Thirty-One Days: Reuse, Remake, Re-love

31Days2013

This is the first in a series of posts written in participation with 31 Days. The links at the bottom will take you to other posts on the topic.

Two weeks before my husband and I closed on the purchase of our 1871 home in Upstate New York, we were riding bikes in our Brooklyn neighborhood and we passed by a dumpster in front of a brownstone being emptied of its contents. My Treasure Find Antenna went up and I asked TBM (my husband) to stop: there were things in that dumpster we had to have, material possessions that would make possible setting up house in 2200 square feet, when we were currently inhabiting an apartment of a mere 650. TBM was not amused, but he stopped. Within minutes we were so laden with side tables, lamps, and picture frames that we had to walk our bikes home balancing items on the seats and handlebars. As fortune would have, a car stopped and a man rolled down the window, though he didn’t ask if he could help lug our load; instead he said, “Do you need furniture? I’m cleaning out my mother’s basement and have a lot of things you might be able to use.” TBM was humiliated, I was elated, and set up a time to meet and see what he had to offer. An absolute JACKPOT. Now, there are items in our home I think of fondly as “Paul’s” reminding me of the kindness and generosity of a stranger at a time I was very much in material need.

But what exactly does it mean, “to be in material need?” If pressed I would imagine most of us can conclude our needs are well met; it’s our wants that come a-wanting. How do we keep wants at bay? What, and how much, do we need to live fully and well? To be satisfied and happy? And how much of what we already have might be reused, remade, or “re-loved” so that the toxic power of consumerism cannot claim us?

At the heart of Reuse, Remake, Re-Love, my theme for Thirty-One Days, is knowing that less can be more and that it’s possible to be satisfied with blessings in hand while on the lookout for the next serendipitous discovery, material or otherwise. Meaning can be found in really special things, which we know aren’t things at all. I want to celebrate reusing and remaking, and share “love stories:” why do certain things/not things captivate our hearts? Finally, I hope to trade ideas about living a little greener, so that this wonderful world we are privileged to call home might continue to be a lovely place for all.

Day 1 A Custom of Cloth Napins

Day 2 Bulgur in the Morning, Bulgur in the Evening, Bulgur at Suppertime!

Day 3 The Large Breed

Day 4 Broken In

Day 5 Remake in the Garden

Day 6 Restoration Story

Day 7 Re-Loving After Being Wrong(ed)

Day 8 Re-Loving Romeo

Day 9 A Bone to Pick

Day 10 Thoughts on Non-Consumerism

Day 11 Alternative Living, Part One

Day 12 Washing Up, Portuguese Style

Day 13 Enchanting Autumn Gardens

Day 15 Cobble, Cobble

Day 16 Re-Loving Sleep

Day 17 Re-Make a Bed for the Large Breed

Day 21 In Bloom

Day 22 Flower Power

Day 26 Alternative Living, Part Two: No Impact

Day 27 Windows to (a House’s) Soul

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2 thoughts on “Thirty-One Days: Reuse, Remake, Re-love

  1. That’s the kind of fortune I’d love to have, stumble across a treasure laden skip to then be offered a basement full of ‘stuff’. I am a pessimist and for that reason I do not think people like us outweigh the consumerists that live in the now, living a lifestyle perceived as envious by on-lookers. Then again, if those people weren’t so plenty, we wouldn’t have the many opportunities for making other people’s trash our treasures, contributing to who we are.

    • Treasures,
      I like your statement: “the consumerists that live in the now, living a lifestyle perceived as envious by onlookers.” Perception is everything, right? I actually find it burdensome and worrying to have too much stuff, not to say I don’t have plenty of stuff; I just didn’t obtain it in the “usual” way. The stuff of others produces anxiety in me! I just spent a weekend visiting family, two different households, who have so much stuff I wanted to cry. Then again, if all of that stuff ended up on the street, free for the picking/taking, I’d want to at least have a chance at it!

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