Thursday, 6 October 2011

Buy Nothing New for a year - September's lessons

Image from here
I've been doing a lot of reading this month on re-using stuff. After watching The Story of Stuff I realised that this Buy Nothing New thing really is a important thing to be doing. It is important for our planet. It is important for my family's health. It is good for our family's purse.

Instead of a short-term, throwaway attitude to 'stuff' I am developing one that considers extending the life cycle of goods, thereby maximising their embedded costs and resources. I really had no idea how much goes into the production of one thing. One thing that I probably took for granted when I handed over my hard-earned money at the counter of a random retailer.

I think I am slowly getting my head around all the movements for 'green' purchasing; recycling, freecycling, up-cycling, buying secondhand, and 'swishing'.

Here are some ideas for you:

  • Got lots of clothes that you don't wear/can't wear/don't want to wear? Consider either giving them away to a friend, donating them to a charity or swishing them (clothes swap)
  • Need a power tool for a DIY project? Instead of buying one from a store, why don't you try borrowing one from friend or neighbour or purchasing one secondhand (go for a local seller so you can reduce your transportation costs)
  • Need a bed for your child? Why not check out freecycle to see if someone has one they no longer need or get one secondhand from an online store or local retailer (get a new mattress though)
  • Why not upcycle some timber and bricks into a shelf or photoframe or chook pen or raised garden bed? This guy has literally 100 ideas for upcycling that he claims anyone can do.
  • Got a cupboard full of platters and barely a salad bowl to your name? Why not talk to friends and see if they would like to swap a platter or two for a new salad bowl? Or visit your local charity shop for a cheap and cheerful retro number.
  • Got a bookcase full of already read books? Keep your faves and give the rest away or swap them or sell them online or gift them to someone for Christmas. There is always the local library for free books that you can exchange after you have finished them.
  • Need some rainy day activities? Instead of buying new colouring books, search the 'net and make your own craft activities (there are hundreds of sites specialising in paper-based kids activities) and print them out on recycled paper or, better still, use up the back of scrap paper
  • Use your children's paintings as wrapping paper, cards, framed artworks or, something we did this month was create a bunting out of the twin's paintings and decorated their wall with it. They love it and it is such a fun way to enjoy their creative urges.
I look forward to hearing ways that you have found to recycle, upcycle, freecycle, buy secondhand or swish. What secondhand purchase are you secretly very happy about? What conundrum have you overcome without the need to buy something?


Halina said...

This is a list of very useful tips. And thank you so much for linking to the upcycling ideas page! I'm actually about to donate a bag of clothes today. Have been doing a lot of cleaning up, and realized they just will not fit me any more... No matter how much I wish they would!!

Have a great day!

Anonymous said...

Great post, something I have been doing now Im not working, must be kind to the budget. Getting ready for a garage sale too to make some $ and pass on some things we no longer need, giving the old new life.

Miss Mandy said...

I like to try my hand at crafts, so this is another use for recycling clothes. I had a lovely stretch fabric dress for my son's 1st birthday, he threw cake all over me, which stained, I'm planing on ripping it up and making something else out of it.
I'm also about to recycle decorations from his birthday for halloween- repurposed of course!

Diminishing Lucy said...

I love reading your updates on this.

I was at my Mum's today, and changed the sheets for her. I noticed, as I stuffed pillows into slips, that the pillow cases are the ones that her dad (my Grandpa) had when he was in active service in the early 1940's. Linen that is over 70 years old, still going strong.

It made me realise how disposable our world has become, if I let it...


ClaireyHewitt said...

I love these posts. Any chance we can see the bunting from the kids artwork?

This could be a fun activity for us to do and one way to recycle a significant amount of artwork from creche lately.

pam said...

I've said it before, you're posts are life affirming.

Mrs BC said...

I love this, love love love it. We upcycle a lot of stuff but so far the favourite is a raised vege garden made from recycled bricks.
Thanks for the link!

Quill and Ink Handmade said...

I love these posts, MM :)

We've started to be a lot more conscious of these kind of things too - there's so much waste in the world, isn't there?
We pass on all our outgrown kids clothes to friends with younger babes, and all my material and thread scraps go to a local kindy for collage. We've been given bed frames for both the kids after asking around, and are working really hard on a sustainable garden to feed our hungry family. In the last couple of weeks, Dave had bought home a stack of wood offcuts (that would have been dumped) from the site he's building on, and we're going to build a chicken coop out of them. Yay!

Great tips - thanks for the little reminder :)


Anonymous said...

some great tips!

we try and donate/ change clothes - a good way to save money and really fun too!

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