Living Lightly

Susan Vogt on living more simply but abundantly

Browsing Posts in Beyond Stuff

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, […]

Memories are one of those things you can give away without losing them. For Mother’s Day this year I gave my mother a jar of memories. I put 44 memories of my childhood and things I appreciated about my mother on brightly colored paper and put them in a glass jar. (I had given her […]

Knick knacks are a source of clutter in many homes – including ours. BUT, they are also a source of memories and that’s what makes it hard to decide what to give away. Today’s photo is probably most notable for what is NOT in it as there are probably 10 times the number of items […]

Today I bought Turbo Tax. For the last few years we’ve had a relative do our taxes but this year I decided to do them myself. We used to do our own taxes but then our job situation got complicated and it made sense to have a professional do them. I hope this isn’t a […]

This has always been a dilemma for me. Both time and money are valuable and sometimes it makes more sense to spend money in order to save time. For example, I spend way too much time shopping for the best price for groceries, books, or air travel. Sometimes it saves money, sometimes it wastes time […]

Today I was in the midst of writing an article. I tend to go into hibernation and not want to be disturbed when focusing on my writing. Jim was cooking dinner and realized he didn’t have any salsa. When he asked if I’d run to the store and get some, I remembered all the inconvenient […]