"Cultivate a museum mentality. Living more simply doesn’t mean you don’t want more. The desire for more dissipates but in my experience, it doesn’t go away completely. Instead of finding gratification in the owning, find it in appreciation for the item. For instance, when you walk through a museum you can fully appreciate the art without owning it. The same goes for new clothing, gadgets and other things. When you desire, admire. Don’t acquire."
Well, I did acquire something at the antiques barn this morning (while admiring and appreciating a lot of other things I didn't want to buy). A pile of books will be going out the door here, but a few more are coming in, because they're more relevant, more needed, or just more special.
"Mr Arnold Forster has done in this volume for children and the illiterate, what Professor Green did in his Shorter History of England for somewhat more advanced students, awakening many to the fact that history is an entrancing subject of study." (Home Education)
1. Antiques barns are good for window shopping, because there are so many things there that you probably either can't afford, don't have room for, or wouldn't want even if they were free. This morning I saw (among other things) a 1962 cardboard Barbie Dream House (it's adorable, but what would I do with it?), a toy telephone I had when I was four, and some little ceramic cottages like one we were given as a wedding gift. Would I like to have a whole village of tiny cottages? The thought ran briefly through my head, but it was fairly easy to quash. One's enough.
2. Use your hunter-gatherer instincts in a way that doesn't take up permanent space. Hunt down school or hygiene supplies for mission projects, or make hats or teddy bears for charity. Or do some Google or database searching for names of forgotten things. Or get into a hobby like collecting seeds (that will go into the ground or get given to other people). Or become an expert on something gigantic, like cathedrals or the Grand Canyon.
3. Use those Charlotte Mason mental visualization skills to store up lovely things. The trend now is to say "don't keep it, take a picture of it," but as we've been told repeatedly, people now are often so busy snapping pictures of everything from breakfast to graduations that they miss "being in the moment" for them. And then they have to hope their camera or computer doesn't lose the files. Go against the trend and just look without photographing. Draw a picture or copy a quote if you really have to.
4. Take a trip to a butterfly conservatory, a rock museum, or a donkey farm, whatever suits your interests and ethics. Skip the gift shop, obviously. Small towns known for boutiques and antique shops are a riskier choice, but you can always go with just enough cash for ice cream.
5. Mr. Fixit's contribution: create an avatar and enjoy some virtual reality. I actually found this suggestion quite funny, because years ago the girls and I had Yahoo avatars on the blog, and our little people got to wear all the fun costumes and pose in front of the hundred and one background scenes. Those were the days.