Thursday, February 26, 2009

Four little words

Do more with less.

What a concept! My husband I used to think we did this. Back when I thought I needed, needed, allllll the baby stuff there was to be had. And there is plenty to be had. We had a yard and owned a home so we needed all the stuff that goes along with taking care of those things. We had pets (dog, cats, fish, lizards, snakes. Yuck, I know.), and any pet owner knows there's almost just as much stuff you can have for a pet as you can have for a kid.

Then we started the move to Korea. We couldn't take any of that stuff with us. We were limited to 70 lbs each of baggage (that was before the weight limit changed to 50 lbs.). Initially, that sounds like a lot of space, but for a family of five going overseas for a year, that doesn't leave a lot of extra room for stuff. We took 4 bags of clothes and 1 bag of books and toys, roughly. Here's what we took home. We added a kid, and there were somethings given to us we wanted to take home as memories.


But, and it was a big but, we were left with all that stuff still in America. Not the least was a too-big home that we had to sell. We were fortunate enough to sell right as things started to plummet in the housing market. The second half of that but was that we had 2 large storage units packed to the hilt of, what? Yeah, stuff.

It had made so much sense at first to put it all in storage. And, truthfully, we had no idea we would stay an extra half year, then move to New York City, and end up out in Colorado. We could have had no idea, and hindsight is 20/20, right? But with each passing month in Korea, we were thinking about all that stuff in our two large storage units. Just sitting there collecting dust and sucking down way too much money.

The truth is, while living overseas, we finally came to our senses. We realized that we could do more with less. Marketing wasn't directed at us, it was to Koreans. Even if we had desperately needed that ultra-super-high-tech-Kimchi-maker, we wouldn't have known because we couldn't understand any of the advertisements! And we realized that anything we bought had to be either given away, sold or shipped home, which meant more money, when it came time to leave. This was extremely sobering. It made us reevaluate and realize we didn't need all we thought we needed!

I'm almost off my soapbox, don't worry.

We are still plagued with materialism. Marketers are so smart, they know just how to hit where it hurts, how to make you think you need that sofa, or new car or shoes (my personal weakness), but I hope we are becoming better at doing more with less. It's a concept started with World War II, and I feel like I owe it to my grandparents, not to mention our own peace of mind and stewardship with the money that's been given us, to uphold this mantra.

*Side note: My thoughts are not original. I heard this great editorial on NPR this morning. Check it out here, if you have a few minutes to listen. It's sobering and encouraging all at the same time.

1 comment:

Emily said...

I was nodding in agreement until you got to the NPR thing. YUCKY!!!! My ears are burning now. I cannot tolerate NPR. huh uh.