I am a member of a yahoo group for compacting: basically, it's the process of not buying anything new. I am not 100% compacting, but in my decluttering struggle Jeff and I have "vowed" to not buy anything for a while.
Anyway, I recently read this post by a practicing compactor, Laura Redhawk-Hewitt. I enjoyed her thoughts so much on this (because they are so much like mine!) that I wanted to share them with you all. So, with her permission, here is her post on compacting. I hope you enjoy her thoughts as much as I did!
I think the biggest hump to embracing a more Compact mentality is becoming aware of WHAT YOU REALLY NEED vs. what you want, or are used to just reaching for. I joined in January 2007 and the more I stopped and asked myself (before buying) do we NEED this? The easier and more COMFORTABLE I became doing without it!
Children do not NEED as much as commercials indicate that they do. They NEED decent clothes (Goodwill will provide you with almost brand new, especially for kids under the age of 10; because a lot of the clothes were not worn out, but they grew out of them! I've gotten as
many as 3 big paper bags of great looking clothes for as little as $25 for one boy and one girl, both school worthy and play clothes!) Children need healthy food, proper shoes that fit their feet and allow them to play and walk without pinching, or throwing them off balance with stupid heels that they have no business wearing in the first place. They need the materials to do their school projects. They need access to books, music and other things that stimulate their minds
to become creative and learn to entertain themselves in healthy, fun, productive ways.
Most of all Children need INTERACTIVE parents who share ideas and encourage them to think, who play with them, read, cook and do chores together so that the kids learn not only responsibility but develop life skills and can take pride in knowing that they too are contributing to having a happy, fun, clean and attractive home to live and play in.
I can honestly say I grew up without a whole lotta THINGS that were popular in my childhood, because my parents simply couldn't afford it. But we played board games, read, danced and sang, cooked, painted, cleaned, and worked on the yard together and they made it FUN (most
of the time) and in retrospect...I'll pick my childhood over some I've seen and some I knew of "back then." They spent quality time with me...because they WANTED TO and I always knew this!
Try asking yourself, DO WE NEED THIS, or is there something I already HAVE that can serve as well. If you believe that you need it, can you get it used? Or, barter for it, Freecycle IS a huge help, I agree! But a lot of it is just letting go of habits and creating new habits that become so comfortable over time that you'll wonder what you were thinking before!