Last Sunday I learned about a vicious disease called Affluenza. A horrible illness that has struck most Americans and leaves them debilitated.
It starts with an burning sensation, usually around the pocket area where you keep your wallet, then it creeps into your world, causing distress and emptiness. This illness causes perfectly normal people to feel perfectly unhappy and dissatisfied with their life. The symptoms include the drive to accumulate "stuff", the burning need to "keep up with the Joneses" and the all consuming fixation with having more than. Do you have Affluenza?
We were challenged to imagine that we were told we had to leave in 10 minutes because of some great disaster. We could only grab three things and whatever it was it had to be something we could carry. I racked my brain to think of what three things I'd bring and all I could think about was if a pack of diapers and a pack of wipes would be considered one item each or if each diaper counted as one.
Then I started trying to figure out what I'd do with a child who poops WAY TOO MUCH (I have one that poops too little, and one that poops all the freaking time), would I get the baby underpants and just wash those? I guess he'd get potty trained much quicker. After a few minutes I stopped thinking about poopy children and started listening to the sermon again. And this is what I took from it.
Mostly, we could look around our homes and realize that we could live without pretty much all of it. Most of it is just "stuff". He read a passage from this book that I can't remember the name of but if you really really want to know email me and I'll find out for you. It was called something like Following Jesus in a Consumer Driven Society and it pretty much said this.
If you wake up and feel joy from sitting in your backyard in the sunlight listening to the birds sing, enjoy sitting with friends and talking, have a healthy happy sex and marital life, get pleasure from watching your children playing...well, then, in our society you are considered useless because you haven't spent a dime yet.
On the other hand, if you are unhappy, empty in your friendships and your marital life, if you are stressed by your family and children are feel empty inside. Well, likely, you'll go looking for something at Target or Nordstrom to fill that void. And you'll be more valued in our world.
Every ad out there on TV and in Magazines will be directed at you and will tell you that you are not complete without pictured item. Essentially, it says "take Prada bag and insert in mass void that is your life" And we buy in to it.
So I've been thinking about this. The constant drive to get more "stuff" and how bad our mass consumption and wastefulness can be as a culture. And then I started thinking about the Frump posts as well and how much of what we post about frump involves shopping for the right stuff.
And I was wondering how someone can work on following all the non-frump rules while reducing consumption and not accumulating more "stuff". Besides, many people might not feel like they can go out and buy a brand new wardrobe or perhaps they are trying to cut down on their consumption.
Or maybe this post will make you think about cutting down on yours. Because what I'm hoping to show you is that you can get some perfectly unfrumpy "stuff" second hand and why second hand is a really good option.
Sarah mentioned last week in HB's comments that she is losing weight and doesn't want to go buy a new wardrobe when she isn't at her goal size. Yet, she does want to look good as she is now, dressed in Non-character t-shirts and not wearing skinny jeans of course (I do read the frump posts, thank you-even if I wear the occasional t-shirt that is on the What Not to Wear list).
Anyway, my suggestion is to check out your local thrift store or consignment shop. And if you go the way of thrift you will also be helping out a worthy cause. Even better, when you go, take your bag of old frumpy clothes with you and leave them there. That way you're keeping your accumulation of stuff at a minimum and helping out a good cause at the same time! Everybody wins!
Now let me tell you about my thrift experience on Sunday morning. I've been in need of a pair of dark brown pants for awhile now. What did I see at my local Goodwill but a pair of nice brown dress pants in MY size (well, a little big, I guess the running is working) and get this-ALREADY HEMMED! JimmyEW said "You can't find that at the mall!" and that is for sure. The best part? They were pink tags so they were 50% off and ended up costing me less than $2.
I also got a pair of flawless Old Navy jeans in my size and length! Those were $6. And I almost got these boots-if they'd only been 1/2 size bigger I would have gotten them. They'd look awesome with my brown argyle tights and my brown cord skirt.
While I was there I saw these brand new shoes for only $3 and change. Many non-profit thrift stores have deals with local retailers to take the items that don't sell. So
But also the great thing about shopping this way is that you are helping keep stuff out of the landfills by purchasing them and loving them as your own. AND you're also not directly supporting companies that use child labor or sweat shops. Sure the top you bought at the thrift store may have been made by a 10-year-old somewhere, but your money isn't going to that company in any way shape or form so you can wear your goods with a clean conscious. This can also work for those people who love their leather but don't like the thought of some poor cow giving up it's skin.
For other ideas about living simply check out The Simple Family and Nester and I'm sure there are a ton of other ones out there. If you know of a good site let me know!
AND for some great tips for daily living go see ROCKS IN MY DRYER.
What's that? You want to comment? Just click on the itty-bitty words below that say "Gimme Some Sugar". Can you see them? Good. We can't wait to chat with you.