Now, that JR and I are empty-nesters I've had to teach myself to make much smaller batches of food and buy smaller quantities or buy regular size and split it into smaller size packages destined for the freezer. This pared down cooking and shopping has led to other ways that we are paring down.
While packing up Dr. Boy's stuff for transfer to his new home JR and I went through all the storage boxes in the attic, our closets and the linen closets. We edited our stuff, tried on clothes for fit and style, donating or tossing what didn't fit, we didn't like, or we didn't even know we owned. We found threadbare towels that we cut up for cleaning rags or threw away. We discover kitchen utensils that we didn't use or want, that either went to Dr. Boy, into the camping supplies or were donated. We sorted through our 4 bookcases for things we already have read, probably would never read or things we will never have time or inclination to read. In the end we took 6 reusable grocery bags full of books to Half Priced Books. Netted ourselves $65 to spend at the farmers market. Woohoo!
Next up on the de-clutter/edit /weeding chores are the Christmas stuff (I have hopes to bring this down from 5 big storage boxes to 2 but most likely 3 big storage boxes), my studio closet (it is seriously scary), and (gasp) my cookbook collection. That's right folks, I'm going to weed my cookbook collection. I've determine to pick 20 of the most used cookbooks and sell the rest to Half Priced Books. This is a huge step for me!
I've been reading frugal living, simplifying your life and saving money websites. I'm determined to save money and reduce our stuff.
I thought I'd share this from Frugal Living/Wise Bread. It is about being raised by frugal parents but I think we can take some ideas for our own uses now.
1. You skip the headlines in the Sunday paper and head straight for the sales inserts. We don't even get the newspaper. The grocery store sales flyers come to our mailbox free on Tuesday and I don't use coupons. Why don't I use coupons? Because they are usually for processed food items that we never buy.
2. You’ve washed (or seriously considered washing) tin foil to use it a second time. I don't use a lot of tin foil (hats not included) so this I don't do. What I do use a lot of is zip top bags and yes, I wash them out for reuse.
3. You remember smuggling homemade snacks into the Saturday matinee. We have only been to the movies once in the last ten years. That time we went to the Saturday matinee to save money and ate before we went. No snacks needed.
4. You know how to buff your shoes to high shine by adding a bit of water or heat to the polish. No need for this trick. I wear Converse mostly and JR wears steel toed work boots. But it is good to know.
5. You’ll still stop to pick up a penny. Yep, I'm not too proud.
6. You ignore the suggested use or recommended quantity directions on most products. Ha! I have plenty of other conspiracy theories but this isn't one of them. The recommended quantity is just to get you to use more product.
7. There’s a coupon organizer in your purse or car (extra credit if it includes a calculator). Calculator = yes. Coupon organizer = no. See number 1.
8. You save rubber bands or twist-ties. We do this but because I'm an anal-retentive librarian they are sorted and zipped into plastic bags to reduce clutter. When the zip top bag is full I stop saving. I firmly believe in diminishing returns on this type of thing.
9. The chocolate milk you were served as a kid was heavily diluted with regular milk. Chocolate milk? Who got chocolate milk? As kids we made do with powdered milk. I mixed powered milk with regular milk when our kids were small but now that it is just the two of us we don't drink much milk. JR and the cat go through a gallon of milk and a pint of cream every other week (I don't drink it at all).
10. You have a loyalty card to any thrift store chain. They have loyalty cards? I do have an educators discount card at Half Price Books. Saves me 10%. Yay!
11. You can sew a button, darn a sock, or repair a seam. DUH!
12. You firmly believe that vinegar and bleach are the only two household cleaning products anyone really needs. We pretty much stick to this belief though I have indulged in Comet cleanser when it goes on sale. I have to add baking soda to this list.
13. Your family holds a contest to guess how much money is in the change jar every six months.We don't really do the contest part of this but we do have a change jar.
14. A little mold on bread or cheese doesn’t cause you to immediately toss it. Mold smold. I don't even believe in getting rid of food by the sell by/good till date. See number 6 about conspiracy theories.
15. There’s an almanac somewhere in your home. Google! The almanac went out with the de-clutter the bookshelves project.
16. You know the technique for properly canning food. Oh yeah! I've also taught 3 of my friends how to can.
17. You know what Green Stamps are. Not only do I know what Green Stamps are I still have some in my stash of memorabilia/Americana.
18. Your medicine chest has at least two hotel soaps or bottles of shampoo in it. Double this.
19. You know how to change the oil in your car (even if you don’t always do it yourself). Check. This was something that my daddy insisted that we knew how to do before we bought our first car.
20. The primary toys of your childhood were wooden blocks, the great outdoors, and a tire swing. No tire swing but we did have a great cul-de-sac that was the prefect place to play Kick-the-can, asphalt baseball and soccer. JR and I were lucky enough to be able to raise our boys on a piece of property big enough to allow for tree fort building, trail making and big hole digging. We also lost many tools, nails, rope and lumber in the pursuit of the above play activities of our kids. Worth it!
I've made the commitment to pare down, live more simply and buy less. The next hurdle will be to get JR fully on board. He thinks we have always been doing this and he is somewhat right but I think we can do much more. Wish me luck.