Sep 10, 2008

Shopping in My Mom's Closet

My mom is a garage saling addict. She buys soooo much stuff that she doesn't need, that when I got home this time, all of the closets were bursting, the shed was full, and one bathtub was filled 5 feet high with used clothes, pillows, blankets, and rugs. It was scary. Of course, this is mostly Compact friendly shopping, but the clutter is insane.

My dad hates it and I kinda freaked out, so my mom is doing one of her big purges. I should mention that the true impetus of the purge was neither my dad's protestations at the state of his home or my anxious assertions that my mom must be lonely. Though I had tried to tie her consumption tenets of her faith, it was really a nicely time sermon by her preacher about 10 days ago that got her started. He spoke about service and sharing and suddenly my mom is all about it. Halellujah.

I've always said you can't dictate people's motivations for conservation. The Compact's openness about motivation has facilitated it's growth. I hear from people who want to consume less because of ecological concerns, financial realities, religious beliefs, moral considerations, anti-capitalist leanings, family relationships, etc. So I don't approach my mom with The Story of Stuff. That might renew my own resolve, but it would probably just overwhelm my mom with negativity and the enormity of consumption.

I was trying to appeal to my mom using her passion for Church. I messed up when I basically said that "waste" wasn't in line with the teachings of Jesus, who was radical in his sharing. I also commented on the stewardship theory within Christianity, which dictates that we care for the planet. It was the wrong way to go. It was negative and she needed something positive. Sounded like her preacher talked mostly about how sharing with people less fortunate was a joyous thing. I guess I've never learned from my own experiences with Church: Focusing on the sin, the negative, the ways we're bad, is not motivating. Emphasising the kinder, more beautiful aspects of Christianity was always more inspiring to me, and apparently to Mom, as well.

I would personally like to take a backhoe to her closet and scoop 2/3rds out and just dump it into a thrift store. She's more methodical. As she pulls stuff out she tries to get me to take hats, shoes, coats, and the weirdest socks you've ever seen. Some stuff is tempting, other stuff I have to find a nice way to refuse. Luckily I have limited space in my bags and that seems to be working very well.

My sister was helping me pack back in SF and rolled her eyes when I considered taking a pair of holey house shoes to London. "You can get a pair from Mom, I'm sure". Indeed the pair I was contemplating had been a gift from Mom a few years back. Erica was right. And I love the house shoes that Mom gave me! They're so comfy, warm, well treaded, and free! I think I'm taking a coat too. It's not my style at all but I don't have a warm coat and they're expensive so being picky isn't really an option. There's a wasps' nest in the shed so we can't get up in there but I'm really interested to see if there are other warm things that I can scrounge up there. But wasps are scary so my scrounging may be limited to in house adventures.

HMMM, I am going to have to buy shoes. Anyone got any recommendations for a good walking shoe that keeps your feet fairly dry in rain? I've got boots for rain but I don't love cycling in them so I'm looking for a reasonable shoe. I'm not finding much since most sport shoes are so well ventilated. Shoes are a bit of a health item for me, formerly a professional exception for my dog walking. I have to wear custom orthotics and stability shoes for my injured knee. But I don't want wet feet all the time. I'm stumped but looking.

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