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our grandparents and frugality-the green thing as a way to reduce -

 
steward
Posts: 6040
Location: Missoula, MT
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From an e-mail forward:

In the line at the store, the cashier told the older woman that she should bring her own grocery bag because plastic bags weren't good for the environment. The woman apologized to him and explained, "We didn't have the green thing back in my day."

The clerk responded, "That's our problem today. The former generation did not care enough to save our environment."

He was right, that generation didn't have the green thing in its day.

Back then, they returned their milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.

But they didn't have the green thing back in that customer's day.

In her day, they walked up stairs, because they didn't have an escalator in every store and office building. They walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time they had to go two blocks.

But she was right. They didn't have the green thing in her day.

Back then, they washed the baby's diapers because they didn't have the throw-away kind. They dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts - wind and solar power really did dry the clothes. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But that old lady is right; they didn't have the green thing back in her day.

Back then, they had one TV, or radio, in the house - not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief, not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, they blended and stirred by hand because they didn't have electric machines to do everything for you. When they packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, they used a wadded up old newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.

Back then, they didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. They used a push mower that ran on human power. They exercised by working so they didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she's right; they didn't have the green thing back then.

They drank from a fountain when they were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time they had a drink of water. They refilled their writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and they replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But they didn't have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or rode the school bus instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. They had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And they didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful the old folks were just because they didn't have the green thing back then?



I do think it's interesting how our "green washing" makes it seem people are environmentally virtuous if they take reusable bags to the store, but still drive everywhere in gas guzzlers, still use their clothes dryers, and on and on.

I'm not as truly environmentally virtuous as I'd like to be, but I keep making changes where I can. Most of these "green thing" changes save money, too (hence the frugality post). Like line-drying instead of using the dryer - that, combined with hand-washing dishes, cut 40% off my power bill!

My Grandma still wraps gifts in the comics pages of the newspaper. I received an online order with a bunch of brown kraft paper as the filler and it smoothed out nicely as gift wrap one Christmas. What other ways do you save money by doing a "green thing?"
 
steward
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Back then, they returned their milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.



I'm pretty sure that would qualify as "re-use", which is way better than recycle.

 
steward
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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"Back then", you could go into any department store (five and dime) and buy a pattern to make shirts, blouses, etc.  When a shirt had outlived its useful life, the buttons were cut off and saved for the next item.  The remaining cloth was used as a cleaning cloth.  Of course, most of today's synthetic cloth would be useless for that purpose.
 
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Location: Southwestern Ohio
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Maybe not something I learned from grandparents, but my focus presently is on reducing my consumption of plastic and replacing plastic items with ones made from wood, metal or glass, as they need replaced.  And I try to find those things previously owned.

I was proud of myself the other day when asked if I wanted a (plastic) tray to carry some plants in, I said no thanks, that's one less thing I will have to deal with at home.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1454
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
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Summer; Open doors and windows in early morning hours when it is 65 degrees.  Close all doors windows and curtains as soon as outside temps reach 70 degrees.  I work a very strange work sched so I can do this about half the week.

Winter, Open all curtains and let sun shine through glass, including storm doors during the day – heats much more than one might think.

Compost everything that will degrade including junk mail and natural fiber clothing.  Saves us the fuel that we would use driving it to the dump, provides compost for the property, saves the burden on landfills.  (yes, I’ve heard all of the issues with ink and colors in junk mail- I think the benefit outweighs the cost – It is going somewhere – my property or our landfill).

Brush teeth with baking soda – but I just saw the post here on making toothpaste – gotta try that.

Wash my body with baking soda.  Due to severe skin problems I had to eliminate all soaps on my skin.  Now I scrub only with baking soda, Epsom or sea salt, or grape and olive oil.  Not only is my skin in fantastic shape (for an old lady) but I am saving money and am eliminating use of chemicals and packaging in my toiletries.

