Living Lightly

Susan Vogt on living more simply but abundantly

Browsing Posts in Beyond Stuff

So let’s talk about recycling. Now that I’ve faced the demon of recycling electronics, what about all the more normal recycling we do. You know – the paper, glass, plastic, and cans. Recycling these things doesn’t feel as virtuous as giving a needy family clothes, dishes, or toys. Technically, it’s not really giving something away […]

As I continue to look around my home and consider what more to part with, I often feel some pride in cleaning things out or virtue in passing stuff on to those in need. As I dig more deeply into this process, however, I realize that a bigger challenge is to let go of bad […]

I don’t’ think it’s fair to count our kids’ elementary and high school trophies and plaques as things to give away since they are of no use to anyone else. Still, I counted 22 trophies and 30 award plaques stored in a cedar chest that could be put to better use. (Trophies take up a […]

In my never ending effort to save money, I discovered that our family was probably paying more than we needed for our cell phone. After consulting the internet and various young adults – who are the experts in this realm – I decided to go with a different cell phone provider. Over a year I […]

…charitable fundraising. With the Christmas spirit rising and the tax write-off deadline looming, generous and astute people are considering making monetary donations to charitable causes. If you’ve ever given to anything (and I hope you have) the downside of that gift is that we are both on mailing lists for worthy causes. The worthy causes […]

We’ve had a lot of company since our homeless family moved out a couple months ago. Fortunately, the father now has a job so they can afford a small apartment but that’s a story for another blog. Today I’m reflecting on the one semi-permanent house guest, three Mexican visitors, three Danish teachers, and three contra […]

Normally I might feel a little guilty about leaving good literature in doorways, but it’s campaign season and actually this is one thing I feel virtuous about. It’s not that I enjoy walking around all afternoon trying to find addresses and knocking on strangers’ doors, but I feel it is my duty. I have no […]

Speaking of souvenirs, I recently returned from a conference with a number of international participants. It never ceases to amaze me how generous other people are – especially people from other countries. In addition to sharing their talents of singing, dancing, and laughter, the Koreans and Hawaiians showered us with little gifts. Of course there […]

Giving away trinkets is one thing, but what about when trinkets are mementos of a foreign trip and you’ll probably never go to that country again? That is the question I asked myself when I stared at these Pepsi bottles. About 20 years ago our family was part of a month long family exchange program […]

As a writer, I spend most of the day, most days, at my computer. Over the years, several of the more common letters have rubbed off (like the E, R, and T). I only realized this when other people tried to use my computer and weren’t sure where these letters were. I started to feel […]

I’ve been avoiding books till I summon up the courage to make some hard decisions. The Encyclopedia Britannica set was an exception. Not only was it published in 1961 but it was missing the “C” volume – probably used as a booster seat years ago. Who uses hard copies of encyclopedia anymore? I called the […]

I recently took a trip and rented a car. Now I don’t fancy myself a picky person but I found myself a little annoyed when I discovered it didn’t have cruise control and this was a six hour drive. I then realized that I had forgotten my CD’s (to keep me awake) and conditioner for […]

First you should know that by temperament and choice I am very frugal. (My kids have a less flattering word for it.) Next you should know that I got my first manicure about several months ago (at age 62) when my daughter “treated” me to it during our mother/daughter rendezvous in Egypt. I have never […]

Giving away items that remind us of important events are a dilemma. Do I give away my wedding dress? No – even though my daughter may never be interested in wearing it. Giving away a tux that a relative made for my husband’s Kindergarten graduation was a little easier. It was charming but it was […]

Giving away words in the form of a compliment, greeting card, letter to the editor, saying the Pledge of Allegiance, a prayer, or putting out a political sign can take time and thought. I’ve been trying to be more conscious of words these days – both acknowledging a talent in another and refraining from complaining. […]

The young couple and their 4 month old baby that I mentioned in the post, “Letting Go Of Privacy” has been staying with us for a couple weeks now. You get to know people on a deeper level when they live with you. We have been impressed with their respectfulness and willingness to work and […]

A couple nights ago the phone rang at 10:30 pm – not a good sign. It was the young woman who we’ve been helping through her pregnancy, marriage, and miscellaneous needs. She said she, her husband, and 4-month-old baby needed an emergency place to live for a short time. They discovered that the place they […]

A few days ago a good friend stopped by as she was walking her dog. We chatted because it had been awhile since we had caught up with each other. Eventually, as dinner time approached, we invited her to stay. Dinner was very nice, leisurely, and long. Near the end I started getting antsy since […]

Sometimes we give away stuff; sometimes it’s money or time. Several years ago my husband started mentoring a young man from a local junior high school. Although he’s the one giving his time, I realized that Josh was the ideal person to give some of the posters to that no longer decorate our kid’s rooms. […]

I filed an extension for our income taxes since I was traveling in Africa and Asia around April 15. Now, it’s time for me to complete this duty. I may be one of the few people in the USA who think taxes are good. Not only do taxes pay for police and fire protection, defense, […]