Conflicting values

I live in conflict and only just realized it!  I live in a wee bit of clutter but I’m always working at tidying it up.  I move things here.  Tidy things there.  Organize shelves.  Re-organize closets.  It goes on and on or feels like it, at least.

The reason that I am in perpetual tidy mode is that one of my values is a calm and ordered living space.  I really like a tidy desk, tidy floors, tidy counters.  But they keep getting cluttered with stuff.  Enter the conflicting value:  waste not.

I hate to throw out anything that can still be used.  Thus, I save plastic bags that I can wash and re-use for storing food for one example.  But as most anyone would know, nearly everything we can buy comes with a bag and even though I don’t take most bags offered to me, there are many I cannot avoid.  Bread, English muffins and toilet paper all come in bags.  Just to clarify, the toilet paper bag does not then hold food.  But it’s good for a small garbage can in the bathroom!  The bread bag, however, can hold broccoli.  The English muffin bag can hold cheese.  And the list goes on.

envelopes sm b

The envelopes that haven’t joined
the rest in the closet yet.

I have mailing envelopes that I can’t recycle because they have plastic in them.  We receive quite a few throughout the year and I keep them  because they can be re-used.  The catch is that while we receive many padded envelopes, we don’t need to mail many things out in them ourselves.  That’s the rub.  And, the result?  Clutter!

envelopes sm 2

The stored envelopes in the closet!
(Notice the wood holding the shelf:
funny leftover bits that come in handy in diverse ways.)

brackets sm2

Brackets originally from a desk
now being used to fix a cabinet drawer

I also keep pieces of wood and screws or nails and more.  Just recently I re-used little brackets that I salvaged from a desk.  The desk was disassembled a couple of years ago and the brackets were still fine.  I saved them because I knew that one day I could need something like this.  They were just too useful to toss.  And the day arrived and I knew that somewhere I had these little brackets and they would do exactly what I’m trying to do!  My Dad would be proud!

Office chairs.  I’ve rescued two.  One just needed a wheel.  Really.  The other was in much worse shape.  The arm covers were torn.  Sigh…  What’s a rescuer to do?  I brought it home and using some leather that I had…saved from another project…. I covered the arms anew.  I still use and love the chair after 10 years!

chair sm

Black and grey go okay

News flash!!  I only just realized what is happening:  I have a serious case of conflicting values!   Now I understand the source of my frustration about my cluttered living space.  It’s full of too much stuff that’s still perfectly fine.  Well, they say that realization is the first step to solving a problem.  And, it’s not that I’m a hoarder.  I’m not.  It’s more of a resources ‘thing’ than a collecting ‘thing’.

To throw something away that is perfectly functional simply because you don’t need it right now is, in my books, wasteful.  One thing about our world is that it is a challenging thing to avoid.  Who hasn’t thrown out a plastic garbage bag full of plastic bags?

In the meanwhile, I think I’ll post an ad on Kijiji for padded envelopes free to a good home!

How about you?  Any conflicting values like this?

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4 Responses to Conflicting values

  1. Earl says:

    Good advise—-thanks you Deanna—-Earl

  2. Peter Gourley says:

    Good stuff Deanna!

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