Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Giving and receiving, swapping and saving


Hello there, dear ones. I hope you are all doing well and had a wonderful, lovely weekend. I'm happy to tell you my husband and I had a fun and enjoyable Shabbat, and then holiday, with our families. In the picture above, you can see the gift my husband gave me for Shavuot. Isn't he a sweetheart?

Now we are about to become busy bees once again. There are so many things to do that I hardly have the time to even write down what needs to be done, so I won't forget it.

Something I have been pondering lately: how often do we discover we have too much stuff for our tiny (or not-so-tiny) homes to contain, and end up throwing it all away? In the past, things were handled more carefully and taken better care of. When you had something you didn't need, you would give it to someone who needed it.

Recently I discovered a lovely Israeli project - a website dedicated entirely to giveaways (www.agora.co.il). People discover items in their homes which might be in a perfectly good condition, but became unnecessary with time, and post messages about wanting to give them away. The variety of things being generously given away is enormous - from computers and books to baby clothes and furniture.

Except for our bed (sidenote: mattresses are still lacking, which means we are still sleeping on an air bed), we don't have a single furniture item we bought brand-new for our home. Everything we have was either given to us as a gift, or found and restored by my husband. Yes, it means our furniture is a bit mismatched, but to tell you the truth, it seems insignificant when I think of how much money we saved.

My husband and I have already participated in the message boards of the website I mentioned, both as givers and receivers. Why throw away if you can give away? Why choose to be another victim of consumerism if you can bless someone by giving away something you don't need? Be creative. Research and get for free, or buy second-hand, or make it yourself. Swap and save.

16 comments:

Mim & Michael's World! said...

Hi Anna.
Thanks for this post. I also feel quite distressed at how much stuff we own in our little house and am often asking family and friends to not give us any presents and to give the money they would have spent to a charity or some other needy person.
There is a similar website to the one you mentioned here in Australia called 'freecycle yahoo group'. It is great!
Miriam

Patricia said...

This sounds similiar to the Freecycle boards we have here in America. A wonderful idea!

Michelle Potter said...

As other people mentioned, we have something like that here. Sometimes, though, I wish people would stop giving me the things they clean out of their houses. Not that I want new stuff, just less stuff altogether. (People do not always ask me before sending large bags of toys and clothes home with my children. Then it becomes MY responsibility to find a new home for them, and to disappoint my children who wanted to keep them. Just like you don't save money by getting a good price for things you don't need, free things you don't have room for are not a blessing.)

Gina Marie said...

My husband and I have discovered something similar with all the stuff we have in our tiny home. There's a lot we don't need, so we're trying to give it away to friends who are moving into homes with roommates and need supplies.

lady jane said...

Here in the states we have Freecycle, Craigslist and others. :o)

Sometimes folks just put things out at the sidewalk with a "free" sign on the items. They're usually quickly taken.

I'm a big believer of giving away that which is not necessary for your home or personal use.

lady jane said...

Oh! Almost forgot.

The necklace is lovely!

Mrs. Amy Brigham said...

We've been busy freecycling much of our stuff as we continue to unpack. It's so nice to pass things along, rather than let them accumulate dust, not being used, all while using up precious storage space. :o)

We've had all used furniture as well, up until later on this week anyway. I never saw the point in using credit to purchase furniture when I could find used items that worked just as well & could be paid for in cash. Sure, they might have needed some pillows, a slipcover, and whatnot to make a room "match," but that was a small price to pay to forgo an ugly credit report. ;o)

Catherine R. said...

I think part of the reason people throw things away today is because of the incredible decrease in quality of every kind of item compared to 50 years ago.

The Quiet Life said...

We use Freecycle also. And when that isn't convenient, we drop things off for donation at thrift shops. The money made is usually used for good causes. Glad to here you had a wonderful Shabbat!

Anonymous said...

I read a newspaper report that, here in Canada, items spend on average six months in a home before they are sent to the dump. Not so in our house! I can't imagine such a turn over, but when I think about the quality of items in combination with never ending shopping habits, I can see how there might be a lot of truth to that statement!
Melissa

Katy said...

We've been married for 2 and a half years and we acquired our furniture the same way! I like the mismatch...our furniture has memories and character. :)

Jeannie said...

our house has all used hand-me-down furniture. We love the mis-matched look. It looks lived in, settled, homey. I prefer the look of used furniture, the scratches and dents give everything character. Besides with the start of our family, I don't have to worry about my children being too rough on my furniture. I don't have to worry about spills or bumps. I love the stress-less feeling that comes with used furniture!

Kelly said...

The necklace is lovely.
And I've never heard of the freecycle idea here in the US, I'm going to check that out. Thanks to the previous comments.
Kelly

Chelsea said...

Sites like that are great. My mom found a set of beautiful rugs, a treadmill, and a pingpong table for cheap at Craig's List.
Pretty necklace, by the way :)

Samara said...

We too have close to 100% hand-me-down or scavenged furniture in our home, but you'd never know it. I use our local Freecycle frequently, most recently to get some new-to-me clothes and to give away the many extra vegetable seedlings that I have no room for in our little garden. We are also going to swap seedlings with some neighbors who are growing different veggie & herb varieties. The community aspect of these kinds of exchanges charms me.

What are you about to be busy with? I have been learning for the past year that even without a job, my days are so full and life so rich. The bread of idleness is in short supply in our household these days as well. What projects do you have in progress currently?

Terry said...

Great post,Anna. I agree wholeheartedly. We can save ourselves a lot of time and clutter by giving much of our unused and excess stuff to someone who could really use it.