Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Kitchen towels (Πετσέτες κουζίνας)

Throughout my frugal life, I've learnt not to waste. Even when I don't like something that I own, I still use it and don't replace it until I really really need to. That's why I have a very functional rather than a beautiful home.
I knew they needed to be changed...
I recently noticed how bloody awful my tea towels looked. They were a remnant of my mother's chattels which she had never used. She was a hoarder in a good sense: On emigrating to New Zealand for a better life, she had hoped that one day she would return to her homeland with all the things she had accumulated from her adopted consumeristic lifestyle. Once back home, she would start using the things she had hoarded. For a long time, therefore, she lived with old things (some of which I now have and still use), and the new things she bought remained in the many storage cupboards she had built in our New Zealand home when we got it renovated.

She didn't make it back to Greece, nor did she make to old age, so all this stuff was left in the cupboards. On her death, my father made the decision to leave New Zealand forever and come to live in his homeland, my mother's long-term illness being the only thing that had held him back all those years. He was too depressed to sort out what to take and what to leave behind, so the container workers packed everything they found in the house.
... but I also knew that they still looked like the gaudy unused ones that are still lying around in my cupboards.
I ended up with many items from the hoardings of my mother's frugal life (some of which she was probably keeping for her kids' dowries), most of which was all very useful but not really in the style I would have liked to buy, if I were spending my own money buying the same things myself. The kitchen towels look rather gaudy now, a result of their cheap quality origins (PRC). But that's not what I saw when I unpacked them out of the containers. I just saw some useful stuff I could use in my home.

The supermarket special read: €2.99 each - buy 1, get 1 free. 
It wasn't really a frugal decision of mine to buy new tea towels yesterday, since I still had some of my mother's leftovers lurking in my cupboards, but it feels liberating to be free of the same tired old sight. I now notice how very similar to my mother I am in terms of picking home furnishings - she would buy the whole range of colours in the same style of kitchen towel, rather like what I did yesterday. And of course, she always bought cheaply. After all, stuff outlives us all, and it's simply not worth much more than our own lives.

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