I moved house a few months ago and since taking part in the yearlong Living Well With Less Stuff challenge from March 2013 – March 2014 I decided to stick to my new habits and source second hand stuff wherever possible. The first “stuff” related stage of moving house for me has all been about getting rid of stuff in a sustainable way as I’ve moved to a smaller home. Continue reading
With the start of the new Living Well with Less Stuff challenge, I have decided to focus on services and activities rather than just “stuff” this time round. To start with, I’m going to keep a diary of all my activities for a while, to see where the money (and carbon) goes – if I look at my diary for a few weeks ahead, I see that I’ve got tickets for the Baka Beyond concert at the Junction and for a couple of things coming up at the Arts Theatre, so I will try to check out the carbon cost of these. I’ve just googled and found this interesting post about creating a low-carbon play at the Young Vic. Continue reading
I enclose the picture of the outfit I created for a Regency Ball held at Lucy Cavendish. The top came from a charity shop, the skirt is made from a double sheet using a pattern I found on the internet (I attached black lace motif to match it to top), gloves are from a formal occasion in my childhood (I have pretty small hands still) and the scarf/pashmina was my mum’s. The hairstyle is not that flattering but I tried to follow period’s fashion (curls were in).
I recently found out that, inspired by our year-long Living Well with Less Stuff challenge, Frisbee has been quietly reducing her spending at the same time as us! (And saving a lot of money into the bargain!) She just shared with the me the single thing that made all the difference for her: writing down her spending. This is what she says: Continue reading
At one of the Continuing Carbon Conversations meetings, Richard Allen told us about a drying shed that he has made for his garden. With having a young child in the house and not using a tumble dryer for environmental reasons, he and his wife, Penny, found they had a big problem with condensation – this is their elegant way of dealing with the problem! Continue reading
On May 22nd we held a special event to celebrate one year of Living Well with Less Stuff in St Andrews Street Baptist Church. 44 people came to put questions to the panel of five who had participated in the challenge all year and to swap things they no longer needed for things they did. (The swap shop was a great success, with an incredible range of things from evening dresses to kitchen equipment and CDs to compost worms (yes, they were alive and reasonably happy in some earth and, yes, someone did want them!) Most things went – there was very little for Stephanie to take to a charity shop the next day.) Continue reading
We are getting together in a couple of days to discuss how we got on with one year of Living Well With Less Stuff, and I thought this would be a good opportunity to look back and think about how it’s been for me.
The easiest bit was the clothes: apart from having to replace some of what was stolen with my suitcase last March, I hardly bought any clothes at all – just underwear and one or two second-hand things. The other day I bought four items in a charity shop for £13 in total: a blue wool coat in really good condition, Continue reading
I had some friends coming to stay for the weekend and I needed a pump to blow up a couple of air beds. Now nine times out of ten, if you asked someone what they would do in this situation, they would say ‘go and buy one’ – I‘ve done it myself. Yet when I think back to how many times I’ve needed a pump over the last decade, I can count them on one hand. So I decided to be different this time and ask a friend if they had one I could borrow hers. I used it for two days and then returned it, just like that. Continue reading
There is an obvious but nonetheless important benefit of living well with less stuff: you are likely to spend less! I’ve been part of this challenge since March last year and just happen to be one of those (Dull? Sensible?) people that monitor their finances quite regularly. So a few weeks ago I decided to look at how much money I’ve spent during the challenge year compared to the year before, and the news is very good. On average I’ve spent £100 – £200 less a month!!!! I think this is amazing – especially because I don’t feel like I’ve been missing out. I’ve still bought things, and I don’t mean I’ve only bought things I really really need, I’ve also bought something’s just because I wanted them (hello, lovely boots I got at the Scope charity shop last weekend!). The only difference is that it’s all been second hand. In these difficult economic times, when for many the cost of living is rising more than salaries, having at least £100 extra left at the end of the month is a pretty healthy bottom line.
It’s that time of year when the resolve to buy less stuff and stay part of this challenge is tested to the limit. Yes, Xmas is upon us. Not only are you expected to buy gifts for other people, you will also be the recipient of many gifts, some of which may be useful, others less so. So one of the things I’ve had to do is ‘come out of the closet’ to my friends and family about this challenge, what it entails and what it means for me at Xmas. Basically what I’ve told them is that I don’t want to receive material gifts from people, and if I do give material gifts to others, they will be second-hand. Continue reading
Hi. Here are some updates on various things that have been going on. A few weeks ago I wrote about the challenges I face when I start an MSc in Climate Change and Sustainable Development at De Montford University. In doing this course, I want to still adhere to the goals of this challenge, and ensure as much a possible that I minimise my consumption. Continue reading
I’m discovering that there is an art to only being able to buy second hand things; the key is being patient. If you want to buy something there isn’t usually a place where you can guarantee being able to find a second hand version of that item. You’ve got to look round the charity shops, second hand stalls and car boot sales (pick your poison!) and wait until you find that item. Sometimes you are lucky – I bought a wrench (oh the glamour!) this weekend at a car boot sale after realising I needed one just a few days before. Other times it takes longer – I found a pair of lawn edging trimmers after three months of looking. And some items take forever to find – when will I find my perfect red wool cardigan? What I’m also realising is that the longer you have to be patient the greater the satisfaction when you find that elusive item. So I was pretty pleased when I found the wrench, and very happy when I found the edging trimmers; which means I’ll probably have to throw a party if I ever find that red cardigan!
We had another great evening at my house last week, enjoying a bring-and-share meal and sharing tips about mending clothes. Even though it was still August and a lot of people were away, five of us met. Fiona showed us the beautiful long dress she has nearly finished, made out of a sheet bought for 10p, and she finished off a bag she for someone’s Christmas present! I got some advice on how to mend really bad rips under the arms Continue reading
It’s about four months into this challenge for me and so far I’ve found it a positive experience. Walking around the shops, knowing I can’t buy any of the things on sale has actually been quite liberating. I’ve made more use of the library as well as buying things second-hand. In terms of clothes, the only things I’ve had to buy first-hand were some socks and boxers. Otherwise I’ve not bought that much apart from magically finding a decent pair of jeans in the British Red Cross shop. I’ve not been unhappy at all, apart from one time when I ran out of books to read and spent two hours trawling the library and second-hand books shops until I found something. Continue reading
I thought it would be interesting to compile a list of the things I have bought (new) so far since I started five months ago trying to reduce my consumption – some of us bloggers are trying to buy nothing at all except food and toiletries, but I thought I would just see how I got on being more aware of what I buy and whether I really need it. (I’m excluding essential toiletries, food, utility bills, transport.) The list is longer than I would have wanted, partly because of having to get replacement clothes abroad quickly after having them stolen, but also because of birthday presents for my grandchildren! That’s a hard one! So here goes: Continue reading