Jun 27, 2011

Life's too short to have matching dishes

Quick note: I was working on posts yesterday and I think I accidentally re-published a couple, so sorry if you're getting notifications through your google reader!

I feel like I've been keeping a secret from you all. I've talked about living for the moment, and how the recent purge we did in our apartment made a world of difference, but more and more often I've been thinking of living simply, so much that it's not an idea as it's becoming a way of life. It's time I talk about it here - not because I'm doing anything largely significant, but my way of thinking has changed so radically I  feel like a totally different person than I was even two months ago.

I'm not sure how I got to this point. Maybe it was when our world was upended again at the beginning of the year and we were forced to see (again), what really matters. Maybe it started with a little project last year. Or maybe it was reading blog posts like this, and realizing I agreed with so much of what they were saying.

I've always been willing to donate items to charity, but when I purged through my clothes, it almost disgusted me how much I wasn't using. I'm not a big shopper to begin with (in fact, I'm constantly telling the mister I need more dress clothes because I really only wear different things for two weeks and then start the cycle again), but there was so much I was hanging onto "just in case." While there's something to be said for keeping a cute dress for motivation, it seemed like that was the majority of my wardrobe and I didn't want to live my life in the future - I want to be present in the now.

My perspective has changed with pretty much all material things - because that's all they are - just piles of stuff. I can't take it with me when I die, so if I'm not using it, why is it here taking up space? That may seem extreme but this is my outlook now - which makes giving away clothes, books, dishes, etc, really easy. I'd rather it go to good use with someone else than sit here and be eventually thrown out.

I'd rather go to the library then buy a book. I'd rather go to a used bookstore and trade books than spend money on news ones. I'd rather take pictures of something than buy a souvenir. I want to live with intention and purpose, even if I don't know what that is a hundred percent of the time. I'm seeing more and more what I don't need - because what I do need is surprisingly little.

The mister's always been a little bit more this way than I have - and I finally feel like I've caught up with him and that we're on the same page about so many things now. It's even impacting how we're looking at our moving process. Instead of stressing ourselves out trying to apply to several places (and paying the subequent application fees and deposits), we are putting our energy into one place, and hoping it works out. It might seem naieve or silly, but not only is this place a little bigger than what we're in now, it's less per month, and it's going to force us to live more simply. If we get it, we'll be giving up having a washer and dryer in our apartment (although there is one in the building), and I don't think we'll have a dishwasher either.

A few months ago I would have been upset that we were forced into that option (because the price is definitely more affordable than what we're paying now), but now I'm excited that's what we're choosing to do. It means we both have to be more proactive about not letting laundry and dishes pile up, which means a cleaner, happier place to live in. If something doesn't become available at that complex, I'm not sure what we'll do - but again, instead of stressing out about it, we're taking it one step at a time until we know for sure.

One of the things we're doing right now is replacing our plates and bowls with fiesta ware. The dishes we have now are still usable but aren't working for us for a lot of reasons, so we're going to pack them up and gift them to someone who is in more need of them than us. A dear friend found a way for us to get fiesta ware for a really good price, so we're slowly building what we have. When the mister and I first started talking about it I was focused on having some matching plates and bowls - we had to have at least a few matching things! Then one night it kind of hit me how much more fun it would be to open our cabinet doors and see an explosion of color.

As silly as this sounds, it was almost an epiphany for me. I literally thought life's too short to have matching dishes. It would be fun and functional, and who cares if we have four of the same color salad plates? I wasn't worried about what people would think when they came over for dinner, because seeing the different colors made me smile every time.

Yes we're on a budget, and money is tight, but right now I don't see a time when money won't be tight - so instead of letting it control me, I'm letting go and believing things will work out how they're supposed to. Even if we had hundreds of dollars to spend on silly things, I don't think we'd want to - and that is incredibly freeing. 

Life's not about dishes, or books, or if you know the right wine to pair with dinner - it's about finding things that make you smile or laugh, or that you're really passionate about. For me, it's about living with intention - to be happy, to do what I can to make others around me happy, and let the rest work itself out.

(Photo: You Go Girl!)


Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Great post, Becky! I definitely have simplified lately as I've been packing. I haven't been nearly as disciplined as you, but I have still gotten rid of a lot of stuff that i really do not need. Or use.

I love the multi-colored fiesta ware! What a fun/colorful table you will have when you host a dinner party! One of my cousins actually registered for multiple colors of fiesta ware when she got married and everyone thought that was so cool!

OurLittleAshley said...


You know this is right up my alley and I am literally GIDDY that you 'get it.' It's like something just clicks and you're like, 'Wait. WHAT? I don't want all this stuff!'

We have a few chipped plates - but I keep them around as well. ;) I could get rid of them and buy new ones, but I'd rather use them until they're unusable!

An unsolicited tip for living without a dishwasher: keep out just a few place settings (we have four). Then you'll be motivated to clean up the dishes instead of letting them pile up! We just keep the others in our pantry (or in a box) and pull them out when we have company. :)

Also, we share a washer and dryer with our floor - and it's not bad at ALL. And we have a baby! And cloth diaper! So you will totally rock at it. :)

Amber said...

I love this post Becky! So true!! Life is too short to worry about ANYTHING that doesn't make us happy. I would say I am pretty good at purging clothes but I could probably be better at purging other things. Our house is pretty minimally furnished and decorated and I plan to keep it that way, I am a very neat person and I HATE having stuff lying all over the place!!

Also? I LOVE the idea of coloured dishes and think that is such a cool idea. When I replace my dishes that are starting to get all chipped up I think I am totally going to do something fun like that :)

Nora said...

We recently gifted, to Knight's work, the plates we weren't using, decluttered the dish area and we are super happy with what we have. Two sets of four, they don't totally match but who cares? Since I moved I'm all about not having too much stuff, decluttering, improving and etc. It's kind of nice. I need to embrace it more fully though...

Caroline said...

Great post! And timely for me too because I'm moving next week so I've been going through all my stuff and getting rid of everything I don't absolutely need. I want to take with me in the move ONLY what I really want/need.
I've always been really organized and good about keeping only the things I use. I find life is so much more stressful that way!

Also, I discovered a couple of years ago that pictures really are the best souvenirs! Now I hardly ever buy them : )

Suburban Sweetheart said...

I'm working on minimalism. I want to be there. I want to wear less, own less, buy less. KEEP BLOGGING ABOUT THIS STUFF. It inspires me. :) Also? LOVE the title!

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

I love that you are purging! Doesn't it feel great!? Also, the multi colored plates are prefect -- if you lose one, you still have a set, no matter what!

the southern hostess said...

I just love this post!

Lucy The Valiant said...

I love this!

Mandy said...

I love this post and love you.

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