Grey water from my washing machine, also intend to eventually do the same for my sinks, bath and shower.  I have a Willow, Hydrangeas, and Japanese Maple that are loving the whole grey water idea.

I guess I could go on and on but I would love to hear what others are doing.  Great thread Jocelyn.
 
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Walk, bike and bus, I don't know how to drive or have a license. When we car it is, obviously, car pool for long distance travel or errands only.
I do not fly. I have been in an airplane 4 times in my life and hope to get away with only a couple more plane trips to far away places. I took the bus with a 3 year old 3000 miles once, it was fun.
I sew, make, alter and mend our clothes, make old clothes into useful items, use "garbarge" fabric to create useful things to sell.
I don't cook much, we eat most food raw and whole. Saves on energy in the kitchen, processing for boxed stuff (which we hardly buy) etc. We buy as much local food as possible.
We shop almost exclusively at the thrift store, looking around the house here it's difficult to find many items that were purchased new.
For entertainment we get together with friends for meals and to play cards. Just costs the energy to make popcorn for a snack when we do that.
No air con, that is so unhealthy. Unless it's really, incredibly, unbearably hot I don't think that is reasonable to use just for "comfort".
We've been gradually and consistently down-sizing our lives so that we live in smaller and smaller apartments with less and less stuff and spend more and more time together as a family playing board games, making crafts, walking the neighbourhood and connecting with each other and ourselves.
We do yoga, we eat a healthy diet, we sleep enough (usually) and take good care of ourselves so we don't need doctor visits or medicine.

My mom taught me the value of frugality, resourcefulness and care of the earth at a young age. I hope I'm passing that along to my kids in a way they will carry with them for life. I think I am..
 
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First post! just joined this morning and im really loving this site. excellent job paul i made my way here through youtube vids. Im only 26 and i really do get discusted by wasteful people. I work as a union carpenter and the construction industry on a commercial level is terribly wasteful. the construction equipment guzzles energy plus all the hazardous wasted material that ends up in landfills. I was on a job 2 summers ago where every worker on the job(and there were over 2000 it was a very large new hospital being constructed) would sit inside of their gas guzzling trucks at lunch with the AC blasting. This was very upsetting to me. i would just shake my head and go sit in the shade with my folding chair. Ok off topic but i feel shitty about my career being wasteful and environmentally damaging.

The best ways im frugal is to reuse and recycle. 2 good examples..my compost bins are made from pallets that i got FREE from a local lumber yard. and just this morning i contacted a baker who is going to save his 3.5 gal buckets for me to start worm composting..also free. contacting businesses is an excellent way to reuse things that will otherwise be tossed and for free to boot. of course working in construction i take as much lumber plywood and whatever else i can get my hands on before that ends up in a landfill. And im an avid scrapper. im always scanning curbsides for scrap metal to recycle AND make a small profit. scrapping is a smart easy way to make a few bucks and do the right thing. my next door neighbor had an old swing set that was just rusting in her yard. she knows i recycle metal and asked me to take it apart for her and haul it out. i made money, recycled an old rusty swing set that was just sitting there, and did a favor for a sweet old woman.
 
steward
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Jocelyn, I must be your Grandma's age cuz I always wrap my kids presents in newspaper!
 
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Location: De Cymru (West Wales, UK)
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I've been wrapping gifts in newspaper for years! I mend clothes, and then when they're really unuseable, I cut them up for rags, or use them for making rag rugs or stuffing cushions. I make as much clothing as I can, or adapt things from jumble sales - and most thrift stores actually sell most of their donations to the rag man, but will sell you a big garbage bag full for peanuts, so I use those and adapt for out use. I never knew my grandmother, but my mother laughs that it must be genetic - she didn't teach me but I'm doing all the stuff my grandmother did. Including washing out plastic bags and tin foil for reuse, anything 'disposable' gets reused ie plastic milk bottles saved and cut in half for plant pots. When we moved into our house a few months ago there was lots of 'rubbish' around, I've used most of it - plastic offcuts of bathroom ceiling cladding became a new roof for the duck house. When all the 'rubbish' is gone I will have to source building materials from off-site, oh no!
Every time I can food or darn a sock I think about both my grandmothers, the skills they must have had and the circumstances that meant they *had* to be frugal and green. I think of my mother's generation as a blip in consumerism that I'm trying to correct.
 
