Thursday, January 25, 2007

Postscript to Wearing it out: From Complaining to Celebrating

People have been virtually ringing the Treehouse doorbell here all day, thanks to Meredith's mention of this post. We got several comments, too, mostly from people agreeing that a lot of new stuff is poorly made.

But I feel like I did more complaining that celebrating in that post; after all, we are supposed to be celebrating abundance and finding ways to cope.

So here's a list of reasons why we can be thankful even in this age of made-to-break craziness.

1. It encourages us to be thoughtful, careful purchasers; to look for the best quality we can manage, to read consumer guides, to consider what is the best use of our money. It teaches us to appreciate true quality, in everything from produce to clothes to cars. Every year we look forward to our favourite family-run produce market re-opening; it runs only from strawberry time through late fall. We go out there almost every weekend during the growing season, and enjoy bringing home "happy vegetables."

About ten years ago we bought a queensize bed and a loft bed from Crate Designs, and we're still happy with them. They are sturdy, simple, and easy to clean if needed. (The two younger Squirrelings sleep in forty-year-old cream-coloured twin beds that came free with the Treehouse. The only thing I don't like about those is that I'm always banging my thigh on the endposts!)

We bought a quilt for our queensize bed a few years ago, on sale; unfortunately, it turned out to be one of those made-somewhere-in-Asia deals, and the patchwork quickly started coming apart. Now we have a vintage quilt on top instead; not homemade, but still kind of old--and seemingly indestructible.

2. It encourages us to buy simpler styles of things, with a view to having them eventually repaired or re-covered when needed. For instance, we replaced our electronically-controlled toaster oven with a non-computerized model which is easier to fix. (Unfortunately, even the simpler model needed a repair in a sadly very short space of time, but at least we could fix it.) Using the same reasoning, the abundance of here-today fad junk encourages us to buy classic styles and basic colours (in clothing, furniture etc.) so that we don't have to add "out of style" to our other complaints. We just bought a new couch and chair (NOT from one of the super-stores); the couch is a soft medium brown (I can't remember the right name) and the chair (I love it!) is Fudge Brown. What a retro colour--it's perfect in our 1960ish panelled rec room/school room.

3. It encourages us to buy things used--because, compared to what's out there at the store, you're about as far ahead to buy something that's already been through the wash and held up well, or that somebody else has taken good care of and that needs just a small repair.

4. It encourages us to know when to call it quits. Mr. Fixit knows someone who's having extensive body work done on an early '90's car--I won't name the make, but it wasn't exactly a banner year for that car maker. Along with the body work, they're also having cylinder head work done--and it's not the original engine. These repairs are not cheap! The question is, is it worth it to have such extensive work done on a car with such little resale value? Mr. Fixit says that, personally, he would just "drive the car into the ground" without having all the repainting etc. done.

Be encouraged--we just have to be a little bit smarter, and work a little bit harder these days. But we can do it!


Meredith said...

A good addendum to the original post--thanks!

Birdie said...

So well said!