Living Lightly

Susan Vogt on living more simply but abundantly

Browsing Posts in The Process

A contradance friend recently announced a dress swap. This is not an unusual event in the contradance world. Women bring swirly dresses that they are tired of and swap them for someone else’s. The dresses are not usually the kind you’d wear for work so it’s more for fun than practicality. My friend added a […]

While we’re on a costume theme, I thought you’d enjoy the two dresses I donated to our local contra dance dress swap. As you may know, contra dancing is a form of folk dancing that has some similarities to square dancing except we don’t dance in squares or wear costumes, i.e. skirts over petticoats for […]

One of our son’s has a model airplane that he’s never put together. In fact, he’s never even taken the cellophane off the box. The story goes that he received it as a birthday present when he was about 13 but wasn’t real keen on it. He saved it and later when he needed to […]

All this giving away has created a surplus of hangers in our house. I’ve used the pretty plastic left over hangers as far as they would go, so here are the ugly wire ones and a few pants/skirts hangers. Should I just throw them away? Is there a way to recycle them? They are a […]

I just learned that our married son’s house was broken into. Two computers and other electronics were taken along with some jewelry. Having survived several burglaries when Jim and I were newly marrieds, I know how upsetting this can be. Even if you have insurance, it’s a hassle to replace things and some items are […]

…a smell. While I was perusing the garage for things I could give away I couldn’t help noticing a foul odor. At first I thought it was an old bag of ammonium nitrate fertilizer. We hadn’t used it in years but I was afraid to put it in the garbage since it might be classified […]

As I focus on giving my extra stuff away, it seems like others keep giving to me. At first I felt frustrated, like the giving was going in the wrong direction. Then, I decided that receiving and being grateful was also a gift. In a sense, when I give, I am in control. It’s good […]

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 […]