Living Frugally, with Purpose and Style: the New Conserver
From the book The New Conserver
A year or so back, I was the lucky recipient of a gift card. It’s not exactly easy to get to the particular physical location so I was keen to just use the value up.
Ended up with like eight of these small bread pans, thinking when I got home, hmmm, maybe that was silly.
It turns out that these little pans have been incredibly useful. I’ve taken to using them for storing single-serve frozen meals that I can easily stick in the freezer.
In this case, I do first take a layer of Saran Wrap to cover the food in order to help prevent freezer burn, followed by a top layer of tin foil. Not sure how long this keeps the food; generally I try not to leave these in the freezer too long, especially dishes with cheese, but so far I’ve been pretty pleased with the results all around. I used to store things in jars or tupperware, and then I’d end up throwing things out since I’d have to wait through a bit of defrosting time, then inevitably I seem to get distracted between taking the food out and actually heating it up. This just works a lot better for me – I think of it, I take it out, I put it in the oven – skipping the step of having to maneuver the frozen food from jar to pot.
I’ve definitely developed a pet peeve against mops over the years. I think I used to use one myself, but realize it just seems a lot more effective to run a towel or yes, paper towels (especially if I am in a hurry) over the floor on my hands and knees.
Once upon a time, I lived with a person who insisted on using a mop and tons of pinesol and inevitably, I would feel the need to reclean the floor, or at least the smelliest areas, by hand after he finished, on the sly.
So I thought it was excellent to learn via a news story one day on NPR that the mopping industry itself knows that mops don’t work – hence the birth of the Swiffer – or whatever that product is called where you put disposable sheets on a pole.
My recommendation is to find some old thin towels, and cut these into about one foot square pieces. Then use this collection of towel rags to clean your floor since they can be tossed in a machine for washing pretty easily afterward.
My 20 year is coming up! Not in terms of being in car, but at least owning one. I moved to a big city to live car free. I wouldn’t necessarily say its gotten any easier here to be without a car. Train fare has just about doubled since I moved here! I was on a couple of the popular train lines here lately, and boy are people still packed in!
My neighbors think I am crazy to live here without a car. And – to their point – the neighborhood walkability index is quite low for a major city. Additionally, the neighborhood is considered a food desert.
Now, to help that out, they are putting in a big box store — the opposite direction from train into downtown, on a car-infested area by the highway — as a ‘solution.’ Laughably – a car-and-driven driven solution and overall aethsthetic. The very genericism I sought to escape by moving to my beloved and (theoretically) good for car-free people city.
Alas, the suburbs encroachment looms…. So why bother living here at all (I ask myself) if it’s turning into some car-infested nightmare, where now my pleasant walk to the train turns into double-laned, congested, smelling, bad for our intelligence car hell where a bunch of delay-hostile drivers will run down the ped walks? Thanks oh ye brilliant, forward thinking city planners!! Let us all drive ourselves to our deaths, morally, physically, ecologically!
Okay, let’s hope I am wrong about this and my total and utter cynicism…we will see. But I vow that I will not be setting food in said hideous big box store, where all clothes seemed to be produced for some giant race of people who have grown due to driving too much – and the circle continues. I hope to continue to be able to walk to the small grocery nearby that has fresh food – a pleasant experience where my grocer literally knows my name. I pray that this big box ‘solution’ does not drive my one great local source of food out of business.
Here is a tip in terms of cutting down on use of plastic. Try using a plate to cover your food, especially if you are storing it in a bowl in the fridge. I am not going to comment on which is better, safer, etc., just saying it seems to work pretty well for me when I use a heavy ceramic plate.
This morning I came across a posted entitled, “Does it seem like you spend the majority of your time (or money!) on content creation?”
Reminded me again of a little pet peeve I have these days with the general state of marketing – suddenly, each of us is now responsible for keeping up on this site, the other site, tweets, Facebook, blog posts, etc., etc.
What kills me more is that rarely are my small business clients willing to pay me to do these things. In fact, the most successful professional I know of in SM does training, rather than agency type work. These services start to look cost prohibitive due to their ongoing nature.
