Monday, May 11, 2015

Excess and Waste

I have been asked numerous times over the past year, "Why do you ask for things on Facebook?" In all honestly, it's a fair question. The answer I give is a simple one, "Why not?"

Saying that seems like such a simple answer, but I still find my self wondering how it looks to people. Will they wonder why I'm asking in such a public manner? How will it be viewed? Will it seem like begging? It is something that I might possibly have a hope of getting? Blah, blah, blah... There are so many potential self-doubting questions that if I allowed myself to ask them all I would never ask my questions on Facebook.

However, when you think about it, "Why not?" is a perfectly valid response. Especially here in America.

Take a look at your neighbors. Look at their "stuff".  Is it old? Worn out? Perhaps looking a bit shabby?  Okay, probably some of your neighbors might have a few things that way, if they are anything like people I have lived around and known for the umpteen years of my life the bulk of the things they own are newer. The funny thing is, they may not even notice it themselves.  There is a lifestyle of consumerism in America that pervades nearly everyone we know. It's not purposeful, but we have been raised in it. We are cajoled into it through media, We are taught that it's what we are supposed to do from the day we are able to understand any form of advertising. Buy more! Get more! Upgrade! Everything is disposable.

Honestly, I don't mind if my neighbors/friends/coworkers have the newer/faster/brighter thing. If I have what I need to make my life happy, I"m good, and good for them. They may need a few more things than I do. That's okay. But back to my question, "Why do you ask for things on Facebook?" Well, if people are upgrading and replacing the things they have, what is happening to all of the old stuff? If these neighbors/friends/coworkers of mine are anything like me they probably have half of it just sitting around in case they may need it. And then it's eventually forgotten about. And then replacement number three comes along and it starts again.


I come from a small town.  I am the odd blend of my college-employed family and my farm-working friends I grew up with. A tree-hugging hick. I like to recycle. I enjoy taking care of the earth we walk upon. Have an old pallet? I'll turn it into a bench or a dresser. You get the idea.  I gave up the notion that I would have all new things years ago when I realized I could be perfectly happy with things that are one or two iterations behind cutting-edge.

So, here we are as a nation with more stuff just tossed in our closets sitting around collecting dust than many other countries have access to. I'm pretty sure if I were to ransack a few of my friends' houses I would be able to come up with more spare computing power than I would truly know what to do with. Look in some other peoples' houses and I might find enough cookware to start three separate restaurants. In still other homes I may be able to stock a small used clothing store (some of it with clothing that has never left the original hanger).

So that's just it. I ask, because odds are somebody has something I may be able to use. I ask because they probably barely remember having it and so haven't even bothered to get rid of it. I ask because it is a simple form of recycling.


No shame there. I had them as a kid. My kids have them now. And why not? When it comes down to it the idea is perfect.  If you aren't using something, you aren't going to use it again, you aren't even going to bother getting rid of it.... why not give it to someone who wants it? To someone who needs it?

And in my world, it goes both ways. I am a user of hand-me-downs and I am a giver of them as well.  I have things that I have stopped using. Either I have grown out of them (literally and figuratively) or they are simply no longer of use to me. Much of it I donate to charity (ARC, Value Village, Goodwill.....) but some of it just kind of gets tucked aside because I "might" use it someday. Those things are my hand-me-downs that will go out when I hear someone else ask on Facebook (or in real life too), "Hey, does anyone have _____ that they aren't using?"

Yes. Yes I do. Here you go. 

I don't ask for financial gain. I don't give for financial gain. I just ask and give. Pass things along. Will I sell things that I have made? Absolutely. But if someone asks me if I have a used item that I don't need anymore then chances are it will become their used item. I would rather it were used instead of sitting gathering dust.

Hopefully that answers people's questions. Buy what you want to buy. Use what you need. Share what you can. Recycle things that you no longer want. Don't worry about having the newest, flashiest thing. Instead focus on what makes your life truly good. Use the the things you have and then share the things you no longer use.

We can't all live simply, but at times is nice to just simply live.

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