Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Rules for simpler living

Don't warm up butter before you try to spread it. Just cut off thick slabs of the cold butter and lay them side by side on the bread, leaving small gaps inbetween so there's somewhere for the honey to go when you press the two slices of bread together.

Don't recycle anything at all (unless, like me, you find composting a fascinating recreation).

Don't buy socks of only one colour. All my socks are black, but each pair is subtly different from every other pair, and I also have three odd socks. I keep these because one of the paired ones might develop a hole, and if that happened the newly widowed sock might just match one of the old odd socks.

If you have obsessive-compulsive tendencies, do not buy coloured hangers. We have many plastic hangers and I am always tempted to match the hue of the hanger to the hue of the garment. I also feel the need to arrange the hangers in rainbow order. The pink, cream, brown and grey hangers worry me: should pink, for instance, be a subdivision of red, or should the pastel and murky colours be arranged in a separate series? Checked and striped clothes also worry me.

Don't have more than one handbag. All my stuff (and I do mean all) is in a single handbag. I can't always find what I want in its cavernous depths, but I can be sure that it is in there somewhere. If I need the item quickly, I get Paddy to extract it for me, because he searches systematically whereas I just scrabble.

Don't buy lots of household cleaning fluids. All you need is one cleaner (any non-corrosive kind will do), and a dog (to deal with food spills).


  1. In good humor, I can suggest one more rule for simpler living: "If you have not used it in a year, throw it away!"

    This entails painful internal conflicts at times. A solution is a large, clear-plastic box having a big label: OIWO (for On Its Way Out). This is a sort of half-way house for favored but useless possessions.

    Yearly, re-examine the contents of the box while playing an Enya-Celtic walking song. Then decide whether to empty the box into the nearest dumpster or selectively take back one or two items for possible use in the coming year. Maybe.

  2. Burgess: I would have to call that an OMG (Oh My God) box. Seriously, that is excellent advice. However, I'm not sure I understand the part about the Enya song. I find Enya's music deeply depressing, but I assume that is not the effect their walking songs would have on most people. Is the idea that a brisk piece of music will invigorate you as you consign everything to the "delete forever" bin?

  3. You have named the two elements I hear in her "walking songs." First, yes, there is a sense of the forlorn in them, but, second, they are "walking" songs in that they convey a sense of steady motion onward--a pagan sort of "Onward Christian Soldiers."

    Perhaps I should not attempt humor in writing. Your own humor energized me.

    Best to you.