Like most families, we received some nice Christmas gifts. Two weeks later, I also received a call from the Lupus organization that picks up household items to sell. The proceeds go to the Lupus Foundation. I noticed some happy coincidences. Even though I didn’t make a conscious effort to have the gifts coming in equal my outgoing donations, it seems like it’s been happening naturally. Maybe it’s the habit of trying to live a “one in-one out” lifestyle. Maybe it’s good karma. Maybe it’s just dumb luck.

Anyway, as I looked around at what was left in my Give-Away bin, it became apparent that many of the items were there because we had gotten a replacement as a gift. For example:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

This was Jim’s contribution. I had gotten him a flannel shirt for Christmas so he was willing to get rid of the red sweater. The catch was that the sweater had a hole. I sucked it up and mended the hole. Not a perfect job, but good enough to give it away without undue guilt.
Skirt & Top
I had decided to give these away awhile ago but never got around to it. Letting go of these helps to justify the nice dress our daughter gave me.
Long Underwear
I hadn’t planned to give this away but when I put my new wool base layer top in a drawer, it was too crowded. Solution: get rid of the former long underwear that was a little too snug anyway.
Jim does most of the cooking in our family so I gave Jim a new wok for his birthday which is right after Christmas. Our old wok was still usable but the bottom didn’t sit nicely on our new stove surface. (It works fine on a gas or electric coil burners.)
Tea Kettle
I also gave Jim a new tea Kettle. I know, it sounds boring, but he asked for it. More on this in a later blog because disposing of the old one is a story in itself.
I had bought new gloves a little before Christmas because my others had stretched out. I found them in the Give-Away bin.

Working the equation with children:
A variation of this process is what some families with young children do. Either before or after Christmas, a parent suggests that the child donate one toy to a needy family to teach generosity and to keep the net gain of toys under control. We only discovered this idea after our children were grown. I wonder how they would have taken to it.

Days 365+86 Misc water filtersThere were a number of other miscellaneous items that didn’t fit the “one in–one out” formula but were ready to leave home. We also let go of: a cutting board, shoes, cap, purse, necklace, welcome sign, table runner, and 5 unused water filters left over from a long term guest who didn’t like the taste of our city water. Does this mean we can justify bringing 12 new items into our home? I don’t think so. This is not a zero sum game. Don’t forget the spirit is to not accumulate more than we need.

Question: How do you keep control of creature comfort creep?