When I was a teenager my mom bought me the most beautiful white eyelet dress. It was just the right length, right size, right fit, right everything. But I only wore it once. The rest of the time it hung safely in my closet. Quite honestly I was afraid to wear it. It was expensive and white and I was afraid I might spill something on it or stain it. So it hung in my closet for years, until one day as I was packing away summer items I noticed that the dress had turned yellow. (I had inadvertently hung it on a metal hanger.) Ironically I managed to do the one thing I feared; destroy it.
Looking back on that dress I realize that I wasted my parent’s money. It was not a waste that my mom bought me an expensive dress rather than a cheap one, it is a waste that I didn’t wear it more often. A lot of people waste their possessions. How many women do you know that set aside perfume bottles for special occasions, but years later find the perfume has spoiled? Or buy dresses for special occasions and years later find they’ve outgrown them. Think about your own possessions. Do you have the perfect dress pushed away in the back of your closet or your finest china stored away unused in a cabinet?
Over the past few weeks as I’ve been cleaning out my home, I’ve been amazed by the number of items I’ve set aside for special occasions. Clothes, jewelry, dishes, even cutlery. The greatest waste is not in purchasing a rarely used item, it’s in setting aside the item for a special occasion. Regardless of the cost of an item, the truth of the matter is that objects are objects meant to be worn and used and relished. The point of frugality is not to avoid purchases entirely, rather it is to fully enjoy each possession.