Every so often, we can find ourselves looking at our lives with a critical eye. I don’t mean in a negative way that can leave you feeling bad, rather the positive type where you appreciate your fortune but know that some things have to change. I had one of those moments this weekend.
We decided we needed to clear space in our garage and sorted through all sorts of old fittings, plastic boxes, broken furniture, camping kit and long forgotten paint tins. Some are just waiting for “that day” when inspiration strikes and the renovation gets done, others because they are useful. The things we will use got stored away more neatly, leaving us with a car load that needed to go to the local rubbish tip.
As we had been away on holiday, we had also missed our recycled rubbish collection so we packed that into a car too. Maybe it was the act of having to throw glass and plastic into the right container rather than leaving it for a curb-side collection, maybe it was the truly shocking amount we saw of old TV sets, plastic chairs, broken chipboard furniture being thrown away at the tip that got to me. I realised I want to take action to reduce what we bring into our house and what gets thrown away.
We are lucky in that we supplement what we grow in our garden with a delivery of meat and vegetables from a great place, Church Farm at Ardeley. It is a mixed, high welfare farm and our box arrives with veg packed in paper, or tied with raffia with the odd plastic punnet of soft fruit. This does help limit the packaging that comes in each week. I cannot bear the amount of plastic that surrounds the average supermarket purchase. We also have a milkman so that helps too as we can return our milk bottles.
Looking round our house, I realise that much of the furniture that has lasted our time together and our children growing up, is the older, solid wooden items we have come to love. Most were donated by family or bought cheaply at charity shops and car boot sales. Ironically, some of the furniture we saved for has long since fallen apart! If our needs change and we need any more furniture, we will look for second-hand well-constructed things.
I already save all sorts from old greetings cards, orange and lemon nets, fabric, buttons, zips, old clothes etc to use, only buying new materials for crafty projects when I really have to. I like clothes but I am not obsessed with latest fashions and my wardrobe has some old favourites, some charity shop buys and some new. I am sure many could be altered with buttons, trims or a little bit of sewing when I get bored of them and am ready for a change.
From now on, I plan to re-use, recycle and re-love as much as I can. I am paler green than I thought!