The time is now …
Karen Marshall tells us about her isolation tips and how to think thrift over the next few months…
We are in. In the house for as long as we need to be. I’m no expert on COVID-19, so we are sticking with the government’s current advice and staying home and away from everyone. So right now, it’s me and my husband (working from home) and my two young sons (no more school) for the foreseeable.
We find ourselves not being able to make many of our normal everyday decisions. It’s hard and feels like our control has gone. Our timetables and schedules have been wiped out with very little to hook ourselves onto. Our usual routines of travelling, meetings, swimming, coffees, chats, sandwiches, football, tutor, lessons… gone.
We are very aware we need to reduce spending in our household, we need to think very carefully about how we are using our resources. Whether that’s our food – we need to kick back against this panic buying and food hoarding – or what we are clicking on to get delivered. I’m sure there are many more necessary deliveries than a jar of face cream for me! So, here are a few sustainable things which have happened so far:
No waste. I’ve had veg on the edge. Leeks reaching their peak. If this was a normal week, I would have been too busy, they’d probably have ended up in the food bin, but this week they got turned into soup. We all sat down together to eat it and I had the pleasure of seeing empty bowls. Now I’m not going to let anything go off.
Reduce resources. We moved into our new house last month. We’d had the washing machine and the dryer plumbed in but we’d yet to put up the outside washing line. This has been found and tied up today. The sun has come out and I’ll be using weather power to dry my washing. In my defence it has rained solidly for the past 4 weeks (well it feels like it has!)
Re-use. There was a filthy old bathroom cabinet in the house. It got taken down when we repainted the walls and left sitting on a chest of drawers. The thing is, the storage space in this odd little cabinet is useful and the opening mechanism is rather clever. It’s now on a flattened cardboard box (left over from the move) getting sanded and repainted. After all, I have time and I already have sandpaper and paint left over from the house renovations. I’m enjoying it too and trying to learn to take my time and do things carefully (which does go against my nature!).
My husband cleared out some old clothes. Our bedroom has very little space, so he decided to take the hit and minimise. Not getting around to taking them to the charity shop had me sorting through the bag this week. I now see many of these clothes are useful. I’m currently wearing his jumper (sky blue and rather beautiful), the youngest is wearing a man-sized fleece to bed and I’m wondering what I can do with a velvet coat, old suits and shirts. I have a sewing machine, I have the time and the inclination.
My head said ‘gardening time’ as soon as I heard the schools would be closing. Growing for me and outdoor activity, lessons, and responsibility for the boys. I’m still going to the supermarket and managed to pick up a grow bag and a gardening magazine with 10 packets of free seeds yesterday. Most of the seeds need to be sown now. I am lucky to have a small garden and the old guy (Jim the previous owner) left us lots of pots and an old compost heap which needs some attention.
Resourceful – The house came with its very own large and dangerous poplar tree, only a few feet away from the kitchen door, curving worryingly over the house. It came down for our safety and to the relief of the neighbours. This wood is now in the garage. Ready to chop into fuel and be dried for next year. Chopping all that wood will be a free gym workout too!
I’m sure when you stop and think you’ve done similar things, if you stop and think you can be creative, be thoughtful and find some joy.
Stay safe and #thinkthrift!