I’m frugal. My husband is frugal. Our parents raised us this way, because they were raised this way and their parents were raised in this same way. And although I feel so blessed to have been taught the value of a penny at such a young age, I often feel uneasy when I recognize my love and appreciation for beautiful, well-designed (often expensive) objects. My mind focuses on the price tag – my soul on the shape and the texture and the detail. It’s an inner struggle that feels petty to admit, as there are much more worthy causes than the ever-important quest for a beautiful laundry detergent.
But then I re-read this post and your tremendous comments. And I realized that, in my own life, I’m choosing quiet. I’m choosing calm and peace and beauty. And for me, that includes visual pollution. It might mean transferring boxes of cereal into non-branded containers. It might mean mixing my own cleaning solutions. Or, in today’s case, it might mean spending more on packaging that doesn’t subconsciously bring stress and energy and anxiety into my home and mind and family.
Author Charlotte Moss once wrote, “We must occasionally remind ourselves of our brief visit on this planet. Shouldn’t we try to express ourselves clearly, make a personal stamp on our environment, and pay attention to the details that make the difference?” And I suppose that’s why my surroundings are so important to me. They’re details – a loose narrative, a personal stamp, a collective visual diary of artifacts and mementos and souvenirs that illustrate our daily lives.
I want my diary entry to be one that reflects mindfulness, written with the ink of passion and soul and beauty. And whether or not the pen I hold is more expensive than its traditional alternative, it will always hold more value. Not because of the price tag, but because of the story.
Because in my opinion, being frugal doesn’t mean purchasing fewer items or cheaper products. It means living a lifestyle with little waste. With a watchful eye. With a thoughtful spirit.
A life of immense value.
A typographic box of spaghetti certainly doesn’t guarantee a life of value. But if your diary reads anything like mine, it might just provide a bit of beauty in the margins.
I’m celebrating those margins today with a few functional, well-designed objects that provide beauty in the everyday (pictured above). Here’s to a beautiful diary for us all:
1. Cheese paper bags ($12) at Terrain
2. Burroughs beard oil ($28) at Prospector Co.
3. Schoolhouse cloth extension cord ($39) at Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.
4. Natural mechanical pencil ($42) at Pulp
5. Equilateral nails ($28) at Winsome Brave
6. Wood cutting board ($160) at General Store
7. Aesop cleansing masque ($39) at Artilleriet
8. Gold handle shears ($43) at Hancock’s
9. Small Batch Tonic ($32) at Jack Rudy Cocktail Co.
10. Marvis whitening mint toothpaste ($15) at Barneys New York
11. Gold coffee spoon set ($46) at Magpie & Rye
12. Hay’s cloth pegs ($23) at A+R
13. Grano Duro spaghetti ($12) at Terrain
14. One-hand tape dispenser ($125) at Canoe
15. Animal shampoo ($42) at Artilleriet
16. Ballo toilet brush ($68) at Royal Design
17. Tyvek reusable tote ($16) at Vault
18. Organic apothecary salts ($12) at Fig+Yarrow
19. Fierzo desk organizer ($58) at A+R
p.s. For utilitarian shoppers, Kaufmann Mercantile is a must visit.