Use it up, wear it out

Leftover pizza for breakfast is my favorite.  That’s the cool thing about food: either you eat it, or it goes bad – so you have to eat it (except for those very processed foods that last forever, meh) but you can’t really save your leftover pizza indefinitely.

So why is it that when we save up and buy that amazing thing that we’ve wanted for ages – we become afraid to use it?  We save it for a special day.

My sister Hanna had this adorable habit when she was a little girl – if someone gave her a wrapped present, she wouldn’t open it for days because she enjoyed looking at the beautiful wrapping  and wanted to save that moment of discovery when she tore the gift open.  Nowadays, she tends to wear new clothing almost as soon as she buys it.  Even though little-Hanna was cute, adult-Hanna has got the right idea: use it up!  Her theory: what if she dies and never gets to wear that beautiful new silk scarf?

I’ve heard countless stories (and some in my family) where someone only used the “good” dinnerware on “special” occasions.  How often does a special occasion happen? And who are we saving this stuff for, people we see once a year?  What about everyday dinner with our family being a special occasion, and using our best  stuff for the people that matter most, the ones we live with.

Without losing our concept of the value of things, I think it is precisely because things are valuable to us that we must use them.  What good is a thing if it cannot bring us joy, if it instead leaves us feeling anxious or nervous that we might break it.

I sometimes do this thing (when I buy a really expensive dress, for example) where I think : okay, if I wear this dress 10 times, that’s about 100 rand per wear.  This process of rationalization also ensures that I get the most use out of my stuff.

Someone once waited so long to open a new pretty bottle of perfume that when she opened it, the scent had been completely corrupted and smelt quite bad actually. What a waste.  The thing is, if you think using stuff up too quickly is a waste, consider not using it at all – which is an even bigger waste.

So: use it up, wear it out, enjoy it.


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