June and July Accounting

Here I am, halfway through my year of choosing not to buy new stuff wherever possible. You know what? I am so happy. I rarely go to the shops except for groceries. I reluctantly drag myself to the op-shop when I feel I want more things, but do you know what else? I do not need more stuff from Target. Ever. It's great.

Why not buy new? In a word, externalities. All of us who can access the intenet on an electronic device, are more or less the 1% of the world's population who benefit unfairly from the sweat, habitat destruction, pollution, ill health, exploitation and death of the 99% whose lives are degraded in some way so that we can have machines to wash our clothes and make our toast, and have access to cheap t-shirts and chocolate.

One day I woke up and the invisible wake of destruction that trails behind my trips to Target suddenly became unbearable, so I have started on a different path to providing for my needs and wants, and those of my lovely children, dog, two cats and two budgies.

Here are my guidelines:

1 Make do with what I have.
2 Try to find what I need second hand - there is a world of stuff out there that needs to be rescued and used again.
3 Buy from a local craftsperson.
4 As a last resort, buy from a local, independent store, so that at least my money stays in my community.

So how did I go in June and July?

Bought new: One watch battery for The Girl. Oh yes. That is all. This makes me very happy.

Bought second hand: 

One oldey-timey glass measuring jug. "But Jo," I hear you say, "Surely you already have a measuring jug?" Never fear, see below.

One beautiful blue and cream wool blanket.

One small ceramic pot for my bedside table. Turns out 'lepeltjes' is Dutch for 'spoons'.

And I really needed a small spoon pot, so it just goes to show...

And for some reason we keep breaking bowls. Not plates or mugs or glasses, just bowls. So I have been collecting new ones when I see them. Blue and white.

One week The Girl was a bit stressed and overwhelmed with work, and thought that she might feel better if she had her own egg cup. Preferably one with cute ducks. I said I would see what I could do. Well, sometimes I am just the most amazing mother! (note the duck's feet seem to be on backwards..)

My mum and dad came to visit, and Mum and I went op-shopping and I found this nice hippy-librarian cardi that I wear to work with a tweed skirt, also from the op-shop. I really do have an inner-librarian who needs her day in the sun every so often (which is all good. I adore librarians).

I also bought Rosy a top from the op-shop, which she loves so much she hasn't even tried it on yet! If she doesn't show any interest, I will annexe it for myself. I was only being nice in offering it to her first anyway..

Gifts from the Universe: Mum and dad brought with them a collection of china from my grannies, who are no longer with us:( But I now have some of their beautiful china and I think of them every time I use it.

This beautiful pumpkin-and-cabbage-leaf plate from Grandma Hazel that now graces my living room end table.

An afternoon-tea set from Grandma Muriel. Afternoon tea is a very under-rated meal, but from now on comes with its own china.

The Girl also inherited a number of special kitchen bits and bobs from the grannies which she can take away with her to university next year and remember her great-grandmas every time she cooks:) 

Returned to the Universe with Thanks: The Girl has gone on a university tour with her dad, and is also visiting her big brother on the way. I sent a collection of extra-to-requirements crockery and kitchenware to The Boy, via her, including my old Pyrex measuring jug! (Remember the one in - one out rule!!) The Man has also moved out another bunch of his stuff to his new apartment, and I keep finding more stuff for him, hoping he'll take it away:)

So here I am at the half-way point of my experiment, and really, can't imagine ever living any other way. There will always be some things I will need to buy new - for instance, August is 'build a chicken palace' month, so I will be buying wire and posts and concrete, while also re-using as much as I can.. but mindless consumption? I don't think I can do that any more. It feels so good!


Unknown said…
Love the cardie. Still decluttering this end, Another box of novels went out today. I have cupboards of lovely crytal, wedgewood, china plates. Mostly gifts. I dont want to sell so im gifting to the next generation down.
Anonymous said…
Check out your local tip/transfer station for posts and wire. It's amazing what you can find. Who knows, you might just find what you're looking for. Concrete? Kinda sorta hafta go new on that one but if you know someone who's having a slab laid, the trucks often have a bit extra that they don't need. If you have everything ready (holes dug and posts waiting) and the necessary transport (trailer, buckets etc) then you might get your concrete as surplus and that has to be as good as second hand, right? ;)
Jo said…
Good on you Lynda, making memories for the next generation. But doesn't it make you determined not to give gifts that end up in cupboards?

Jessie, I am going to pop into our brand new tip shop this week, although a friend said there wasn't much in the way of building materials. This is the particular issue with second hand, isn't it? The time factor. If I could wait until next year for chickens I am sure I could do it all second hand..
everything is so lovely - I especially love the glass jog and the soft blue blanket. I especially love the very specificness if the spoon pot.
but the duck with the back to front feet - I couldn't live with that. the anatomical wrongness disturbs me!
Jo said…
e, I love the spoon pot, but am completely mystified about it.. and luckily oddly wrong things don't bother me, except for time travel in movies.. that is generally outrageously disturbing..
Anonymous said…
Externalities bother me too. But I tend to forget them when I am see a new dress that I love. That said I hardly visit shopping centres and if I do, rarely go into Target or KMart or other discount places.

Love the tea set. I will look forward to afternoon tea with it in January. Mr S loves a well made cup of tea too!
Jo said…
I am hearing you Lucinda, but I am finding that not going into any shops except op-shops has cured me.. I find I kind of look at shops like they are an interesting anthropological phenomenon, but nothing to do with me. But then, I don't like shopping anyway, so maybe that's not such a stretch..

Will endeavour to rise to Mr Sans exacting tea standards when required:)

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