I did mention in my last post that I plan to say "yes" a little more often in my life, but I'm not really considering it a New Year's resolution, just a good piece of advice that I'm taking. I don't like to make Resolutions, there's something intimidating about that word. I do often give myself a goal or challenge each new year - you might call it....... a resolution. This year, I've decided I'm going to do my best to decrease the size of my consumer footprint. The idea began (as so many good ideas do) when I was listening to CBC radio.
Radio West's Rebecca Zandbergen was saying that she and her family were drawing names for Christmas gifts and they were restricting themselves as well by not giving any "new" items. It made me think about the clothing stores and thrift stores and other stores selling pre-loved items in town. I'm always complaining about the glut of "stuff" at the mall and in our closets and I wondered What if I stopped buying new things and bought only used items instead?
That very day I'd been killing some time in Home Again and was very impressed by the quality of the items. Everything looked brand new and I found a stock pot for the incredibly low price of $18.00. I'd been wanting one for ages and hadn't seen one new for less that $100.00.
I also purchased a picture frame (still in it's original wrapper), that was perfect for a project I had in mind. It's not quite complete as shown above. The photos are of our family as children at Christmas time - my mom, sister, son, daughter, husband and I. There's a quote that I want to add above and below the photos, but I'm afraid to wreck it. Someone told me I can get a stencil made but I guess I've waited too long as that would come under "new" purchases. Maybe I'll get brave eventually or get my more sure handed daughter to write it out. It's a quote from a poem by Elizabeth Akers Allen - "Backward turn backward, O Time in your flight, Make me a child again, Just for tonight."
When I needed to accessorize my Christmas party ensemble with a silver purse, I knew that the vintage clothing store Georgie Girl would be the perfect place to find one, and I was right. In fact I had a choice of four different purses.
The whole idea of purchasing used items, and only when needed, appeals to me for many reasons; the reduction of clutter, the money saving aspects and also for the reduction in trips to the landfill, or the recycling depot. Recycling is the last of the three "R"'s - Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, and to me it's only a small step up from the landfill.
The fact that small appliances have become disposable is something that really irks me - coffee makers and toasters are my particular bête noire. They just don't make 'em like they used to and if you are in the market for a small appliance I highly recommend you look for a used older model. For years my family complained about our "toaster curse", and I carried it with me to my marriage. No matter what we paid for a toaster, after a few short years the appliance would fail and only toast the bread on one side.
Often, my husband would moan about the fact that someone had stolen his Sunbeam toaster while he was at university, one that he had brought from home and was at least twenty years old. About twelve years ago I set myself a quest to find one at a thrift shop and eventually I came across several models at a now defunct used record and furniture store on Pandosy. If you need a new toaster I suggest you buy an original Sunbeam Radiant Control Toaster. It cost me $25.00 plus we had to replace the cord but for some reason we had a retro style cord stashed in the workshop. It took some time to clean the toaster so it didn't smell like burning dust when I used it, but it has never failed us and if it ever breaks down I will pay whatever they charge to have it fixed, whether I can buy one for less than the cost of repairs or not. Lois Lane might be a good place to start if your looking for one of these little gems.
Consumerism is still consumerism, even if you are shopping at thrift stores, so I'm not going to use this as permission to fill my home with used goods rather than new. We have a household rule that when you get something new, something old has to be donated, recycled or thrown out (the last resort). My goal for the year is to buy only the things I need, and only used items. There are exceptions of course. I intended to buy new socks and underwear before the new year, but I've been struck down by a cold and haven't been out of the house for a while so I hope you'll forgive me that future new purchase. I'm not a big shopper anyway so I don't think it's going to require a lot of effort, but I have a feeling there may be a surprise or two in store. I'll keep you posted.