Saturday, 5 November 2011

THRIFTY NOT SHIFTY - Green with gratitude

Now I tossed and turned over this blog title. Do I call it green with gratitude, or Retro Vision or Thrifty not shifty?
Since the blog is based on gratitude, that title won, but I really loved Thrifty not shifty! Then I decided to be greedy and blend the two!

I think I am the queen of green.

No, I don't recycle every single container, piece of paper, cardboard or tin. I do use commercial washing powder but 1/3 what they recommend. I use vinegar for softener, cleaning drains, cleaning in general. Borax is bountiful, Eucalyptus oil a godsend and Lemon's essential. I use earth friendly washing up liquid, I prefer candles and essential oils to artificial air fresheners. Ooh and it doesn't cost the earth! In winter I put a pot of water on the wood fire with cloves and cinnamon and vanilla.

 Since ever I can remember I have loved "old" things, junk my mum called it. To me it was like treasure hunting. It still is.
My nana's old tins that she rescued from the shed for me, Grandpa was storing nuts and bolts in them! You will also see an old salter scale that is still in balance, jars with various cutters and old mixing bowls

 The lure of an op shop is often just too great for me to resist, or a second hand store. I mean who knows what hidden treasures lurk in there?

I am not the only one with this little habit.
The great Diva Kamina over at blogs solely about this. I often share the little gems of stores I find with her, so that she too can check it out and share with others.
Kelly Doust has even created a successful writing career and website around upstyling what you can find, check out It is classy not trash to be stiff with your cash!

 I have a wardrobe full of fabulous finds almost all from op shops. They are clothes I could never buy full price. Such as two cardigans from this season, Country Road and Witchery, both pure wool and two of them for less than $15.00, a whole lot less than they were new. A Ginger Crush bag, Nine west kitten heels, Veronika Maine skirt and pants, Stephen Dattner suede jacket, Jaqueline Eve clothes, Espirit, Susans, Portmans, my wardrobe is bursting at the seams.

 My children also have a wardrobe full and I mean full of clothes all brand name and all from the secondhand stores. Some still have new tags on them. There are so many parents out there that see something, love it and buy it, but don't stop to consider if it will actually fit the child when the right season comes around or the child goes through an unpredictable growth spurt - as they do, who would have thought? So I buy my girls secondhand clothes and they are still well dressed and they ruin them at kindy or childcare or in our own backyard and I don't have to sweat it out over the replacement cost or chide them unnecessarily over clothes.

Nor does it mean that they have one good outfit that they are rarely allowed to wear and when a special occasion comes around, no longer fits them. It is also a far cry from the tragic memory I have of hand me downs. My cousins were all older and the clothes were well and truly out of date by the time they came to me. The best I had was Grasshopper, my children have general Target, and others such as Fred Bare, Pumpkin Patch, Milly and Molly, Eeni Meeni Mini Mo, Milkshake, Espirit, Country Road, Gap, Next, Ooobi and Sprout.

 It is not just fantastic clothes that lure me, but nostalgic memories. I often seek things that I loved in life at somebody else's home. My style I would say is classic/antique/eclectic, but not offbeat. I recently bought a tin letter, bills, misc. holder that is the same as my nana's, my mother was horrified, but I loved it. Bit pricey though I paid $4! Occasionally I can find a nice Carlton ware piece or some junky old vase that looks great with flowers in it.
My $4 letter holder, RRP as high as $20 in some trendy "retro" stores.

 Back to my kids. Our toy-room is um.....a little bit like a kindy room. Few of the toys I have bought new, most were secondhand or gifts. Great learning toys, hammering blocks, duplo, marble run, operation game, barbies, prams, irons and books. We love books, I will always let my children buy books and often this is their treat.

From this to...see below

The $5 Fisher Price Secondhand dollhouse, complete with climbing baby.

Playroom converted old sunroom at the front of our house. Wall of bookshelves was originally timber, carpet was on sale and the redecoration of this room cost less than $300, including lots of white paint to cover the dry old timber!
We have lots of creative and educational toys, run of the mill - over marketed toys, lots of books and now two matching secondhand white desks with hutches. There is a wall of white board and blackboard for drawing and writing, peg board for hanging and is their space to do what they like!

 My love of green extends to saving toilet rolls for craft and any type of wrapping, it never takes long to collect huge piles and often I take these to childcare and kindy. My kids are often screaming to do craft and a bit of sticky tape, some cheap shop embellishments and home made glue go a long way for an afternoon of entertainment. If supplies are low, you could always find a place such as That's not Garbage. . Such a simple idea for being green with benefits for so many.

 This week has been hard rubbish week in our neighbourhood. For once I didn't have much to throw away. However someone still found use in my old clothes horse, junky metal rods, a broken dolls pram and old kids bike and an old round table that will be nice with a coat of white paint - I just never got round to it. I am not sure why the little old cane chair was left though?

Me well I found two perfectly good steel painting ladders, timed nicely for house painting this summer and a little mantle piece, which will be great in the new cubby. Could have picked up four matching dining chairs for our set of six, but I was not quick enough on my walk around the block and well people come equipped with trailers early on the Monday stuff goes out for pick up.

 So being green is so easy, it does not mean radical change or going without. In buying what others no longer need or want I am saving myself money and the earth. There is no need for cotton to be unnecessarily irrigated in the Australian desert so that I can have nice clothes, I am buying something that has already been through the manufacture process and there is almost no packaging or bags, as here in South Australia we no longer have plastic bags and need to recycle or use environmentally friendly bags. I never go without, the money I save on clothes I can instead spend on food or decent footwear. I probably should just save it for that renovation that will never take place if I keep going to op shops!

So be grateful for others who have more money than you and throw away perfectly good items. Be thankful for those impulse buyers who we can then cash in on for great finds. Thank god for the Salvos, Vinnies, Goodwill, not to mention the numerous other little gems in our midst.

Try the multiple online sites too:

Check them out you too may just be surprised at what you find.

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