John Polk
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I once took a load in my truck to the dump. They would weigh you when you came in, and when you left.
The truck weighed more when I left. LOL

 
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Location: rural S.E ohio
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hello everyone! this is my first post, although i think ive read half the threads on this site (j/k) any way, i am 29 and we grew up very...frugal (aka-poor)
but im sure glad i learned so much and how to "make do" from my parents, and grandparents. my grandma used to save wrapping paper, folding it neatly
and reusing it later, when i was little, i refused to rip my gifts so i could save my paper! we shop from trift stores whenever possible. we have always canned
our food, as much as possible, and im so glad for that now, as i have gotten older and learned of all the chemicals in prepackaged food and general
unhealthiness of it. we always had a wringer washer and hung clothes out to dry, and i learned how to mend and quilt and reuse until nothing was left but thread.
i have 2 small children and one on the way. prices only go up and my monetary resources keep going down, so alot of this so called "lost art" of living frugally has
truly kept us going strong for awhile now .
 
Posts: 81
Location: Zone 8, Western Oregon
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Welcome, Michele! I grew up in full-on consumerism (I'm 27), so those of you who remember the old ways to save things and be frugal are my most valuable resource! Thanks for the good ideas. It seems that as the economy gradually returns to a more sustainable normal after the crazy, cheap-oil-fueled boom of the last 50 years, people will have to return to the old skills to survive.

Just wanted to recommend "The American Frugal Housewife" by Lydia Maria Francis, published in 1802, to anyone looking for a firsthand account of frugal living before cheap oil. Some parts are obviously dated and not as useful (like, I can't recycle feed bags into curtains anymore, because my feed comes in paper bags), but many sections are still very applicable, especially to those living off the grid. It's available as a PDF online, I believe, if you google it.
 
John Polk
steward
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Here is the 1832 reprint of "The American Frugal Housewife"
Staff note (Nicole Alderman):

Updated link to places to read The American Frugal Housewife: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/13493

 
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I bring mason jars to the health food store, for bulk items. I use a dry erase marker to write the ter (Package weight) on the lid and the item code. Saves me from using their plastic bags, and the food is already in its storage container when I get home. Some great ideas in this thread I'll have to start using.
 
pollinator
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Speaking of reusing ... I've been the very happy recepient of several of my father-in-law's hand-me-downs. A few weeks ago my wife and I were visiting him in South Dakota and he was purging things from his garage and he asked if I was interested in a number of his hand tools. ABSOLUTELY!!! I am so happy that in a mix of about a dozen hand tools were two rusted genuine TrueTemper No. 2 scoop shovels. Once I go them home, I got out my wire brass brush on my drill and buffed away the rust, sharpened the edges and oiled them up really heavily to help refurbish them. Here's a before and after set of photos. But, my point is that there are lots of people willing to part with what they think is no good anymore and with just a bit of elbow grease, we can make them like new again and useful for another person's lifetime. I feel very lucky, indeed. Going now go out to the shop and refurbish the 8lb hammer, bow rake, Pulaski and several other assorted light-weight tools and spare handles. I'm a blessed man.
scoop1.JPG
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scoop3.JPG
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scoop5.JPG
[Thumbnail for scoop5.JPG]
 
Dan Grubbs
pollinator
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Funny thing ... I posted some photos of my shovels and it sparked a debate about using oil on the metal. The debate was that I should never use petroleum products on these shovels if they are going to be used in food production and I agree. But, then the debate was about what oil to use: mineral vs. vegetable. Note, we're not talking about the handle, which I would always use boiled linseed oil on wood tool handles and no varnish or poly finishes.

