In early February I realised I kept coming across articles dealing with facets of the same theme : living frugally. For example, in a most unlikely local publication, the YOU Magazine, there was a feature article on Living Frugally. Somewhat ironic considering the desperate poverty afflicting many of South Africa’s citizens, but not everyone in SA is living on the brink. We have a nice thick layer of fat cats, purring contentedly, insulated by corruption; but that’s another story.
The article featured an American woman, who is famous in the US for promoting thrifty living. I didn’t note her name, but she’s married, lives in Utah, and has four kids. Seems she‘s often on American TV explaining the principles. I read her suggestions and didn’t find any hints that were new to me – I’ve been living frugally for years and could teach her a thing or two! But that’s by the by. The point is: thrift is headline news.
De-cluttering is another current buzzword. I’ve seen blog posts and print articles, as well as TV programmes urging us to either Keep it if its precious, Donate if its excess, or Turf it out if it’s well and truly finished.
I had an interesting conversation with a German friend on this topic, and she said that as a ‘War Baby’ i.e. born in the early to mid 1940’s, she tended to hoard possessions, because “I might need it one day”. She attributes this mind-set to early childhood when everything had to be kept, ‘just in case’, because of war-time rationing and shortages.
I can relate to this, as I was also a War Baby. We were living in Central/East Africa, and suddenly there were no imported goods, due to war-time disruption of shipping. Our mothers had to haul out their sewing machines and knitting needles and get busy, making clothing for the entire family. Our Clarke’s sandals had the toes carefully cut out, so that our growing toes could spill over the edge of the sole. Going barefoot wasn’t an option, due to the dreaded jiggers in the sand.
Another minor trend, has been blog posts on Minimalism for Writers. When I consider some popular blockbusters like the Game of Thrones series, or the Ken Follett novels, or gigantic novels like the Goldfinch, this might not be such a bad idea!
A book-related de-cluttering tip is this one: every time you acquire a new book you must donate or sell a book from your shelves. Hmm. I’m not quite so sure about this one. I love my books, and enjoy their presence in my home. I loan them out and share them, but they need to come home to Mama at some point. I’m prepared to re-cycle, live on lentils, wear hand-me-down clothes, but this book-turfing idea fills me with horror! Not for me.