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 3 The Large Breed
Day 4 Broken In
Day 5 Remake in the Garden
Day 6 Restoration Story
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 21 In Bloom
Day 22 Flower Power
Day 27 Windows to (a House’s) Soul