Living Lightly

Susan Vogt on living more simply but abundantly

Browsing Posts in The Process

Can returning stuff count? Yes! Some times it takes more effort to return stuff to its rightful owner than to just give a bunch of stuff away. Returning several library books was easy because there’s a time limit and the library is on my way to many places. Returning the car seat we had borrowed […]

Should I count by one’s or seven’s. Technically I’ve only committed to giving one thing away a day, but sometimes things come in groups and it just doesn’t seem honest to count lettuce by the leaf or to count each zucchini for a day. Since last Sunday I chose 7 of our son’s sweaters to […]

…things gotten illegally? – like traffic signs? I don’t remember which of our kids liberated the seven large, heavy traffic signs (STOP, Men Working, Speed limit 25 etc.) that were stored in the garage. I don’t know where or how they got them. It’s probably best I don’t know. I listed the signs on an […]

OK, here’s all the stuff that #3 child absolutely did not want me to get rid of but didn’t want to take himself. I could have given him a deadline and said anything he hasn’t claimed goes to Goodwill as some readers have suggested. In fairness to him, however, he does have a very small […]

One of the hardest decisions to make about giving things away are things that I’m quite happy to part with – but don’t belong to me. I decided to start with child #3 since he’s the only one who lives in town and thus is the easiest to check with. I was wrong! I had […]

Lupus is a serious disease – not a person, but it solved my storage problem brought on by plastering our stairwell. A few days ago, I got an unsolicited call saying that the Lupus Foundation would have a truck in our neighborhood next Thursday. Did I have anything to contribute? I assume it was just […]

The stuff I’ve chosen to give away had swamped the corner of the house I’ve been storing it in until I could take it to St. Vincent de Paul or Goodwill. I decided to try Freecycle (a service like “Craig’s List” but everything is free). It was amazing! Once I learned the mechanics of how […]

One of the advantages of storing my give-aways until I could bundle them all up and make one or two trips to St. Vincent de Paul or Goodwill, is that my decisions were reversible – at least for awhile. This helped me “try out” living without an item and confirm that I was ready to […]

I’ve been waiting for April 24 for a long time. Apparently, so have a lot of other people in my neighborhood. It’s the day N. Kentucky finally sponsored a Hazardous Materials Disposal Day. I not only felt virtuous loading up an old computer, printer, and monitor, I also safely got rid of radios, lamps, light […]

Being responsible is good. Being prepared is good. But – is it possible to give too much away? Is it irresponsible to give away savings and then be dependent on the government or charity for help if you lose your job or get sick? My first impulse is to say, YES. If I have a […]

Today is Valentine’s Day (obviously not Ash Wednesday) but human needs don’t wait on the liturgical calendar. Today there’s a shower for our pregnant teenage friend. She needs EVERYTHING! Although I had been saving a lot of baby gear for our own grandchildren just in case our own young adults might want them, I keep […]

I value time. I’m always trying to save it. You may remember that Jim and I are helping a teenage expectant mother with transportation and other daily needs. Yesterday I took her to a doctor’s appt. and grocery shopping which took most of the morning. The day before we made complicated arrangements so I would […]

The other side of regretting throwing something away, is being happy I saved something – for a brief moment. Last Sunday our parish had an African-American Culture Mass. About 10 years ago (when my daughter was a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa) we had matching “complets” made. (A complet is a brightly colored woman’s outfit […]

I was afraid this would happen. Last night I was looking for something different to wear to the weekly contra dance. I thought I’d pull out a long top I made several years ago – you know the kind that is longer than a top but shorter than a dress that’s worn over tights. It […]

In addition to those collection agencies that I mentioned yesterday, other ways for your goods and money to find a good home are: Free cycle It works like Craig’s list but no money is exchanged. Charity Navigator Evaluates the health and ratio of proceeds actually going to the needy for over 5,400 of America’s largest […]

Now that I’m committed to giving away at least some possessions, who should I give them to? My first thought was Goodwill since that’s where I’ve carted a lot of my stuff in the past. Good, but inconvenient. Recently I’ve been getting calls from Vietnam Veterans of America which has a van that comes right […]

Most people who are reading this blog and are rich, probably did not come by their wealth dishonestly. (In fact, most probably don’t consider themselves wealthy – at least I didn’t until I rubbed shoulders with people living in American ghettos or parts of Africa or India.) For the sake of argument, however, let’s say […]

Yes. I believe there are two ways to be “too rich.” The first is if one’s riches were obtained on the backs of the poor or vulnerable. For example, producing a shoddy or environment damaging product, not paying a living wage, capitalizing on people’s vices (like gambling, alcoholism, smoking, pimping…), or using deceitful advertizing seem […]

Yes. I was talking with a friend who grew up in poverty. She said she made a commitment then to make sure that neither she, nor any of her family, would have to face that kind of want again. In my mind there is a big difference between destitution and holy simplicity. There’s little holy […]

How can such a laudatory plan of giving stuff away induce guilt? Well, yesterday I bought two new turtleneck tops. I only planned on getting one but I could only take advantage of the sale if I got two – for the price of one. True, my current blue and white tops were pretty threadbare […]