Green and Thrifty

So remember how I was going to try and cut down on those long, hot showers? I tried a new tactic this week. Due to a manic weekend and funny tummy, I didn't have a shower for three days. When I finally managed to stand up for long enough on Tuesday morning, I did have a half-hour shower, granted, but averaged out over three days, that is a daily ten-minute shower. Now how self-restrained is that?

This week I planted a row of chives in the garden. At the end of last summer I dumped out a hanging basket of dead herbs (yes, mea culpa) down the side of the house, then a few days ago I noticed a clump of baby chives growing in that exact same place. There must have been a seed head among the dead flowers. So I carefully dug them up and planted them next to my transplanted parsley seedlings. So far my whole Spring vegie garden comprises of accidental vegies. This week I also found garlic chives growing in the brick path, and oregano seedlings in the gravel path at the front of the house. I think I might quit trying to plant out garden beds altogether, and just broadcast seeds over the hard landscaping. Clearly I am trying too hard.

Last week I was gazing thoughtfully at my quite spartan, though certainly adequate Spring wardrobe, thinking, 'Maybe this year I could look for a plaid shirt, and I'd really like a white shirt with little flowers. So Springy. But, arrrgh, shopping.' Then my lovely gym buddy Carla turned up with four bags of clothes she had cleared out of her closet. 'For your girls,' she trilled. But she has lovely, lovely clothes, and I quickly annexed at least half of them before the girls even set eyes on them. And look:

Plaid shirts, and a white shirt with tiny flowers. I am sure there were elves involved. Seriously, there are tiny people listening to my thoughts and granting wishes..

But do you know what I really love? Playing clothes swapsies with my buddies is so much more fun than going shopping like an actual grown up. I am sending a ballet jacket that Rosy has outgrown back Carla's way for her daughter, and also some excess baby chives. This is part of the endless ebb and flow of material goods that goes on every day between friends and family that keeps us all from drowning in landfill, and is doing a little bit to prevent more demand for that terrible tide of STUFF that is wrecking our lives and our fragile blue-and-green home.

And why yes, that is a pile of unfolded washing on my unmade bed.

Today was errand day for the week, and I bought some Paris-themed knick knacks for Rosy's Christmas stocking at a second-hand store. I was actually hunting for a bird cage for a budgie for Posy's birthday, but second-hand shopping is like a lucky dip, isn't it? You have to seize the day. I have decided I can't stand buying new 'stuff' anymore. It just makes me too sad and mad. I also feel that the short span of my life is too precious ever to have to spend any more of it at Target. This means my life will also become more complicated. It may make me a little anxious. What if I can't find a second-hand bird cage in a month? Can I make a bird cage out of wire coat hangers? These are all questions I haven't really addressed yet, but I feel sure I will hold forth about them at length in the coming days and weeks. I just thought I would warn you.

Tell me about stuff you were given, and stuff you gave away this week.


Linda said…
I try to pass on/donate to a Charity shop any paperbacks we have both read. Donated one a few days ago. Continuing to use up assorted body lotions, either gifted to me or brought home from hotels. Continuing to use all food before it goes off. Particularly difficult with veggies, especially salad items as their fridge-life is so short. So I food shop two or three times a week and this generally works in cutting down waste food. Been away for a few days at a family wedding and this morning I was annoyed to find I had to throw out two tomatoes, four runner beans and a decaying half lemon lying at the bottom of the salad drawer.
Anonymous said…
We just gave away 7 chooks to two new homes so that the new owners can reduce their food waste and increase their egg potential. I love thrift shopping but now that we live so far away from my regular haunts it is a rare occasion that you find narf7 bums up in a box of "stuff". I see you haven't yet been bitten by the garage saling bug? A good friend who is quite wealthy and her cohorts go to every garage sale there is. She used to have an antiques store and picked up a lot of things from garage saling. It does take early mornings though so not sure if that puts the kibosh on it a bit. The best bit is that if you actually want something, you can ring up the people to find out if they have it. Are you sure that your daughter doesn't want a hen instead of a budgie? Free? ;)
Jo said…
Linda, I love that that you are keeping books circulating. My bookshelf is a bit of a revolving door of titles that keep circulating in and out of op shops! And isn't it annoying to have to throw out food? That is why I love my compost bin - at least my mistakes turn back into food for the vegie garden..
Fran, I really love the principle of garage sales, but I am very bad at the practicalities of them. Early mornings, actually getting in the car, navigating streets I don't know, feeling bad about rejecting other peoples' stuff, especially if I am the only person there... yes, I am complete rubbish at going to garage sales. It is something I would like to improve at..
And I would love to have chickens. One day. That's another project I want to get my head around. I feel I might be rubbish at chickens too, so I am being cautious. I am so glad to hear you are sharing chicken love around. If you have any green, blue or yellow chickens who can talk, Posy would be very interested:)
Anonymous said…
Another sign you're happier: more frequent chatting on the InterWeb-blog-thing!

