I dream of living in a clutter free household with everything within it being beautiful or useful. Perhaps very occasionally even sentimental, but certainly all surfaces would be clear and as I surveyed any room it’s appearance would make me feel tranquil.
Right now of course, I could not be further from such a state of affairs. As I look around the room I see shoes, the contents of a changing bag, sheets of paper and various bags strewn across the floor. That is before we get to what is on the furniture, or so help me, what lies within our cupboards! Especially my pet hate, clothes, shoes and toys that the children have grown out of!
What to do? Give them away to charity or sell them because I need the money? Have I really got the time to list them on Ebay though and will it be financially worthwhile for me to do, assuming that said items sell at all?
This was the gist of a conversation with a school run Gran as I walked to work the other day, as she had highlighted a pile of clothes that her grandchildren had grown out of to their mother. What had she done with all of the clothes that her children grew out of when they were younger, I asked, to which she had the following very interesting reply:
- When her children were little there were few high street shops to buy children’s clothes and shoes from, such as Ladybird and Clarks and said items were not cheap so you bought fewer of them.
- People didn’t have access to computers like we do today so their was no selling of items on Ebay, you just passed quality items onto a friend with a younger child of the same sex as yours. In the same way, other friends passed things on to you.
- Often furniture e.g. cots, prams and other higher ticket items were passed through families, bought as gifts or could be picked up cheaply from an advert in the local shop window or newspaper.
I am never one to think that those of the past had it better or easier, after all, I wasn’t there, but that is not to say that there isn’t still an awful lot we can take as lessons from the past to make our own lives simpler and easier. I may still Ebay a couple of high end items, but the clothes purchased will be fewer in number and, when finished with, will be passed on to friends!
My first, full-time permanent job was as a customer service assistant for a bank and involved wearing a uniform. I remember it well, 5 blouses, 3 skirts and 1 blazer for which I would have to pay £100 pounds if I returned the uniform (read left the job) within a year. Hence I stuck that job out for a whole year!
I almost wish that this job that I am doing came with a uniform too, as my finances are no better now, marriage, children and mortgage down the line, than they were all those years ago when starting out with student debt and the remnants of my last social security cheque! Everything needs replacing, updating or repairing and having been at home for as a stay at home Mum for 3 years I barely even have work wear! The replacing etc. I spoke of were my casual clothes!
What I take comfort from though, besides the knowledge that with each paycheque I can start to purchase appropriate attire, is that Nelson Mandela went to work in the one, same suit he had for FIVE YEARS! Enough said really. I am not down to one outfit and I shall not need to wear it for 5 years before I am able to purchase another one.
Like Mandela, sometimes rather than feeling beaten down by what you lack, you have to know you are strong for getting out there and doing what needs to be done, using whatever resources you have, no matter how few they may be.