What say you, permies, and why? What should we be oiling our shop and garden tools with?

 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Hi Dan, fantastic pics of refurbishing a tool! I'm not sure if you've had any good replies to what oil is best to use for the metal part of tools. I'm thinking that's an awesome topic for the homestead gear forum.

Just ran across this diagram on FaceBook from The Story of Stuff folks and thought it fit in here.
buyerarchy_of_needs.jpg
[Thumbnail for buyerarchy_of_needs.jpg]
 
gardener
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I sold stained glass items, jewelry, rock specimens and a few other things at a number of new age shows. I would save all my grocery bags and use them for packaging wadding to make sure merchandise got to the event in one piece. Then during the show I'd use these to package purchases and it was really before reuseable bags and all that took hold. A number of people would look down at me about the used rumpled up plastic bag and I would gently explain... this bag came from the grocery store. It cradled my merchandise to get it here, packing/wadding. Now a still perfectly useable bag, was going to get another use, as a recycled bag to hold purchases. Suddenly that rumpled bag was now 'recycle/reuse' and very much the thing to do. So with a smile, they would accept their purchase bagged in a recycled bag. Did I ever run out of wadding? No. After the show and packing up, a lot of my fellow vendors used the cheap plastic sheeting table covers and would toss them. Just rescue a few of those from the trash barrels and I had all the packaging material I needed. It's all how you look at things.

My grandparents washed and reused margarine tubs, ziplock bags, bread sacks, twisties... I recycle those squeezeable 'upside down' ketchup bottles to hold my own custom sauces. Twisties are like solid gold and massively useful!
 
gardener
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During the blackout during WW2, my grandmother would send my mother and her sister out after dark to steal holly and ivy from neighbours' gardens to decorate the house for Christmas. None of your shop bought throw away ornaments. Good old Gran!
 
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After WWII, My Grandfather and Dad went down to the Railroad yard that was near our Town and tore apart Jeep crates, pulled all the nails from the boards. All nails were saved, and straightened. While my Dad was in Europe (Battle of the Bulge) my mom bought a small lot in town and after the war they built my Parents first house. Years later my Dad secured a building that needed to be destroyed. So my brothers and Dad tore down that building and hauled the lumber home, by then we had a small farm. My "job" that summer was to pull the nails and straighten, putting them into a coffee can. piling up boards that were true 2x12's that were 16 foot long. Dad somehow found old telephone poles and we used them for posts for a Lean-to for farm equipment.
True to my upbringing, while working in a factory, the company purchased new equipment and was shipped in long lumber. I convinced them to let me take it, instead of the landfill. so back at it again pulling out the nails and keeping them, for construction of a shed that I had built. Now my Son has picked up the trait as well, and maybe in a few years, my Grandsons too. Funny that I read this thread this morning, because a car dealership in a town I was in yesterday bought an old Motel, and was tearing it down, hauling it to the landfill. Sad.
 
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Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.

 
master steward
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This!

My grandmother saved all those sour cream and Cool Whip containers to use to store frozen and fresh food. Many a time was I gifted with fresh raspberries from her garden, stored in a sour cream container.

She also saved all the boxes that things came in, to use for storage of other things, as well as for wrapping presents. It's kind of a family gag, now, because we all find whatever boxes fit presents to use to wrap them in, and so the receiver gets to say, "Oh WOW! A box of cherrios! Just what I always wanted!" (inside box, of course, was the actual present, and it was NOT cereal!). We also all save bows and tissue paper and bags and use them to wrap presents, and have a jolly time remembering who first used said bag .

 
pollinator
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Try to convince the family to go out in the garden and look for food before getting in the car and driving to the store to buy something to eat.  Yes those "weeds" are also edible and good. Why are you using dried spices on the pizza when all you have to do is go out on the porch and reach over the railing for fresh rosemary which is starting to bloom and so much more fragrant.
 
