Frugal Upbringing

How much might a frugal upbringing impact on one’s ability to dispose of unused items in our homes? Last week while writing my blog post, I realised one reason I believe I find it difficult to throw things away.

I stress again that I am not a hoarder. At least not a certifiable hoarder anyway. I just resist throwing away many unused things in my house. My children hate the idea they’ll have to sort out the mess after I’m gone.

Has my frugal upbringing affected my thinking about throwing things out? Yes, I think it does. My widowed mother grew up during the great depression. During World War II she was a young woman. Money was also tight after my father died. The thrifty lessons she’d learned as a youngster/young woman came to great use as a solo parent with no pennies to spare.

Knitting socks
Knitting socks

Some of her actions that immediately spring to mind now amuse me. I’m sure they’ll horrify my grandchildren. For example, when bed sheets wore in the middle Mum cut them in half and then sewed the edge pieces together. Therefore giving years more wear out of a pair of sheets. Our jerseys (sweaters) were always woollen. As they developed holes in the elbows or we grew out of them, they were never thrown out. Mum would unravel the wool and knit a new jersey, a vest or a pair of socks. Often the colour schemes were unusual but we loved them anyway. They kept us warm. The same applied to clothes. She would unpick clothes, salvage the best of the material and find a way to make something new. But these things never happened immediately. She stored the pieces away until she had enough to make something useful.

We loved the colourful jerseys Mum knitted from recycled wool.
We loved the colourful jerseys Mum knitted from recycled wool.

I doubt Mum wanted to renew old clothing or fix broken utensils. She did it because money was tight. Luckily for us she knew how to make do with whatever she had. However, I live in a different world now. I admit I never do the things she had to do. Its a world where we throw things out without a thought. And then head to the shops to buy more. The idea of taking something used and ‘remodelling’ it rarely occurs to me. But somehow the thought of throwing away something usable just goes against the grain. Thank heavens for opportunity/charity shops. People like me can eventually allow our ‘treasures’ to move onto someone else who might just love them as much.

Now I just have to make peace with myself and begin decluttering my house. I know my family will thank me. What about you? Do you need to go through some of those cupboards of yours? Take a deep breath and begin.

Maybe I’ll start tomorrow.


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