My husband says that we are not crunchy, and maybe we aren’t. Not intentionally. I like to think of us as accidentally crunchy. Most of what we do is just a repeat of the way we were brought up. I was raised rurally by two parents who worked full-time, gardened, preserved food, bought second hand and found new ways to use old things. My husband was raised on a farm by two parents who worked full-time and ran a beef farm. His parents also participated in a family garden, preserved food and bought at auction.
So, we were rooted in common sense living. We got away from it as young adults, but we are again living the way we were raised. I’ve made a list of ways we live our “use it up, wear it out, make it do” life:
- We don’t buy new if we can find it used. Our house is full of furniture and everyday necessities that we have bought at auction, yard sales, thrift stores, or had handed down to us. We spruce things up, paint, fix and reupholster if needed. I think that the only furniture that we purchased new are mattresses and the leather chair in our den.
- We don’t buy many packaged foods, but we do buy some. We love to cook from scratch, but occasionally just can’t face it and go out for dinner. I can count on one hand the number of times we did that last year. Well, maybe one hand and part of one foot.
- We recycle everything possible, though perhaps buying less packaged stuff would be better. We only produce a bag of garbage every other week and it is mostly cat litter/Kleenex and unrecyclable waste. Occasionally we produce more. I’m working on it.
- We don’t compost in a compost bin, but we give food scraps to the dog and veg/fruit scraps get tossed into the field. We don’t need to compost bin – we have plenty of rotted manure for the gardens.
- We barter. We have services to offer, so we trade those for what we need. Sometimes the trades are a little unusual. We once traded a garage door install for a lawyer who drew up a will for us.
- We try to be good neighbours by helping out whenever someone asks for it and we receive help in return when we need it. We give away extra produce to friends, neighbours and family and donate unneeded goods to charity.
- We try to buy local. We purchase produce, meat, fish and services from neighbours whenever possible. But not always. Mostly when its the least expensive route or because produce is in season (always tastes better than store bought).
- We try to support local businesses, but we don’t always do this exclusively. Both my husband and I work in our small town, so we need to have a very good reason to venture into the city.
- We do our own home renovations for the most part and use local people for the things we can’t do ourselves.
- We utilize our library.
- We entertain at home a lot.
- We don’t waste food. I buy what we can use. We buy what we need immediately and freeze leftovers that we can’t use right away. We often intentionally cook more than we need in order to have extra meals in the freezer. We have a small stockpile and I buy staples in bulk, so there is no risk of not having the necessities on hand. I also have a freezer well stocked with produce.
It all works out to a pretty impressive list. Next time he tells me we don’t live a green lifestyle, I’ll show him my list.