Nicole Alderman
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Another frugal thing that my grandparents have done, is to not buy new furniture/furnishings/appliances unless necessary. They had the same countertops, same curtains, same oven, sane dishes, same silverware, same spice jars, and largely the same furniture for at least 63 years. And, when they downsized from their house to a retirement apartment, they passed along what they couldn't take with them, to their kids and grandkids and even great-grandkids. They made improvements where it made sense (got rid of the carpet in the kitchen and dining room, and replaced it with laminate floors and changed the fireplaces to gas ones as they aged), but they have truly lived by the "if ain't broke, don't fix it." If they didn't need new things, they kept what they had and saved the money and used it for important things. And, looking at their life, I can say that their restraint hasn't made their life any less awesome than those that buy new stuff when they want a new style or fancier appliance. In fact, I think their life is probably far richer than most of those who buy new stuff all the time.

Another thing that they do is keep things clean. A clean house looks--and operates--so much better than a messy one with coordinating furniture. If your place is clean, even if it is meager, it does not look poor or lacking. This is a lesson I am really working on putting into practice (it's none to easy with two young children, though it is easier now that they are a tad older and I have more time and I'm not always holding someone in one arm!)  
 
master steward
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Nicole Alderman wrote:

My grandmother saved all those sour cream and Cool Whip containers to use to store frozen and fresh food. Many a time was I gifted with fresh raspberries from her garden, stored in a sour cream container.



Similar to this, at home, we save all the containers that lunch meats come in, because we find that these make awesome tupperware.
 
pollinator
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Because my family always grew berries, we have always saved the little green baskets that berries used to come in. And even though berries don't come in those baskets anymore around here, we still have about 50 of them. Use them every year.
 
Mick Fisch
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My dad always said he could squeeze a nickle until the buffalo crapped (a reference to old style US 5 cent pieces that had a buffalo on the back).  He's 86 now, still active (rebuilt my sisters downstairs last year when it flooded), and he has quite a bit of money squirrelled away.  

He told me a while back that when he was raising 6 kids, there was never enough money and it felt bad to not be able to provide for his family the things that self centered teenagers might want, so he made it a game in his head to see how cheap he could by with, insisting that needs came first and wants were satisfied only after thoughtful consideration.  Now he has more money than he needs, but he says he still plays the game in his head because he found he enjoyed playing it.   I've told him that when he dies, us kids will just spend his money, so he might as well spend some on himself, he won't though.  He has simple, inexpensive wants and needs.  

He always said that there isn't a deal around that won't come around again, so always sleep on it.
Also said, if you watch the pennies, the dollars will take care of themselves.
His favorite place to shop is garage sales and thrift stores.  He rarely buys anything new, but he also doesn't buy junk or worn out stuff.  He did buy a new car about 18 years ago, but he still has it, although he is getting ready to finally sell it and buy a newer used car.  
He is also handy and can usually fix most appliances.

The funny part of his relationship with my mom (who is generally also thrifty) is that he always told her not to let him find out she had bought unnecessary things.  For years she thought he meant don't buy them, then she realized he meant exactly what he said, don't let him find out.  He didn't begrudge her any of her small frivolous purchases, but if he saw her wasting money he felt he had to say something, so he carefully didn't see it and she carefully tried to hide it.

 
pollinator
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My grandfather used to save the orange juice and milk cartons for freezing garden surplus in.
They were always the right size, since you can trim them down to suit what you had in them, or add to it next week.
Cut the sides into flaps and fold them over and tape it shut. He may have lined them with plastic bags, but probably not, he was a Maine yankee.
They were square, stackable, and fit neatly in the freezer.

