Sustainability has become very trendy, with people of all walks of life indulging in the concept. It is quite easy to dip one’s toe into the trend with small changes such as recycling and composting. Still others are more hard-core and go all out with their sustainable life style. I would say we are somewhere in between. But one thing we rarely do is buy new items. This approach to sustainable living is sensible but has also provided us with everything we need by repurposing old items.
I am very frugal by nature and necessity. We don’t tend to purchase much beyond the necessities, unless you are referring to my plant obsession. Yet even with these, many of my acquisitions were cuttings, divisions, or gifts from other gardeners. We live a sustainable life for several reasons. One of them is our motto and the other is due to our isolated location. I cannot pop off to shop every day, which keeps my purchasing in check and helps avoid unnecessary spending. It also avoids wasting fuel and contributing to greenhouse gasses. We have the advantage of volunteering at the local thrift store which supports our community. When new items arrive, we have the first glimpse and can opt to buy.
I have little new furniture in my home. I love to refinish wood and have made old bookshelves, my roll top desk, end tables, and more, look brand new and modern. We did purchase new beds for ourselves and the guest room, but really, as I look around, everything came from someone else. Even my artwork came from Goodwill and other thrift shops. All my tchotchkes were given to me. My cookware is used, my dishes were my mother’s, and even my curtains were made or purchased used. My containers for the plants are old or I fixed them up for repurposing as plant homes. Upcycling comes very naturally to me, as I have a crafty nature and love fun projects.
Our clothes are occasionally purchased new. That is the case for socks, under garments and the like. I have a few shoes that were new, but many were used. I knit our slippers, hats, gloves, and sweaters, as well as throw blankets. We are not fancy people and live in the sticks, so it matters not what we look like. Our clothes are worn until they are nearly threadbare in most cases and are primarily practical garb. We each have a “nice” outfit for family get-togethers or other special occasions.
I admit to having many kitchen gadgets. I was a chef and love to cook, and I “need” a big stand mixer, waffle maker, and air fryer. Even many of my appliances are used. My coffee maker died and I needed a new one. Found one at the thrift store. My neighbor had an extra microwave for some reason, so he gave that to me. I wanted a rice cooker and found a free one. Much of what we use on a daily basis can be found used, free, or bartered. Speaking of bartering, I have acquired items by doing landscaping, trading plants, and even cooking for small events.
I find this lifestyle to be budget friendly and as an added bonus, makes me feel like I am contributing to the sustainability movement. When it comes down to brass tacks, who really needs all that stuff? There is so much waste in the United States and other countries. The landfills are full of stuff that is still usable. People throw out perfectly good things every day. It is really almost criminal how much waste we have because of our consumer society. I’ll take my free, but old, stuff any day.