Oh how I love my red toaster oven.
I am RIDICULOUSLY lucky. I mean DAMN lucky. I have food, clothing, shelter, personal transportation (aka Angelina, my bought-new-VW-Jetta), a pet, a washer/dryer, a kitchen-aid and Cuisinart, a Bose, laptop, furniture out the yin-yang, a memory foam bed, a warm jacket for every day of the week, comfort/orthopedic flip flops for every day of the week... The list goes on and on into minutia, making my head hurt and my eyes cross. While we am by no means the richest couple on the block, we're doing just fine and quite comfortable, thankyouverymuch.
The Salwen family of Atlanta, GA, recently sold their ginormous house and donated fully half to an international aid organization in Ghana. Read their story here. They downsized to a house half the size of their original palatial historical home (granted, still a HUGE 3,000 sq ft...) and restructured their lifestyle and belongings to fit with this new dwelling.
In addition to the wonderful things I list above, I also have a closet bursting with clothes that I don't wear (but hold on to, thinking that someday I just might wake up and think "dang it, today I will ACTUALLY wear that skirt that I bought six years ago while they were in style. How retro of me!"), crates of shoes that I don't wear, a dozen handbags that go unused all but one or two days of the year (if ever), a garage of STUFF, an antique 7' x 9' barn door, shelves of books that are never read, stacks of canvases that I never find time to paint, a huge tub of crafting supplies that represents half of my 2005 paychecks and .0005% of my current attention span, art to fill a house four times the size of our cottage, luxury cooking tools that have not been used yet (but boy will I be quite the gourmet once I crack that box open...)
The list goes on.
What do we need? REALLY need? How many pairs of shoes? Pairs of jeans? Pieces of jewelry? Expensive and time-sucking hobby supplies? Collections of china patterns or thimbles or MAC eyeshadow?
Our church community did a series on "Frugalgroovin'" - ways to be better stewards of our finances. Excess stuff = excess money spent = excess resources wasted = what the hey?!?
I'm still processing all of this. Too much. We have too much. And yet how is it that we never feel fulfilled, reflecting on society as a whole? My husband and I are meeting with a financial advisor to figure out how to get out of debt, save money for a house and eventually (ha!) be completely debt-free.
How did we get into debt in the first place? See above.