When he left for Florida for the winter, he distributed his frozen produce among the neighbors for safe keeping.
They could have what they wanted for the trouble, but there were a few things Grandpa wanted back in the spring.
Mainly his strawberries to go with the fresh rhubarb in pies.

My Mom had rags of all sorts... Sheet rags, towel rags ("good" towel rags, and worn ones), flannel rags, t-shirt rags; they all had their own purposes... plus "one-time-rags" for paint or grease.
She was particular about and possessive of her rags... if she saw you with one, especially "a good one" you had to get approval for using it...or put it back and get the "right one".
And, there's a box of 40 years of denim pant legs (the part below the knee that sees the least wear) for mending knees, and other tears.
 
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For me it's at least as much living on limited means as green virtue, but I also line dry my clothes, get by without A/C and never buy anything new till I've checked whether it's available in a thrift store or on Craigslist. I also rely on my own home-grown salad greens and fruit instead of buying them shipped in from some factory farm in California or Mexico.

Jocelyn Campbell wrote:From an e-mail forward:

I do think it's interesting how our "green washing" makes it seem people are environmentally virtuous if they take reusable bags to the store, but still drive everywhere in gas guzzlers, still use their clothes dryers, and on and on.

I'm not as truly environmentally virtuous as I'd like to be, but I keep making changes where I can. Most of these "green thing" changes save money, too (hence the frugality post). Like line-drying instead of using the dryer - that, combined with hand-washing dishes, cut 40% off my power bill!

My Grandma still wraps gifts in the comics pages of the newspaper. I received an online order with a bunch of brown kraft paper as the filler and it smoothed out nicely as gift wrap one Christmas. What other ways do you save money by doing a "green thing?"

 
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John Polk wrote:"Back then", you could go into any department store (five and dime) and buy a pattern to make shirts, blouses, etc.  When a shirt had outlived its useful life, the buttons were cut off and saved for the next item.  The remaining cloth was used as a cleaning cloth.  Of course, most of today's synthetic cloth would be useless for that purpose.


I miss John.

The other day I had a vintage teen fashion magazine in my hands by chance and even as late as 1974 the shirt worn by the cover girl was advertised in the credits inside the front cover as being made to such and such pattern from this store out of this-and-that fabrics from the other store. Sponsored ad placement obviously — but for made-at-home glamour wear for young ladies!
 
pollinator
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Jocelyn Campbell wrote:I do think it's interesting how our "green washing" makes it seem people are environmentally virtuous if they take reusable bags to the store, but still drive everywhere in gas guzzlers, still use their clothes dryers, and on and on.



In order to truly understand American society and the "green" movement, one must accept the reality that a large portion of it is merely guilt remediation for middle-class, mainstream types.  There is a reason that changing light bulbs became the poster child for the green movement: it was something small that everyone could do immediately to feel better without actually changing their own lifestyles in any significant way.

And this is not to say that small, immediate steps aren't good steps.  But the point is that the light-bulb-changing craze was marketed, if that's the right term, in a way that provided no context for the action.  Any true context for the action would have led people to realize that an efficient light bulb, while better than an inefficient one - and Paul has assembled tons of data that CFLs in many ways weren't even better - is just a drop in the bucket of domestic energy consumption, and fairly meaningless in the bigger analysis.  Instead, marketing light-bulb-change without context allowed the average person to check off in their minds that "I did my bit to be green, so yippee, now I'm sustainable" [CRINGE] without ever having to do any research or introspection in order to really re-examine their lifestyles.

Reusable shopping bags and even curbside recycling fall under the same category.  Again, not to say that they are necessarily bad ideas.  But their primary function has nothing to do with conservation of energy or materials.  It is guilt remediation, pure and simple.
 
Matthew Nistico
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Jeanine Gurley Jacildone wrote:...Brush teeth with baking soda – but I just saw the post here on making toothpaste – gotta try that.

