Wednesday, December 2, 2015

7 things you can do to be content with what you have


This year, our Thanksgiving celebration was a little backward. We normally travel one hour to celebrate at my aunt's house, but this year she had to move it to Saturday so that she could have a home health aide come to help my uncle get ready (he has advanced Parkinson's). I decided to make the turkey I had bought on sale on Wednesday night so that I would have some meat to make other meals with for Thursday and Friday.

As a result, Thursday was rather anti-climatic. My husband rounded our boys up and had them do a deeper cleaning on the house while I worked on re-organizing my bedroom closet. As I sorted through my shelves and re-arranged my clothes, I realized that it was the perfect activity to do in the midst of the already-happening Black Friday sales. And then that got me to thinking about practical ways to be content.

1) Take an inventory of a particular category / do all of your laundry

Have you ever struggled with feeling like you don't have enough of a particular thing, or do you get sales ads and see that 60% off coupon and think, "Well, maybe I do need more of xyz?" As I shared above, just taking a count of all the things you do have in a category can open your eyes to what you have. I have not done a lot of clothes shopping in the last four years except for necessary items and the occasional thrift shop visit. I felt like I didn't have enough clothes to wear. But then I re-organized my closet and realized I had more than enough to have different outfits every day for a week.

2) Get rid of that stuff that doesn't make you happy

In my kitchen, we are currently working on trimming out and painting the cabinets. I hope that it will make a big difference on the feel of the kitchen, but the truth is, no kitchen will look good if there's a lot of mysterious items lurking on the top of the fridge, or cluttering the counters. With this thought, I took the time the other day to just clear off the top of my fridge and get rid of knick-knacks that I wasn't really using. Then I hid all the plastic-ware that had been sitting on our open shelving by creating more room in a cabinet below. It cost me nothing except for maybe 20 minutes or so, but it felt so much better!

3) Read the news, particularly about 3rd world countries

I don't really need to elaborate on this one - we have so much compared to the rest of the world. Reading what it is like to live under the rule of ISIS or struggling to survive in a swamp in Sudan puts a lot in perspective.

4) Live without something you have for awhile

When I lived overseas, we didn't have access to Oreos. So when I was able to take a vacation after a year of working there, you can't imagine how excited I was to see them in the endcap of a Thai supermarket. I often think of this when I want to appreciate something more.

In a similar vein, sometimes the thing you have to live without is forced on you, like our dryer this past week. Last weekend it began to make a horrible grinding noise, and after a couple of attempts to take it apart and fix it, we gave up and called our appliance repairman. He couldn't get here until today, however, which meant four or five days of no laundry being done. Some women might rejoice at that, but for me, I could see the oppression piling up with every load (and we have bed-wetters as well, so the laundry is even greater). When our dryer was fixed today, I was so grateful to just be able to do a load!

5) Go on a media fast for awhile, particularly Pinterest, Facebook, and online shopping

I am currently on a Facebook fast. It's not necessarily because I become envious, but more because I feel like I'm not doing enough when I see friends post their accomplishments. But this can also happen when I ingest too many ideas from Pinterest.

6) Avoid the malls and stores unless you absolutely need something

I still like to browse TJ Maxx or Target occasionally just to get out of the house, but generally I don't go shopping unless I have something in mind that I need.


7) Commit to using what you have 

People often apply this concept to using up things in your pantry, but what about other areas of your home? Right now, I am trying to find ways to use up the myriad of craft and sewing supplies I have instead of going to Joann's.

What about you? Are there ways you find to be more content with what you have? Share below in the comments - I'd love to hear your ideas!

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