I managed to live 58 years without the stuff?

Later in the evening after I arrived at Kathy’s, my sister Lindy and I circled the table, sniffing like wary canines. Earlier, I had scanned the table and decided, “I’ll take this, this, and this,” conveniently forgetting my criteria. I had my eye on a few items and was ready to present my case why I, not Lindy, should get that stuff.
How did I do? Helping someone move always brings out the stuff. The idea of moving my own stuff is daunting, so I am more averse to accumulating stuff. I think I did okay.
What I Brought Home
Coca-Cola pitcher: My former husband loves and collects Coca-Cola everything: bottles, cans, clothing, anything with the Coca-Cola logo. My son Paul wanted the pitcher for his dad.

Large basket: I like this sturdy basket and the handle. It will replace a larger, less-attractive basket filled with games and magazines I must purge.

Spode Copeland Series Blue Willow dessert plate: I love the cobalt blue, but, honestly, the word Spode on the plate’s bottom and the gold rim caught my eye. It is valuable. I found it online priced at $50.

Stainless steel measuring spoons: Spices, yeast, and baking powder and soda cling to my plastic measuring spoons. My stainless steel spoons have disappeared over the years. I will use these daily. Now I must purge the plastic measuring spoons I dislike.

Salad dressing cruet (a fancy word for jar): Although fatty and caloric, I love Ranch dressing, but $4 for a bottle, the sodium content, and the chemical ingredients concern me. I recently began making my own. It is delicious and I can pronounce all the ingredients. This bottle’s tight-fitting lid makes for mess-free mixing. Now, I must recycle the empty glass jars I’ve been using.
Towels: Taking a few towels is purely practical. I don’t have many, and will need more when a houseful of guests arrives in June to celebrate my son’s high school graduation.
What I Almost Took But Put Back
Pink shawl: My sisters said it looked beautiful on me. I love pink, but… I don’t wear heavy shawls, especially since my return to Florida. Back to the pile it went.
White cotton jacket: Even Paul said this looked great, but… I have a white hoodie and a white linen jacket. Two is (one more than) enough. Back to the pile.
Blue and white ceramic canisters: Cobalt blue and white is my favorite color combination, but… the canisters are not practical. I have too much blue and white. Back to the pile.
Large stainless steel soup pot: A large pot like this is perfect for making soup for 20 people, but… I’ve never made soup for 20 people. Back to the pile.
White-spotted blue enamel pot: The perfect pot for making popcorn, but… I already have a pot for making popcorn. Back to the pile.
Small Pyrex bowl with fitted lid: Perfect for storage in the fridge or freezer, microwavable, oven-safe. I’m using fewer plastic containers and wrap, so I have several Pyrex containers. Back to the pile.
Pie plates: I often bake pies and quiche. I have more than 10 quiche dishes, pie plates, tart pans. I’ve never run out, even during baking-intensive holidays. Back to the pile.
Dishes with cobalt blue design: It’s obvious cobalt blue is my favorite color because I have so much of it. Dishes of all colors fill my cabinets, a shelf in the kitchen, a cabinet in the garage. I don’t need more dishes. Back to the pile.
I turned down clothing, sheets, travel games… the table overflowed with items. At one time, I might have taken everything—or at least what Lindy didn’t want. My desire to avoid more stuff—even, especially, free stuff—kept me in check.
I survey what I brought home, opposed to what I could have brought home, and I feel light, almost airy, because I am breaking the chains of stuff—wanting it, acquiring it, possessing it—link by link.

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