Wash my body with baking soda.  Due to severe skin problems I had to eliminate all soaps on my skin.  Now I scrub only with baking soda, Epsom or sea salt, or grape and olive oil.  Not only is my skin in fantastic shape (for an old lady) but I am saving money and am eliminating use of chemicals and packaging in my toiletries...



A little off-topic, so hoping the OP will forgive...

Be careful about reliance on baking soda for DIY self-care.  It might be fine for your teeth and your skin (I really don't know), but over time the pH imbalance can fry your hair.  It is a very popular solution for poo-less hair care, I know, and it probably works for some people; everyone's body chemistry is a little different after all.  But it has had bad results for others.

Consider trying something simpler: nothing at all!  I went poo-less several years ago.  At first I used baking soda.  Then I came up with a complicated, baking-soda-free recipe for hair care.  Then I got lazy and started using nothing, and really couldn't tell the difference!  Then I got even lazier and stopped using soap on my skin as well.  Again, couldn't tell the difference (at least most days - every once in a blue moon I will use a little soap if I'm feeling excessively greasy or have gotten into something nasty, but we're talking a couple times per year).  If I were still dirty and/or smelly as a result, I really think that somebody, most likely my girlfriend, would have mentioned it at some point over 2 years.

It turns out, as Paul has advocated, that most things that get the human body dirty are in fact water soluble.  So that is my shower regimen for at least 2 years now: lots of hot water, and vigorous-but-brief action with my hands, and that's it.  I mostly don't even use sponges or wash rags (just a personal preference), though I do use this hair scrubber along with the hot water for about 45 seconds.  Using just my fingers works fine, but this works better and I LOVE they way it feels on my scalp:

https://www.amazon.com/%F0%9F%92%97-Orcbee-_Silicone-Shampoo-Massager/dp/B07MZ7V9W7/ref=asc_df_B07MZ7V9W7/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=312112161255&hvpos=1o2&hvnetw=g&hvrand=13105836926293131525&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9010619&hvtargid=pla-654156109116&psc=1

So, my costs for consumption of self-care bath products are $0 (even baking soda costs something).  My one-time cost for my favorite hair scrubber is less than $3.  And my showers are quick, too!  That is an added bonus.

I don't know that my grandparents would recognize this type of bathing as normal and effective, but I am willing to bet that their grandparents would!
 
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Matthew Nistico wrote:

Jeanine Gurley Jacildone wrote:...Brush teeth with baking soda – but I just saw the post here on making toothpaste – gotta try that.

Wash my body with baking soda.  Due to severe skin problems I had to eliminate all soaps on my skin.  Now I scrub only with baking soda, Epsom or sea salt, or grape and olive oil.  Not only is my skin in fantastic shape (for an old lady) but I am saving money and am eliminating use of chemicals and packaging in my toiletries...



A little off-topic, so hoping the OP will forgive...

Be careful about reliance on baking soda for DIY self-care.  It might be fine for your teeth and your skin (I really don't know), but over time the pH imbalance can fry your hair.  It is a very popular solution for poo-less hair care, I know, and it probably works for some people; everyone's body chemistry is a little different after all.  But it has had bad results for others.

Consider trying something simpler: nothing at all!  I went poo-less several years ago.  At first I used baking soda.  Then I came up with a complicated, baking-soda-free recipe for hair care.  Then I got lazy and started using nothing, and really couldn't tell the difference!  Then I got even lazier and stopped using soap on my skin as well.  Again, couldn't tell the difference (at least most days - every once in a blue moon I will use a little soap if I'm feeling excessively greasy or have gotten into something nasty, but we're talking a couple times per year).  If I were still dirty and/or smelly as a result, I really think that somebody, most likely my girlfriend, would have mentioned it at some point over 2 years.