I feel the same way about shopping centres and cheap tat stores. I have wasted enough of my life in them. I told Mr as this morning that I had to go to buy some of my loose leaf tea and didn't really want to visit the major shopping centre. Like a hero, he found a gift of T2 loose leaf tea he'd been given at Christmas and had packed away in the garage. (Don't ask why it was there! I didn't. I was just happy he saved me the trip.)

I gave a book away today. And will pass on a magazine that I was given to read.

I don't have time to frequent op shops - they're closed when I finish work. But I like the serendipity that they present. Some days you find diamonds, some days nothing.
Jo said…
Lucinda, I really want to stay away from soul-deadening, planet-wrecking financial transactions. But I think it might be quite hard. Shopping at Target and Coles is EASY. But then sucks out your soul. And as you say, for someone who works full time, even harder..
Anonymous said…
I was super thrifty today!

I did NOT buy a Thermomix. Sir Reg was delighted and announced he wants a new vacuum cleaner.
Sir Reg isn't working at the moment, so I am embracing the slightly lower cost lifestyle - somewhat begrudgingly, I might add, particularly when Other People buy bits of car willy nilly and I am shopping at Aldi! Anyway, I am more of a giver to op shops than a forager of op shops - this is mostly a time thing though. By the time I car kids around to sport on weekends, the op shop has closed; and the two big ones near work are um. Well, you know how sometimes oppys have a pong about them? Well, these two op shops are the source of all the oppy pong. They bottle it, I am sure of it.

But one of the ways I am being a bit more Terry Tightarse (aside from shopping at Aldi, lol. We're still working out what we like/don't like, so that's a bit of an experience). But I'm meal planning and only buying the missing ingredients. This meant last week's meat was about $30 and F&V was $35, and I didn't chuck anything. I'm making crumble for breakfast from the manky fruit that can be stewed. AND instead of spending a mint (geddit, mint) on herbs that die on me (looking at YOU, Basil); I've bought a packet of seeds. So I now have 75-100 opportunities to murder some basil instead of my normal three or four. And chives. I kill them as well.
Anonymous said…
Jo, you're so inspiring! I love that you have also made the pact to not shop at "new shops". We are also exclusively op shoppers unless desperate. I'm trying to focus now on only buying natural fibre clothes as we rarely leave anything in a fit state to return to the op shop or share on afterwards (clothes go through 3 kids before being done with and mine are mended and worn until too stained and patched to be worn in public whereafter they're only worn at home) so I want to be able to compost them. :)
The elves are rewarding you for staying frugal and earth-kind despite the less than easy year you've had. :)
Jo said…
Miss Maudy, you are so champion green and thrifty this week:) I imagine that being on a budget the thermomix was not too hard to say NO to. I almost died when I found out how much they cost! Kudos to you for all your thrifty grocery savings, and hoping all goes well with you on your severely reduced budget:(
Ah, yes, herbs, kill them all the time. I am about to plant basil inside, as too dodgy outside yet in Tas. Being as I always kill house plants, this will be an interesting experiment.
Jess, I am always super impressed at your second hand bargains and ingenuity. You are my new role model:) Love the idea of your natural fabric composting plan.
Jen's Busy Days said…
I like the clothes composting idea. I wonder if old thin flannel pjs will work for lining plant pots before putting in soil. So much flows out when I water a newly put together pot. And my pjs have all decided this is the year to tear across the shoulders or at the buttons.

Jen in NSW

Popular Posts