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Daily Archives: May 15th, 2022

For sourdoughs this seems like a no-brainer, old timers lived this way, every day. It was just normal life. When things broke, you fixed them. When they wore out you found a new purpose. When you didn’t have the resources, you cut back. In our age of modern convenience this is often a foreign concept.

Today’s climate of uncertainty, high inflation, product shortages and less expendable income might find yourself needing to make some adjustments. So, how do we apply this principle practically today? Here’s 8 ways to reduce, reuse, recycle & repurpose.

1. Take less to the dump.
Have a damaged chest: turn it into a wood bin or a flower bed? Furniture that you’re tired of, if there’s any life left consider donating it. If broken can it be repaired, by you or another person with proper skills/tools? Many of the dumped couches I’ve seen have been filthy and torn up from pets, not really functionally deficient. Performing regular maintenance and cleaning will help to keep your furniture functional for longer.
Too much trash? Can you separate burnables (paper, cardboard, tissue) and recycle it? Turn it into an art project, use it for animal bedding. Shred it and put into compost or build a worm composter let the little wigglers recycle it. Make fireplace logs from it. Recycle your aluminum cans or melt it down in a backyard forge for more homesteading fun!

2. Grow food instead of lawns.
Even a small patch of lawn can be used to supplement your household needs for food during the summer months. No lawn to spare? Consider container gardening or simple hydroponics if you don’t have much space. Growing your own food nourishes you twice, it nourishes your soul while tending the little growing plants then nourishes your body when you harvest. You don’t have to grow bushels or have a greenhouse to be productive! Use what you have!

3. Make it yourself
Learn a handcraft if you don’t already have skills like this. Crochet a potholder when you need one instead of buying a new Made in China model. Sew yourself some new curtains or maybe a quilt. Make your own bread or yogurt. Take a cooking class or better yet learn from an elder! Handmade cards and gifts are treasured around our house

4. Make do.
Need something like flower pots but can’t afford new at the store? Look around and see what containers you have sitting about. Remember the soup can you put into the trash? Paint it to decorate it if you’d like. Or tie some burlap and a ribbon around it for a shabby chic look. You can even cut the top off a soda/water bottle or milk jug for planting in. A cardboard box filled with dirt works well for one season. Old boots make great, whimsical flower pots! Get creative!

5. Hunt, Fish & Forage
All three are viable sources of food. Depending on your skill-set and available tools, most everyone can try at least one of these. Join a local garden club if you’re unsure. Befriend your green thumb neighbor and ask for growing help.

6. If it’s broke, fix it.
Car need new brakes or an oil change? YouTube is a great resource for leaning basic auto repair and maintenance. There are also books published for your specific make/model to tell you everything you need to know about your vehicle. One line of these books are called Chilton’s, you can find them at car parts stores, online and sometimes second hand. Remember, regular maintenance in your vehicle is crucial to keeping it in service as long as possible.
Jean’s knees torn out? Patch them. Zipper broke on your favorite jacket? Replace it, or find someone else to do it for you.
Some things are outside of our scope to be sure, but don’t be afraid to take on a task and learn a new skill. Besides potentially saving yourself some money you’ll gain satisfaction knowing you did it yourself.

7. Barter
Bartering, trading or swapping are great ways to procure goods when cash flow is low. You can always trade your time/labor for goods if you don’t have any goods to trade.

8. Consider different lifestyle choices.
This one gets a little personal, but no judgement, just something to ponder at night before you fall asleep.
When times are tough sometimes we have to consider options that we may never have thought we could do before. This can be a simple as riding a bike instead of driving. What about carpooling or limiting your trips? Instead of running to the store daily you could try once weekly shopping trips and buying in bulk. Cutting back on trips saves fuel expense as well as spending more money at whatever store you find yourself at.
With all this formula shortages going on, if you’re expecting, have you considered breastfeeding instead of formula feeding? It’s much more cost effective, and some say more convenient!
A big expense around here is communications. Cell phones, landlines, internet…what about getting by with one less cell phone? Have a “stay” family/home phone and a “go” phone instead of every family member having their own device. Cut the cable and put up an antenna for local channels. Cancel the Netflix, rent the occasional movie instead. Or better yet, read a book.
Are you a smoker? Besides the obvious quiting the habit, you could cut back. Instead of reaching for that next smoke, every other craving get up and go for a walk or any other activity to retrain your brain. Reducing your consumption is both economical and good for your health! Which will also save you in future medical expenses.

It’s usually during times of hardship that we are reminded about simpler days, when less is more. Sometimes we can get by with a little less & make do. Who knows, you might just find a little satisfaction in being more self sufficient! If you’re not careful, you just might turn into a sourdough.