Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Waste Not, Want Not

It's official. I've turned into my mother. It's happened gradually; over a lifetime, actually. When I was young, I was the freespirited artsy person. My mom was always very "accounting," both literally and figuratively. She worked in accounts payable for a large corporation for much of her professional life, and now she's the office manager at city hall in the town where I grew up. While she was all about the literal: straight lines, black and white, numbers, true crime and biography, I was the figurative: curves and waves, messy rooms, painting, novels. Some of those things are still the same, but I've begun to morph. I guess it's part of growing up and preparing to be a mother myself.

One of the most distinct things I remember about my mom from when she was about my age was her vigor for cleaning and order. And voila! I have this new thing about order, structure, organization, and cleaning. I know my life is about to be upended by a totally new type of chaos, but the new habits are setting in hardcore. With five people and four pets living in my house, it's become obvious and absolutely necessary to have some rituals. The kids make a sweep through the living room at night to pick up their belongings, and we have a new dishwasher policy to make sure the sink doesn't pile up with sad, wet plates (and this is just the tip of the ritual iceberg). I see this as completely necessary to keep us from being buried in our own junk. As a result, I have this new resolution about waste.

I hate waste.

Not only do I mean waste like trash and disorder, but I mean waste like waste. Waste like leaving the lights on, throwing away leftovers, using excess gas for stupid trips, and other such things. Suddenly it seems vital to not be so darn frivolous. I must streamline!

Part of this inclination kicked in when I took the majority of my books to storage. Now that I only have about 100 or so books in my house, suddenly I feel lighter! It's much easier to choose what I want to read next, it's easier to decide what I *really* want to buy in physical book format or on e-book, or what I just want to snag from the library. Suddenly, I don't even feel guilty about getting a bag of books from the library because I'm much more inclined to read them without 400 TBR books staring me in the face!

It's a revolution!

How do you waste and how could you cut down? Books are just a first for me. I'm ready to clean out the whole house, and so far we're off to a good start doing just that. I'm feeling lighter all the time.


  1. Maybe we all become our mothers not by virtue of personality similarities but because it some type of primal survival instinct kicking in. The kind of survival instincts required for domesticity.

    Leftover waste gets to me, and no matter what I tried there was always something getting tossed. So I rethought and now just make what I am sure will be eaten. I try and shop a little smarter too.

  2. I am with you 100%! I'm constantly fussing at Chris to turn lights off, turn the TV off, turn the radio off--he usually has every electronic device on at the same time! But then he fusses at me for wasting water.

    I really, really want to get rid of things this year. My life is surrounded by too much clutter.

    By the way, I loved the Percy Jackson series. Rick Riordan was a good friend's camp counselor a long time ago.

  3. We definitely leave too many lights on. I think most of us could hang our clothes on a clothesline instead of using a dryer. By the way, I became my mother years ago.

  4. Welcome to the clean-freak club. I still need to do a major purge of books I will never read again but mostly, I've cleaned out every little corner of my room and house, donating what was great but not for me, reusing what I could and throwing away what nobody would want.

    Maybe become our mothers isn't the worst thing that could happen?

  5. sounds like someone is nesting? Hey -- when are you due... I have to make the kiddo something awesome!

  6. Well at least you've got a head start on spring cleaning.

  7. I just did a giant clean out of my closet and dressers. It felt great to donate a bunch of clothes that I had no intention of ever wearing again.

  8. Frances, I hadn't thought of survival skills for domesticity being a vital life ingredient, but now that I think about it: SO TRUE! We've been doing better planning meals and eating leftovers. It makes me a very happy woman.

    KnittingReader, I'm glad I'm not the only one fussing at my "other" for doing things like this. I thought Chuck was the only one. :D And cool re: Riordan as camp counselor!

    LOL, Kathy! We're all destined to become our moms, and I'm OK with it.

    Lena, definitely not the worst thing. I'm all about purging, and I'm so glad we have a head start on ours before the baby arrives.

    Amanda, I'm toootally nesting. Greyson is due April 16th!

    Amen, Christopher!

    Kim, I'm pretty minimalist when it comes to clothes because I hate shopping, but Chuck is a total clothes horse and recently purged his stuff. Was so thankful he did that!

  9. Several members of my mum's family are hoarders, and my sisters and I all inherited varying degrees and brands of OCD - but my parents raised us to be ruthless about throwing things away. Whenever I buy new things, I try to give away/throw away some of my old things, so as not to accumulate too much crap. It feels very cleansing.

    (But it's harder when it's books.)

  10. I hear you on the waste thing. I'm on a decluttering rampage, too - in all aspects of my life. One of the easiest (at least to see the difference) - magazines. Out with all the dusty piles, in with some nice clear space! :)

  11. When you new baby comes you will have the urge (but no time) to create even more order! My latest rampage at home is leaving lights on. My son turns on a light when he visits a room and soon there are lights on in every room in the house...drives me crazy!


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