And when it comes to intimate little posts about your business, can you really outsource this stuff? Maybe quality doesn’t matter anyway – if you are sitting around writing all day, do you think I’ll be nitting over your grammar on your old tweets? More likely I’ll be too busy looking for my 1000 new twitter friends to actually read 1000 sets of posts…
But back to my actual point, which I haven’t even brought up yet. Is this SM mentality doing anything for the economy? Does the gain from the stealth few offset the costs of having many creative productive people now spending some portion of their day digging around for anything to write, with much of the output simply being regurgitation of news stories?
Does this not create yet another barrier to the successful of ALL small businesses, if this is perceived as compulsory? Because if you are actually focusing on the full range of media, it is time consuming. Let’s say you spend two hours a day, week days only, on average futzing around on Facebook, about 480 hours per year, or 12 work weeks, or 3 productive months of your year. That is one big chunk of time!
So this leaves me inclined to believe we are all collectively wasting our time in a big way. Yes, there are exceptions, but overall – Facebook in and of itself is a huge drag on the economy. And more weirdly, we create all this content and who is going to benefit most? Big business. Facebook. Google. Because they are in control of this data once you put it in their hands. And they care about their business, not yours. And have you noticed how many businesses Google is in these days? Many, many folks. Google is now going into the phase of morphing itself into a giant ‘walled garden.’ They no longer even share key phrase search data with other entities. Surficially this is good for the individually user’s privacy. That is – if you had any to start with, which you don’t. What this is best for is Google and their new information monopoly which is carrying them across numerous online products.
Sort of like network TV. There is the megalomania notion of being everything to the user. So I think we are definitely now in the dark ages of Google. You might as well use Bing. Microsoft and Google are now probably about just equally good, equally evil. And a recent user test showed Bing’s results were preferred 2 to 1.
These days I’ve had to start doing the following:
search term -facebook -twitter -blog
when I actually want to get some quality, in-depth, useful search results on Google. So I’ve just stopped using it for Bing, which does seem much better – hurray!
What about getting back to real notions of value creation? Making and providing a service of value? And what does proficiency at such things have to do with proficiency at social media?
Recently came across a reference to Crisco while reading the book entitled The Help by Kathryn Stockett. My mama (okay, just mom – I grew up north) always kept it around, and I usually have a yellowing tub around that I occasionally use for baking.
Well, no more! I can see myself running through tubs of the stuff in the future. From the book, the character Minny lists the following uses:
- gets gum out of hair
- cure for diaper rash
- use for moisturizer
- softens tough foot skin
- add a wick and use as a candle
- as a grease for frying
That’s a pretty good list. I guess you can use it in any household lube type situation, like a squeaky hinge, stuck bits, etc.
I tried it as a moisturizer on my face. I’d say it is great as a cold cream. Went on a lot like one. It got all my make up off and I wiped it off with a dry cloth and it left my skin feeling great!
I did a little more research and came up with this recipe for ‘cream’ from the web:
1 part crisco
I used a scented petroleum jelly (shea butter) and still added a little vanilla, which I love. I put it in a clear plastic tube with no sign of the Crisco label in sight (for aesthetics) and it works decently well.
Now that I have my own washing machine (and not one at a laundry mat), I’ve got back into my old habit of updating my clothes by dyeing them, especially with Rit Dye.
This past weekend I did a few batches – blue, burgundy, and purple. I am so psyched! Skirts, a dress, tops, a scarf. I even at the last minute dropped in an old favorite printed thermal and super glad I did it – looks great!
Also, I’ve taken to using the scissors a lot. I literally cut the top off a dress and now I am sitting here wearing it as a skirt. It was brand new and I loved the material, but the top was literally non-existent, and as a dress it was quite short. Since the bottom has an elastic band all around and the material non-fraying, it all worked out well. The dress I dyed was also brand new. I got it on sale, but I couldn’t deal with the color. Both the modified items were from UO reminding me of how when it first opened, a large percentage of the clothes were refurbished. So they would source a lot of say, old dresses, of a certain type, then refinish them the same way. But you had these subtle variations with each piece, which was super fun.
There were several gift items in the mix too. Say you receive a shirt of a certain color you never wear, for whatever reason, but the fit is fine. That is a great dye bath candidate! Also the super on sale five dollar shirt in the awful shade of bright whatever – that is also a great candidate for a dye job.
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