May 8, 2009

The Fourth Line

There's a little poem that has been around for quite a long time. It has made a comeback in the last several years as we've become more environmentally conscious. I've noticed something, though. Pretty much EVERY time I've ever seen it quoted, one line is left off.

Here's the part that's probably very familiar:

Use it up
Wear it out
Make it do

We are all striving to think of these admonitions as we're taking care of our homes and finances. We're such a "throw-away" society and everything is so very cheap compared to just a few decades ago, that it seems really unnecessary to follow those words.

Why make my clothes when I can go to a department store's end-of-the-season clearance and buy ready-made for less than I can buy the fabric?

Why keep using that appliance that's been going strong for a decade when the newer one is, well, prettier and it's on sale!

Why NOT get that really cool gadget that I'm sure will make things easier for me? So what if it takes twice as long to clean?

I've slowly begun to change my mindset, shifting my paradigm if you will, to be able to look at what I have and be content to take care of it and wait until there is true need for replacement.

But wait. There's a fourth line to that catchy rhyme:

Or do without.

What? Just plain do without? What if I need it? What if it would make absolute sense to go ahead and get it now--it's on sale and everything? What if everyone else has one and it's become "normal" as a part of our modern life?

Do without.

It's such an old concept that it's new.

I'll give you an example. I was in Wally World the other day. We went there to get Q-tips (generic, of course), and mints (necessary for being kind to others). That was all I was in there for. I truly wasn't going to buy anything else.

Well, I didn't buy anything else, but I did discover something. I was unconsciously scanning the end caps and such for items that I might need. I was checking to see if things were at a good enough price to "stock up" on. I realized that I've been doing that for over 20 years.

That explains why my yard sale was so big that people kept asking me if I was moving.

Just because it's a good price, I might truly need it in the future, or it could bring more ease to my life STILL does not mean that I SHOULD get it.

Wow. Revelation.


Do Without.


5 comments:

Packrat said...

Hi - I'm new to your blog.

Have I ever hear that saying over and over!

It always amazes me that the power company (and some "enviro" people) want us to run out and buy new appliances. Yes, they may be more energy efficient and/or use less water, but what happens to all the old ones? They fill up the landfills. It takes energy to bury them or recycle them.

PS What is washing soda?

Mama Hen said...

Ouch! You are so right though.

Roxanne said...

Packrat--EXACTLY. Businesses are interested in money. They try to jump on the bandwagon of environmental responsibility only to try to get a slice of the financial action.

That's one of the many reasons I enjoy retro things so much. They just did things economically and responsibly (for the most part) because it wasn't so easy to replace things.

Here's a explanation of what washing soda is:
http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-washing-soda.htm

Trixie said...

Hello Roxanne!

Your post is spot on! I love the do-without idea. It is just amazing how easily we become conditioned to just look for good deals so we can stock up.

I agree with your comment about the green movement: the companies are just looking for a piece of the action. I belong to several survey and market research groups -- all the companies want to know our thoughts about "green products" and most importantly if we would be willing to pay more for something that's supposedly "Green". It sure looks like a money game to me.

It's funny, none of those companies tell you go out and buy a big bottle of white vinegar, some borax and some washing powder. Oh wait, they would be out of business then. LOL

Take Care,

Trixie

Roxanne said...

Trixie--I never saw this comment from over a year ago!

Total agreement here. I was just thinking about how it seems the natural recipes are all OVER the place on the 'net. This is nothing new. I guess there's just something about thinking it's "convenient" and costs "only" $3 for a whole bottle of the store stuff.

"Only" adds up!

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