How much is enough?

When we bough Chez Peckham Rye, I was super conscious of what we used (and how much) to renovate it. Not perfect but we tried. All the furniture was old, restored and recovered. Paint - no voc, floors hand sanded and waxed, no yucky polyurethane. Bench-tops - old school lab benches sanded and waxed. We won't be knocking down walls, slapping on extensions or pushing up into the loft, as this house is what it was meant to be and is big enough for us (although I wouldn't mind buying the disused garden next door). 

But I could have done better - note to self - no more paint stripper... And this video, although a couple of years old and US based, is a cold reminder of what is happening where you and I live and how we live. E likes our relatively empty attic as full attics physically and mentally weigh him down. Having moved countries several times, I like very much that I have nothing that is extraneous but everything is loved. E left most things behind when he divorced (he kept his guitars, music and books though). His main purchases since have been books - and an Eames chair. 

But how do you live with the stuff that you have, when trends come and go and you realise for example 
"I need pink in my life".

I don't like the term 'make do an mend', because I don't think making something out of stuff you already have should be seen as making do. The quilts I make for people often bring tears of joy - all from scraps of fabric and clothes they have had for years. The classes I teach seem to invigorate people into making something beautiful. So paint a chair pink, or turn your husbands pink shirt into a cushion, but just don't think you're making do - you're not, you're ringing the changes whilst keeping familiar and loved things around you.

So perhaps we could come up with a more uplifting term that means we consume less but create more beauty from what we already have?

Oh - and if you think you have too much stuff, there is bound to be someone down the road who is a little short.


mrsbris said...

I have seen that video before - sent by a very environmentally conscious friend. It really does sum up the depressing state of our society and I felt almost helpless in my single quest to consume less and re-purpose/re-use more. I just felt there are so many people out there not interested in doing the same. I totally agree that whatever it is, it has to be made into something meaningful and beautiful!

Oh, and I too have a neighbour who hates gardening, doesn't do it and as such his garden totally overgrown. It causes the neighbour on the other side a great upset that its overgrown and encroaches on his patch. But I'm just saddened by the beautiful established apple trees and the waste of the fruit! I'm greedy! I wish he'd let us help him (obviously for our benefit!!!). Let us know if you succeed!

Cassandra said...

I am planning an assault on the Pear tree next door... I'm not sure they can even access the garden, which is terribly sad. I also promised myself that the next house - sadly already looking for it - I'll up the ante on respecting it's bones and use traditional craftsmen and material were I can. Although I watched a programme last night on lime plaster - slow and very, very expensive. There's got to be something in the middle hasn't there.

mrsbris said...

Yes we are constantly in that dilemma, being on a tight budget, that we do things mindful of the environment. It certainly isn't easy.

Sadly our neighbour died recently. Quite a shock for us as although he was elderly he was by no means frail for his age. In the circumstances we can't really eye up his apple trees, especially as they don't overhang!!! That is sad about your neighbours. My great grandmother was such a keen gardener and it broke her heart when she could no longer get out. I'm sure they would welcome a hand!

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