Monday, July 30, 2007

Practice Contentment

I have been reading the book Living More with Less over the past week. It has been a very inspiring book. The ideas in the book are some practical and some radical (at least in North American culture). I have been thinking a lot lately about the way that our family lives and wanting to do more to be frugal. One of the things that has been pressing on me is the "throw away mentality" of our times. The idea that we need to own many things to be happy. Shopping is akin to overeating. Here are a few items that we are going to try to follow:
  • Keep our clothing to a minimum. All of my clothing (summer and winter) fit in one closet and one dresser.
  • When we need to buy clothing, take the time to look at thrift stores before buying new.
  • Use the library instead of buying books for homeschooling whenever possible
  • Lend what we have to others so they do not have to purchase.
  • Eat the food that we have in the house instead of shopping just because we are out of our favorites
  • Buy from locally owned farms and businesses whenever possible
  • Minimize trash.
This last one is difficult and I am still thinking on it. One of the things I have been doing is eliminating the need for paper products. I have been making "paper" towels out of an old flannel sheet that has worn out. It should be just as absorbent as the paper and not need to be tossed into the trash but washed and reused. I am also going to make everyday napkins out of fabric scraps. Instead of paper plates and cups we can use our camping or picnic supplies. I want to find out if we can recycle regular paper and envelopes as that is another item we throw away often.
These pictures are of my "flannel towels." I cut them 11x11 inches and zigzagged the edges to keep them from fraying. I still have quite a few to sew as the queen sized sheet gave me plenty of towels. Another thing I use flannel for is on my Swifter. I have actually been doing this for quite a while as I hated buying those boxes of throw-away rags for the Swifter. I'm convinced it's a racket. I just copied the size and cut out flannel. Works like a charm.

I welcome any of your ideas to eliminate trash or to save money and energy. I'm contemplating hanging my wash to dry as this will save lots of electricity and gas. Let me know what you do.


Matilda said...

Do you have a serger that cuts off the excess or do you cut it off after sewing the zigzag?

I think this is a great idea especially for the swiffer. I have used a thin microfiber towel or even a wet wipe before. Although the wet wipes are still throw away we are already buying those for diaper changes.

Anonymous said...

great idea for the swiffer. i wound up buying something else awhile ago that uses microfiber for the same reason. i couldn't stand buying and throwing away all of those swiffer thingies.

what do we do? i've started saving dh's old sweatshirts (that aren't stained, etc) to use for pants for my toddler & baby boy.

i need to get back on the simple bandwagon - i fell off a few months ago.

Donna said...

I'm with ya, Beth. I just borrowed Dave Durand's book from the library titled, Financial Peace. I'm almost through it...excited to implement ideas in my family.

I'll be looking for Living More with Less next :-)

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