Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Small Boating

I've just read "Living the simple life" by Elaine St. James, advocating reducing the stuff you buy and the stuff you waste your time doing, so that you can have time and resources to do the things you really want to do. Very practical, and an excellent plan.

Much of this accords with what we have been doing in recent years, but it's known in our house as"small boating" - on the principle "would I need this if I was living on a small boat?"

Obviously, we're not terribly good at it, or we wouldn't have downsized to a larger house, but at least we can get into our garage, and the only items in the loft are empty boxes.

Our parents and grandparents tended to keep things that "might come in handy sometime", but they lived in an age when pieces of wood, nails, bits of string, and empty tins were not so cheap and easily available, and many of the items they hoarded were sturdily enough made to be still useable when the need for them arose, but times have changed.

As my mother did, I still have a button box; it never contains the right size/colour/number of buttons I actually need for the garment I've just made, but it can be very useful for replacing an odd lost button.

It used to be said that 3 rapid house moves or a fire sorted out your stuff problem, but that's probably a bit extreme. It does pay, however, to maintain vigilance, or you find that the "odds and ends drawer" in the kitchen is overflowing with allen keys, empty 35mm film containers, plastic medicine spoons, instruction leaflets for gadgets that broke months ago, and rubber bands dropped on the doorstep by the postman.

And now I think I'll go and contemplate the wardrobe full of clothes that might come back into fashion one day - probably the day after I decide Oxfam needs them.

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