On October 5, 2012, we had a house fire. My husband, 7-year old son and I were out at the time and the firefighters saved our cat, but nevertheless, our lives were severely disrupted as we had to find a new home to live in while our house was rebuilt. The fire had been in the garage and laundry room where we stored extra art, clothing, sports gear, baby clothes, Christmas decorations and the like. Most of those we lost. But our furniture and possessions were merely smoke-damaged, and the insurance paid to have them cleaned, boxed or bagged and returned to us in our rental house. There were literally hundreds of boxes of books, papers, toys and kitchen wares, and pile upon pile of clothes. It struck me then that even though we had lost a lot in the fire, we still had way too much stuff.
I have always tried to live fairly simply, but our culture drives us to consume. I am as guilty as anyone of acquiring too much, often to make myself feel better or look better, or because the new thing will make my life simpler somehow. Right after the fire, I decided we had to reduce our stuff before we moved back to our home. We gave away clothes to our local thrift store and held two yard sales. After moving back and unpacking (again!) we had another yard sale. Yet, in the time since we moved back in, the house has become cluttered again.
So this year, 2015, I am vowing not only to buy less but also to choose something to give away to a person or organization every day, and to blog about the process. And because I am not simply getting rid of things but gifting them, I want to do so thoughtfully, honoring the objects I have owned and the people to whom I am giving them. I hope that through the process of giving things, I will shift my focus from the stuff in my life to the people. This is My Daily Giveaway.
Meher McArthur, Los Angeles, January 1, 2015