In 2014, I made a New Year’s resolution to buy nothing new. It actually didn’t go too badly! This year, in 2015, my resolution is to blog (lol you’re welcome) and also to try new things to help me take my goal of buying less even further. It helps to be a resident of Vancouver, Canada, where the DIY culture is pretty strong. Stay tuned for recipes, craft ideas, some DIY experiments, as well as some sources of inspiration and resources. I probably shouldn’t claim to offer tips and advice like some sort of expert, but at least you can read about my attempts and feel better about your own DIY adventures and misadventures. Moral support!
To give you a taste of how things went last year, I was able to avoid buying new toiletries by making home made balms, salves, lotion bars, deodorant, lip balm, and a few other things. I’ll share my recipe for all of them.
I also switched from using toilet tissue after using the washroom for #1 to using reusable hemp cloth wipes. You’d think this would be a sacrifice to comfort or convenience, but I found that it’s actually tidier and MUCH more comfortable. You know those commercials with the family of bears and the ‘left-behind’ bits of tissue? It’s a non-issue if you use cloth. I’m a big fan and would highly recommend that you give it a shot (if you are of the persuasion that wipes after peeing – if you stand up and shake it off then I guess you’re all set!) You won’t believe how much less tissue you go through, and how much less often you have to go buy the bulky awkward stuff and then carry it home on the bus while fellow passengers subtly scrutinize your tp brand selection. I could just be paranoid.
Similarly, I use re-usable menstrual products including the DivaCup and cloth pads, as well as ‘period panties’, which are exactly what they sound like – pairs of thicker-than-usual underwear that you use during your period and wash like normal laundry. I actually started using these things pre-2014, but it took me a while to completely phase out tampons and disposable pads. Why? I’m not sure, really. Force of habit, as near as I can figure. I’m much happier without all that garbage, and I find the reusables more comfortable than disposables.
I’ve pretty much always preferred shopping for clothing and household items at thrift stores, so that part was a cinch. There really aren’t any articles of clothing that I’m completely opposed to buying used, although I do typically buy underpants and some socks new (just not in 2014! I did have to mend a couple pairs of holy drawers though…). A goal of mine is to become a proficient sewer (right now I can only mend by hand and I’m fairly useless at a machine) so that I can try sewing my own underwear. More on that later!
I’m not a very handy person at all, but I have repaired (hammer and nails are about as high-tech as I’m comfortable with when it comes to tools) and even ‘built’ (ahem…stuck together with duct tape) some fairly sad pieces of furniture including a broken dresser and a makeshift bookshelf made of cardboard. But they are functional!! So there! Anyway I intend to get handier…because honestly, stuff breaks. Especially with me around.
I did buy plenty of new ‘perishables’ in 2014 (to be honest I wouldn’t have lasted long otherwise!)…that is, food and drink. However, I still tried to replace a few store-bought things with foraged things and culls from the ever-so-conveniently nearby UBC Farm, and I want to get better at identifying local edible plants. I’ve had a veggie garden and some herbs in the past. I’m limited to growing in containers for now as I am renting and do not have access to outdoor growing space. I’m sure I could guerrilla garden if I were really committed but I guess I’m not that hardcore yet. My goal is to learn more about finding and growing food and I’ll share that with you as I go.
To cut down on buying new packaging (like food and beverage with excess packaging), I also tried making some things from scratch instead of store-bought, including homemade soy milk, which is cheap to make, tastes nothing like the stuff you buy, and is surprisingly yummy, nutty and naturally slightly sweet if you do it right (although if you do it wrong, it tastes like socks, I won’t lie). I’m not somebody who has sworn off soy btw, and I do think it can be part of a healthy diet in moderation. I like moderation; it’s a great excuse for when self-restraint fails. I’m a reformed or relapsed vegetarian (depending on who you ask) so soy has been an occasional part of my diet for a long time, but it’s certainly not the only way to get protein, for goodness sake… 🙂
Anyway, that gives you the basic idea. Looking forward to sharing with you!