It turns out, as Paul has advocated, that most things that get the human body dirty are in fact water soluble.  So that is my shower regimen for at least 2 years now: lots of hot water, and vigorous-but-brief action with my hands, and that's it.  I mostly don't even use sponges or wash rags (just a personal preference), though I do use this hair scrubber along with the hot water for about 45 seconds.  Using just my fingers works fine, but this works better and I LOVE they way it feels on my scalp:

https://www.amazon.com/%F0%9F%92%97-Orcbee-_Silicone-Shampoo-Massager/dp/B07MZ7V9W7/ref=asc_df_B07MZ7V9W7/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=312112161255&hvpos=1o2&hvnetw=g&hvrand=13105836926293131525&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9010619&hvtargid=pla-654156109116&psc=1

So, my costs for consumption of self-care bath products are $0 (even baking soda costs something).  My one-time cost for my favorite hair scrubber is less than $3.  And my showers are quick, too!  That is an added bonus.

I don't know that my grandparents would recognize this type of bathing as normal and effective, but I am willing to bet that their grandparents would!



Gotta say, i follow this to the T. I dropped shampoo almost 3 years ago, and have never looked back. I even get people telling me my hair looks great. If i go to my family back home they all say i stink. Around where i live no one says squat.
 
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Larry Koelsch wrote:After WWII, My Grandfather and Dad went down to the Railroad yard that was near our Town and tore apart Jeep crates, pulled all the nails from the boards. All nails were saved, and straightened. While my Dad was in Europe (Battle of the Bulge) my mom bought a small lot in town and after the war they built my Parents first house. Years later my Dad secured a building that needed to be destroyed. So my brothers and Dad tore down that building and hauled the lumber home, by then we had a small farm. My "job" that summer was to pull the nails and straighten, putting them into a coffee can. piling up boards that were true 2x12's that were 16 foot long. Dad somehow found old telephone poles and we used them for posts for a Lean-to for farm equipment.
True to my upbringing, while working in a factory, the company purchased new equipment and was shipped in long lumber. I convinced them to let me take it, instead of the landfill. so back at it again pulling out the nails and keeping them, for construction of a shed that I had built. Now my Son has picked up the trait as well, and maybe in a few years, my Grandsons too. Funny that I read this thread this morning, because a car dealership in a town I was in yesterday bought an old Motel, and was tearing it down, hauling it to the landfill. Sad.



I suspect nails were better then? I've tried straightening newer nails that bend without much success.
 
Matthew Nistico
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Gail Gardner wrote:

Larry Koelsch wrote:...My "job" that summer was to pull the nails and straighten, putting them into a coffee can...



I suspect nails were better then? I've tried straightening newer nails that bend without much success.



Excellent point!  I couldn't speak to modern nails vs older nails per se, but I have recently built my own home, and scrounged for a lot of used materials in the process.  In my experience, a nail once bent is 1) very difficult to extract; 2) very difficult to straighten again; and 3) quite likely to re-bend when you attempt to reuse it.  While I applaud the spirit of thrift embodied in the original post, and certainly acknowledge the value in reused materials, I would advise that reusing nails is not a cost-effective measure unless you are practically penniless.
 
Gail Gardner
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Matthew Nistico wrote:

Gail Gardner wrote:

Larry Koelsch wrote:...My "job" that summer was to pull the nails and straighten, putting them into a coffee can...



I suspect nails were better then? I've tried straightening newer nails that bend without much success.



Excellent point!  I couldn't speak to modern nails vs older nails per se, but I have recently built my own home, and scrounged for a lot of used materials in the process.  In my experience, a nail once bent is 1) very difficult to extract; 2) very difficult to straighten again; and 3) quite likely to re-bend when you attempt to reuse it.  While I applaud the spirit of thrift embodied in the original post, and certainly acknowledge the value in reused materials, I would advise that reusing nails is not a cost-effective measure unless you are practically penniless.



Yes, newer nails can be straightened, but I have had no success getting them to actually drive straight when re-used. I suspect the composition of the metal used for nails has changed over the years. The new ones are just too soft to re-use. I remember re-using nails long ago without these issues.
 
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