Sometimes, I just have to make things work. There’s the everyday stuff like getting the laundry done, feeding the husband, getting dressed in the morning, finding enough shelves for our books. Then there’s the bigger stuff like keeping our commitments, going on a date night, turning our spare bedroom into a kid room. I might not have enough money, time, energy, or resources, but I still have to make the everyday stuff work. Here’s how.
I shop my house. There are times when I want to do a house project and I don’t have the right materials. Thanks to Pinterest, I’m learning how to think outside the box, so I look for different ways to use what I already have. I substituted (washed out many times) glass peanut butter and pickle jars for mason jars. I plan on using an old white comforter as a duvet instead of buying a new one. I do this with recipes, too–if I don’t have one particular ingredient, I see what else I have. Instead of stuffed peppers, I had frozen pepper strips, so I just made a stirfry of the pepper innards with the strips.
I wait days before I actually purchase something. There’s a saying that before you buy, you should wait about 24 hours to see if you still want it. If at the end of the 24, you can’t remember the item, then you won’t buy it. Well, I don’t know about you, but I have an amazing memory, so things aren’t as easily forgettable. Instead, I’ll wait a week. Oftentimes our budget makes me wait a month or more. If, by the time I have money, it is still an item on my “To-Buy” list, then I go for it. Most of the time, I’ve figured how to make things work without it. Or I realize I’d rather spend my money on something else.
I read fashion blogs. No one will ever call me a trendsetter, but things to fashion blogs and Pinterest, I’ve learned how to take what I have and use it in a different way. This makes me feel like I have a whole new wardrobe in some ways. And it makes packing for trips so much easier.
I purge everything in sight. This is similar to shopping your house, because you have no idea what you actually have until you start getting rid of things. I usually find old makeup bags or tiny storage containers tucked into drawers that I didn’t know I had. Oftentimes I still donate/throwaway/sell, but other times I use the newly rediscovered stuff to help me make things work.
I borrow. I’m so lucky to have friends and go to a church that constantly thinks of their belongings as being God’s and not theirs. It’s not uncommon for us to borrow tools, movies, craft stuff, books, etc., from our friends and it’s not uncommon that they borrow the same from us. If we think of our stuff as being ours, we’re less apt to give it up. But if we think of our stuff as God’s, then we’re more apt to lend it to people who will lend us things back.
I suck it up and go without. It’s really hard to see what other people have. It’s hard to be on Pinterest and want to cook that dinner or wear those clothes or buy a sewing machine to make that quilt. It’s really hard to get dressed in the mornings when I have nothing to wear. But you know what? I suck it up. I push away the thoughts about how I am inadequate because of what I own and try to tell myself that I am adequate because of who I belong to. I can’t let my stuff define me, and you can’t either. So sometimes you just have to suck it up, go without, and make things work. And usually, by the next morning or end of the week, that feeling has passed and you’re already on to the next thing.
I make it work because I have to. We don’t have the luxury of buying what I want or need when I want or need it. When I started out last summer having to figure out how to make things work, my heart wasn’t in it. I threw a temper tantrum about once a week. I’ve struggled heavily with the burden of making things work. And that’s when I realized I was letting my stuff define me. I was letting my circumstance define me. When I finally was able to get over that and to start enjoying the life I was already living, making it work became more of a fun part of my day than the part I dreaded the most. And now, six months into it, I can’t imagine not making things work.