Am I the only one longing for a resourceful, old-fashioned way of life?
I miss the good old days.
I know I’m not that old, but I still remember life during my childhood when people were less busy and more carefree. The late ‘70s and early ‘80s weren’t as hurried and harried. When kids had birthday parties, they were simple and fun. Think water balloons, pin the tail on the donkey, and homemade decorated sheet cakes.
- We rode bikes – without helmets.
- We drank water from the hose – without wondering what our garden hose was actually made of.
- Boys played baseball – without an obligatory trophy for every single player on every single team, and without parents bringing snacks for the whole team.
- We rode in the back of station wagons – facing the rear – without any seatbelts.
And in all of that carefree way of life, we made green decisions without ever calling them green. They were just plain old common sense. As Cindy, an Accidentally Green reader quipped, ” I’ve always been green … just it was called ‘being cheap’ growing up.”
- We returned pop bottles to the grocery store for a couple cents.
- We reused packaging like jelly jars and plastic margarine bowls without calling it recycling.
- We mended clothing and passed it along as hand-me-downs.
- We gardened to save money – and for the simple joy of gardening.
- We bought fresh meat from local farmers – because it was fresh, delicious food sold at a reasonable price and it financially helped our neighbors.
- We bought furniture and clothing from garage sales without labeling it as repurposed.
- We combined errands into one big trip one day a week, instead of going out each day.
- We ate at restaurants as a special, infrequent treat.
- We drove the same vehicles for years and years and years until they wore out because we didn’t need the latest, greatest model.
- We made most of our meals from scratch, because processed food tasted much worse and wasn’t cheap.
- We lived seasonally and enjoyed all that we could of every winter, spring, summer and fall – food and weather-wise.
- We lived in reasonably sized homes that didn’t cost a fortune to keep – or furnish – because we didn’t need anything bigger.
- We saved up for purchases and bought quality items that only needed repaired – not replaced.
- We had lawns that were filled with dandelions and clover – they didn’t look like golf courses.
- We were satisfied with what we had – and didn’t feel deprived.
Green living … or thrifty, old-fashioned living?
Yet the mention of green living is overwhelming to some people. Going green has turned into a potentially expensive or time consuming task. Why add it to your to-do list when life is already complicated?
I have fantastic news for you: Green living does NOT have to be expensive OR time consuming. And it doesn’t have to be a radically different way of life. At its heart, green living is simply embracing a commonsensical old-fashioned way of life and old-fashioned values.
- When you reuse or repurpose something – whether it’s clothing or containers or aluminum foil or furniture or chicken bones, do you consider it green living or thrifty, old-fashioned living?
- When you choose to not materialistically buy, buy, buy just for the sake of buying and consuming, do you consider it green living or thrifty, old-fashioned living?
- When you turn the lights off when you leave a room – or turn the heat down in the winter and let the house get warm in the summer – do you consider it green living or thrifty, old-fashioned living?
Green living doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, green living doesn’t even have to seem green. It can seem like a commonsensical approach to life.
Today, green living is partially bucking the selfishness of a greedy, consumeristic culture and choose to wisely use – and reuse – what you already have. It’s about refusing to take just for the sake of taking, and choosing to give back.
Plenty of old-fashioned advice
I know what works in my home. And Accidentally Green readers have been kind enough to share what old-fashioned (or green) living tips work best for them. I think you’ll love their advice:
Becky has 5 great suggestions:
- Start with what you already have. Before you buy something ask, “Do I have anything I can use instead?”
- Also use up all you have before you replace (like cut open your toothpaste tube and use it all).
- Use less than you think you need.
- Use organic coconut oil from Costco for lotion, diaper rash cream, toothpaste and more.
- Want to give up paper towels? Instead of buying anything, use old towels or wash clothes. Use unmendable, stained clothes cut up for rags or toilet needs.
Tammy has 4 wise tips:
- Buy less of everything.
- Buy organic on produce that isn’t peeled, but regular on peelable produce to save money. And buy produce in season!
- Repair clothes to make them last longer.
- Use envelopes from junk mail as a grocery list/coupon holder.
Bobbie suggests using – and reusing – what you already have. She uses rain water to water her plants and old towels for cleaning cloths.
Lindsay eats less packaged food – and she plants a vegetable garden to help with this.
Bekah makes her own cleaners, and Tennille has uses reusable cloth products whenever she can.
Meg loves to shop around. “You’d be surprised what places carry organic goods for MUCH less than the places you look first.”
Crystal has advised making slow and steady green changes. “It’s easy to get overwhelmed if you try to do it all at once.” (I couldn’t agree more!)
What sensible, green living tips work best for you? How do you maintain an old-fashioned way of life?
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