I remember when I was moving into the little blue house over four years ago, and I ordered this massive white (you know I hate stainless steel!) side-by-side refrigerator.
I recall the men trying to get it through those 1934 doors. And one said: “I don’t know why you people who live in these old houses have to buy these big refrigerators that we have to take the doors off of to get inside.”
At the time, I thought he was rude. But now, over four years later, what he said makes perfect sense.
Why was I bringing a hulking huge refrigerator into a small house for one person?
Want. Versus need.
In this apartment, I live with a smallish refrigerator that doesn’t have an automatic ice maker or water in the door like the one I bought. It has the freezer on top like the old days. And I find it is all that I need.
What was I thinking?
I’ve learned a lot about want versus need. Lessons that now make perfect sense.
I don’t need a couch and two recliners, like I had when I moved into the little blue house. Now I have a couch with a chaise on one end to elevate my ankle. And two indoor/outdoor wicker chairs across from it.
How many places does one person need to sit comfortably? Uh, that would be one. Unless you can figure out how to sit in two places at one time.
I’ve learned that I can use dressers as tables to store things in. Tables that are surface only do not serve dual purposes.
I no longer have the pretty French doors I had in Texas, not to mention the beautiful pavilion and waterfall. Now I have the old patio sliding doors that occasionally drive me crazy, but are perfectly usable.
I hope to figure out a way to have some sort of water feature in back, but have been stumped with the lack of outdoor electricity. It would have to be solar. And that would make more sense anyway. Because it would use the rays of the sun instead of energy consumption.
All that was wonderful and I loved it. But I don’t need it.
When I left Texas, I was amazed at all that I had amassed. All those idle trips to Marshalls because I was bored. And I just had to have a few more dishes. They were so pretty!
Yet, I ended up selling so much stuff when I moved. And I didn’t need most of it. I had just wanted it.
I have learned that you can live without a stove and be perfectly happy with a convection oven. I can’t boil spaghetti. But how often did I boil spaghetti anyway?
I have learned that with the European style washer/dryer, you will probably never get towels dry no matter how long you run it. So it is just better to take them out and hang them over chairs.
It is best to hang clothing instead of drying because it extends the life of your clothes anyway.
There are so many out there that struggle just to have a roof over their head and food in their mouths and the mouths of their children.
I am quite rich compared to them.
I look at things differently now. Even if I had the money and the room, I still would not be looking at the huge side-by-side refrigerators with the built-in ice maker and water in the door. That concept seems a bit ridiculous now.
I would not buy dishes in Marshalls because I was bored and needed a distraction from a marriage on its last legs.
If I get to sit under a pavilion, it would probably be at a park. Same with the big waterfall, though I’d take that in a minute if it was offered to me, just for the wonderful sound alone.
I have learned the lesson of “making do.”
If you want all the frills, go for it. But having it did not make me happy. It might have made things a tad easier, but the more complicated something is, the more things that can (and will) go wrong with it.
I am content with my two plastic ice trays. My simple refrigerator.
Gone are the days when I have warm fluffy towels to fold and put away. But are instead a little bit stiff. (I just may have to figure out a clothes line on the patio if they will allow it.) But it’s not the end of the world.
I am in a better place both emotionally and mentally.
Try not to confuse want with need. It is okay, perfectly okay, to get something just because you want it.
But it’s also very fulfilling to make do. To use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without. A depression-era based mindset.
I think as we try to simplify our lives, that will become a mantra. Things will lose their sparkle. And we will grow weary of buying more.