More With Less

 Margaret and John are masters of making beautiful things for their garden out of bits and pieces that John finds at the tip:)

A thing that I would like to pursue from now on is to meet more of the needs in my life with even less resources than I currently do. A few years ago I decided to try living without buying new stuff. That is pretty much second nature now. I do buy a few new things - fair trade underwear, bits and pieces for building projects. I just bought a replacement battery for my cordless drill. But, it would be interesting to see if I can meet my needs using what I have, with more making and making do, and let's be honest, making things up as I go along, as mostly happens.

This is not some great big challenge for a year or anything, just a bit of a challenge to self, involving pottering, experimenting and thinking outside the box for ways to meet my needs without running out to buy things. I say this while also planning to have a builder friend build me a verandah and maybe get some kind of solar set-up happening, plus water tanks. None of these will be magically whipped up out of cardboard and string by me, but the idea is, that there be enough capital available for investing in useful things and not to have it all frittered away on the hundreds of small purchases that have, in past years, consumed a large portion of our household income.

If you are like me, middle class and middle aged.. then however small your income is now, as mine is, you no doubt have a house full of things and need to add very little, if anything to a possibly already rather cluttered life. And yet, when decluttering, throwing things 'away' is a myth. There is no 'away'. And op-shops are starting to experience peak stuff. So much is being donated that they can't take any more. I am thinking that the things I now own, tucked away in drawers and cupboards and filling up a good third of Rosy's attic hideaway, could be the raw building blocks of most of what I want to replace into the future. Well, this is my plan, anyway. I will at least try to fulfil my future need for stuff by using up what I have before venturing out, even to the op-shop. I think it is better to prevent waste by not having anything leave my home before it has been used and re-used several times at least, than bringing more stuff into the house, however ethically it has been sourced.

I am looking forward to seeing what I can do with much, much less. Plus, I'll have a cordless drill to play with..


Anonymous said…
<3 YES!!! Thank you for an excellent post!
Anonymous said…
Love this post. This is what I try to do, I love to upcycle. It feels so good when you can come up with a new plan for something you already own.

I love the little birdhouses.
Treaders said…
You're so right. I have so much stuff in my house and basement (plus having all of my ex' stuff dumped on me when he "poofed") that I really don't know what I have. Time to find out and use it because as you say you can't always donate it any more can you. Anna
I was super interested in the fair trade underwear but the link seems to not be working correctly. I've been wearing out my clothes for the past 4 years, only buying a couple of items as replacements. I'm going to soon be at the point of replacing in the underwear department so keen to check out this option.
It's definitely an ongoing balance for me between decluttering and holding onto things that will be useful in the future (eg. too many sets of sheets - one day the current faves will wear out!).
Jo said…
Anon, I think it will be excellent! Stay tuned..

Marieann, I can come up with plenty of plans, it's the doing it that I find tricky!

Anna, sounds like a treasure hunt. You never know what you will find! I sometimes find myself playing games, such as, 'Imagine this is all I have on my desert island - how can I use this to make what I want.' The prblem is, I play that game, have dozens of good ideas, then never carry through with them. Please nag me to carry through on this..

Laura, I'm sorry about the link, it is working for me. The deliciously soft organic fair trade undies I buy are Etiko brand, google it, and look under Shop, Women, Underwear. Good luck! I am hearing you on the decision whether to keep or discard. I would hold onto the sheets too - there comes a day when they just do not hold together any more. Plus, the children decide to make forts out of all the sheets and all the pegs, plus string. My 13yo now makes extremely elaborate ones with fairy lights!

Fernglade Farm said…
Hi Jo,

Mitre 10 hardware shops sell the stainless steel lids and rubber rings. Online is pretty good too. I do not usually mention brands and products, but the Fowlers Vacola stuff is awesome. It is the acidity in the preserves that eventually damages the tin lids though, and there is no getting around the acidity - unless of course you dehydrate foodstuffs - which we do here. The tomatoes growing outside appear to have lost some of their flavour from the recent heavy dump of rain. Do you have any fruit left on those vines?

Hmm. Did you know that a little 12 volt solar setup with a battery can provide lights, a household pressure pump for your water tank (I have been mucking around with those for many years and have a few suggestions as to longevity), a radio, and even a little car fridge - the new ones are amazingly efficient. Sorry, that previous sentence was originally posited as a question, but I became over excited, lost track of my original intent and it became a suggestion! These things happen.

Op shops are a good source of stuff.


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