The Things We “Need”

by Christina Brown · 6 comments

in Frugal Living

I was cleaning the counters the other day when I glanced at the ratty-looking, stained piece of blue fabric that was once a respectable toaster cover and said  “I need to get a new toaster cover.”

And then I laughed.

Need a toaster cover?  It’s so ridiculous. It’s a dust cover for an appliance that I use everyday.  The toaster won’t feel ashamed if it sits on the counter in its natural state.

My mother gave me this particular toaster cover more than a decade ago when I was starting my career as a fledgling journalist at a small town newspaper.  I should say that she inadvertently pulled me from a staff meeting to give it to me.

All of my co-workers kept asking, “What did your mom bring you?” and I kept on brushing them off.  After all, I was a grown-up.  A young adult.  Someone who was old enough to live on her own, but not so old as to need a toaster cover.

After I got over the initial embarrassment of  the well-intentioned gift, I actually grew to appreciate the toaster cover. Even now that it’s all stained and tattered from years of sitting on my counter, I still smile when I see it.

You see we often get caught up in our emotional attachment to things.  They become ties to the people we love.  We convince ourselves that we need things, but the truth is, we want them to make us feel connected.

No, I don’t need a new toaster cover.  I don’t even need the one I have.

But I think I’ll keep it just a little bit longer.   Just because.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Raylene June 29, 2010 at 12:25 pm

Thank you so much for sharing your heartwarming story about your toaster cover. It got me thinking about the gifts that I may have given my daughter and hope she feels the same sentiment about something I gave her over the years.



2 Doug C. June 29, 2010 at 12:42 pm

Hi Christina, great post. My mom is always giving me things, too. She loves to give me stuff to hang on my walls. Old frames, photos, decoupage, etc. I’m going to be putting some photos of these things up on my Flickr account. If you’re interested I can post the link here when I’m done. Perhaps we should start a ‘Things We Need’ Flickr group.


3 Carrie June 29, 2010 at 3:54 pm

prior to reading this post i had never even heard of or imagined a toaster cover so i’d say you definitely don’t need a new one but i can understand your reasons for wanting to keep the old one.


4 Heather June 29, 2010 at 9:10 pm

Ok – now I want to see a photo of the toaster cover! Well written, it’s good to recognize the emotional attachments we have with objects. And our illogical “needs”.


5 CJ June 30, 2010 at 4:14 pm

I still use the dishes, silverware, pots and pans and kitchen table that my mom gave when I moved out on my own 23 years ago. Sure I could use new ones of all of those items, but they’d never be as great as the ones I have, because the ones I have are made out of love :)


6 July 4, 2010 at 12:15 pm

I understand the attachment to the toaster cover (and yes I actually know what one is even, but don’t have one)…I have an ancient Betty Crocker Cookbook that my parents gave me 25+ years ago. Although it has seen so many better days I can’t bear to part with it. They both signed it and my dad is gone now. It is something that is irreplaceable.

So your toaster cover is old and tattered but that is just more memories that it is carrying for you. Hang on to the ‘old girl’…


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