Monday, April 18, 2011

Living within your means

With the approach of Earth Day there is a lot of chatter about living a "greener" life.  Not only is it a benefit for the planet but in many ways a benefit to your wallet. My husband and I have always tried to live responsibly and reduce our impact.
Over the years I have come to find that the biggest difference in attempting a greener life is to also attempt to live within our means and be content with what we have.
Not having the money to buy "New" means buying used. Nearly every project in our home renovation has used materials we purchased off craigslist or at the Resale Lumber store. During our kitchen renovation we searched for creative materials to use not only for their price factor but so our home would exude creativity.

Here is a list of the things I think help one feel happier in the home you are in. Sort of a "Bloom where you're planted" kind of mentality:

  •  Trends are expensive-decorate your home with things you love and forget what's "in"or "not in"
  • Make better use of what you already have- Paint, paper &mod podge are all cheap and relatively reversible when you get sick of them
  • Buy used only when it makes sense- when we renovated our kitchen we chose a used fridge but a new dishwasher, generally speaking people are harder on their dishwashers than anything else in the kitchen.
  • Try to come up with creative materials- Our kitchen knobs and lighting together cost us well under $100 and we constantly get comments on how great they. We have something to be proud of and we saved loads of moolah!

  • When using creative materials do loads of research- Before choosing to do brown paper bag floors I spent weeks reading about other peoples experiences, mistakes, pros and cons then I made a large sample of it before deciding whether or not to do it. In the end I knew what my risks were and how to avoid catastrophe, which would just cost more money and time in the long run. P.S. it the best flooring ever in my opinion!
  • If you have out door space, work with it- For me, learning how to keep a yard has been one of the best experiences as a homeowner. Before I took the time to learn, all I had outside was wasted space and chores. Now I am rapidly becoming a true gardener, with a nice yard and fresh organic produce! It is such a great way to connect with nature and have something to be proud of. I have a few projects coming up on that soon!
  • It never hurts to ask- We have had many people give us very nice things for free or next to nothing just because we asked. Swallow your pride and ask your neighbor if you may have that desk they are throwing out or if you may take a clipping of their prized hydrangea. Most people enjoy being generous and I have had more than a few craigslist finds end up cost less or even being free because I brought them a jar of homemade blueberry jam. I have also taken donations to my local thrift stores and asked them if I could trade them for things I'd been eyeing in the shop. Like I said it never hurts to ask!
  • Use less of nearly everything- In our home we use cloth napkins and dishtowels, sure I keep a few paper goods on hand but rarely use them. When you do laundry all the time anyways whats a few extra napkins to fold. 
  • Make Friends!- If you want to have a happier life make friends with everyone, you never know what might come of it. If you and a friend are both planning building or renovation projects you can work together and even go in together on materials. Most materials are cheaper when purchased in larger quantities and work can be done faster with the help. Both our neighbors and us are planning on re-staining our decks, together we can share a 5 gallon bucket of stain, application pads and a pressure washer rental and save over $100!
  • Love where you are!- By far the most important! Yes it would be nice to have everything you dream of but pining away for them just wastes your time. I want a tropical vacation on some far away sandy shore but I'd be just as happy with a day here on the river, splashing with my boys.

Alright, enough of that, it's time for me to live what I'm preaching and go paint my new closet organizer (in lieu of a walk in closet) then go snuggle with my little one!

Peace and sweet peas!


  1. I absolutely love your blog! I also blog about chic, cheap living and being content with what we have. I think contentment is a rare thing these days but when found, can completely change our priorities! I, too, an learning that doing this also leads to a greener lifestyle and re-making things as much as possible. Thank you for your blog - it is an amazing inspiration to me!

  2. Great post - I completely agree! And I needed the reminder.

    Oh, and your German Pancakes look amazing!



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