Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Living Off Winter's Harvest

We're in the midst of an "economic winter"- there's no denying it. There are no blantant opportunties blooming around us. No low-lying fruit to effortlessly pick off. No abundant harvest to reap.

It's winter, and we're all feeling it. As with all animals, it's time to bunker down, conserve, and ride it out in the faith that spring will come. And some of us are facing a much harsher climate than others.

However, nature has a way of providing animals a way to survive this season. For some, it's excess fat. Others: a stash of acorns. Still others, a long sleep.

Yes, it's winter for us, but we what many of us are forgetting is that we have also just came off a large harvest. While our money stash may no longer be there, we probably all still have a lot of STUFF that we've built up and never used. Stuff we've ignored, wasted, underappreciated, or squandered.

So now's the time to find that stash in your home and not just survive on it, but enjoy it. If you're anything like me, you'll be shocked at the amount of stuff you have hidden in your home that will carry you for a long time, in many different ways:

  • Food: Start here. Go through your freezer, pantry, and frig and make a list of all the ingredients you have. Then try to plan an entire month's worth of meals from it. With the exception of a few quick trips to the store for a very few items, I bet you can do it. If you need help, http://www.cookinglight.com/ has a feature where you can enter an ingredient you already have, and get a list of recipes using it. And remember, none of us facing bankruptcy or forclosure is too good for cheap coffee, frozen vegetables, or domestic beer!

  • Toiletries: Inventory the half-used bottles of shampoo, toothpaste, lotion, hairspray, etc. and put them all in one place. Then use them. And they don't have to be your favorite brand.

  • Clothes: Now is the time to Bolddiscover the otherItalic Bold90% of your closet. Spend an indulgent afternoon trying on absolutely everything you own, but, contrary to former advice, not with the purpose of getting rid of what you don't like, but in order to like what you already have. Make it work. And if some things seem out of date, try just changing the shoes and the belt- that can instantly update the whole look.

  • Entertainment: This is probably a gold mine for you. Remember all the classic novels you bought and never read? The unfinished crafts in your basement? That huge pile of old music CD's? Pull them out and make yourself a pile, vowing to get through them before you go "consume" anything else. I will never, ever get through the great books I thought I couldn't live without...and never opened.

  • Kids' Activities: BoldKids are even worse than we are about ignoring the abundance of toys and treasure around them, so they will need our help in this. It's all about the presentation. I went around my house and gathered up all the overlooked toys, books, coloring books, and crafts, and put them away in a closet. Now, every time my kids express boredom or criminal deprivation over not having something new, Voila! They appreciate the "new" toy (even if they recognize it) more than ever before. A good lesson for all of us.

Have fun with this. How wonderful that all of those purchases that seemed so important at the time are finally getting their day in the sun! And never overlook the positive environmental impact you are making by using what you already have.

In the words of Sheryl Crowe, "It's not getting want you want, it's wanting what you've got."

-The Wasteless Mom


lindabhayes said...

I appreciate the reminder of the larder in our home. With so many of my friends unemployed, I need to think of ways to share the bounty.

Patricia Rivera said...

I appreciate the reminder of the larder in our home. With so many of my friends unemployed, I need to think of ways to share the bounty.