An idea for the shoppers among us

bronwynsmomAugust 23, 2008

Lots of us have said that we love to shop and buy things, and that the clutter comes from indulging too much in that pleasure.

So this afternoon I had a thought...

What if, instead of shopping for things we don't need, and then having to spend time organizing them, and eventually getting rid of half of them, and feeling a little ashamed of the waste and indulgence....what if we went shopping once a week, with our own money, for a local battered women's shelter, or the food bank, or a homeless shelter, or Habitat, or a church group that repairs houses for low-income elderly people?

What if we thought about what we spend in a given month on things we really don't need, and then we saved half, and spent the other half on new things for people who really need them? Doesn't that seem more efficient somehow? We get the pleasure of shopping, and people get stuff they want and need, and we cut out the middle phase of figuring out what to do with it all in the meanwhile???

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What a great idea! My sons and I went shopping for school supplies today. Target had really great sales, so I picked up two bags of stuff for our church. We're collecting school supplies for one of the inner city elementaries. Tomorrow we're having a "Blessing of the Backpacks" where all the kids are supposed to bring their backpacks & school supplies to be blessed, plus all the stuff the church has collected for 2nd Ave Elementary will also be blessed.

It made me feel like I wasn't buying extra stuff the boys don't need. Instead I'm buying it for a kid whose parents can't afford it!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2008 at 10:43PM
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That's such a sweet and thoughtful suggestion!
My dream is to open a free furniture and accessory shop for needy people. Our local free daycare and parent center for needy people has a smallish free "Store" like that. Once they've done background checks to determine if someone is truly in need of something, they are cleared to go "shopping" in the "store" for it. Be it clothes, furniture, blankets, toys, school supplies, non-perishable food stuffs, appliances, etc. It makes me happy to know that I'm helping someone who really needs it when I donate our things to them. We donate, clothes, school supplies, furniture, towels, blankets, appliances, cookware, etc. on a regular basis. I especially love to take my kids Christmas shopping for new toys,etc. early in December and donate them for PBJ's parents to wrap up and give to their kids.
I'm hoping that I can get someone to donate a warehouse for me to use and work in tandem with PBJ.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 12:37PM
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Great idea!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 12:53PM
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Bronwynsmom, what a neat idea. I have to admit I'm not much of a shopper anymore, unless our daughter is home on leave. I do donate to our local thrift stores. One is local churches to fund the town's pantry. The other is the hospital's to fund their various charities.

I'd like to donate a couple pieces of furniture (bought from each thrift store) that I've repurposed for them to auction off. I've been so busy lately getting things done around home I've not had the time or found just the right items to repurpose.

We do often adopt a family at Christmas to buy things for them from their list. It's much easier now that we no longer by for our extended families.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 1:30PM
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That is a wonderful idea. I did that with school supplies when they were on sale and do try to to that at Christmas when I have the money. Giving to others comes back to you in so many ways.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 2:45PM
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This is a generous thought, but it's not really going to work for me.

I don't overshop from GENEROUS motives, or even from a desire to spend money to prove I can.

I overshop because I'm trying to create something in MY life. I buy a gadget because I think it might work for me; I buy clothes because having them in my closet makes me feel good, because buying beautiful clothes for me makes ME feel beautiful. I buy household goods because I want to make my home feel gracious and rich and welcoming, etc.

Buying stuff for the needy isn't going to scratch that particular itch. I have to deal w/ the itch itself--by redefining it out of existance, and by facing the reality (that my home will feel rich, gracious & welcoming if I spend time taking care of it; that I'll feel beautiful if I sleep & eat right; that the gadgets will or won't help, but they're no substitute for time spend caring for my home, family, and routines).

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 3:44PM
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Talley Sue, what you describe is a good thing...I do the same things myself. I do find I need to examine the effectiveness of each thing to achieve what I want from it, and to make sure it really is about the beauty and quality of the things, and not about wanting to substitute quality things for being a person of substance. A friend of mine once said over a drink that she realized she was creating a stage set for a play she had neglected to write yet.
So you just keep doing it your way...anybody who has spent any time on this forum knows you to be enormously generous with your thoughts and ideas and inspiration, and that is enough. Not that you need me to tell you that!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 7:50PM
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The post office near my office used to have an "angel Tree" at Christmas. An Angel Tree is decorated with letters from needy kids. You pick a letter off the tree, read the letter, and try to get the kid as many gifts as you can. I read a bunch of these letters. They are heartbreaking. Most of these kids need clothes, they don't even ask for games or toys. My office used to take as many letters as we could, then shopped for these kids and delivered the gifts. Each letter id very specific, it shows the age and sex of the child and what they need, including sizes. I used to really enjoy doing this. Most of my co-workers were older women, some had kids of their own, but you got a good feeling buying Christmas gifts for a needy child.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2008 at 12:09PM
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