Every night the news is full of one word- recession. So many people getting laid off or downsized as they called it in the 90’s when Will got laid off from a very nice job as a Graphic Designer for a big Oil company in Calgary. We’d gotten used to living a comfy life with savings and holidays and money to buy things. It can be hard to make that transition to not having that nice paycheque with the perks thrown in. But luckily, we’d had practice. We were children of the 60’s and were well into being green and recycling even then.
When Will was still in Art College, we had to make a student loan last forever with little kids growing up and needing lots of stuff. I had a little sign on the kitchen wall then. It said “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”. Today I’m not so sure I’d say “do without”. I have found over the years that the world is a pretty abundant place – as long as you don’t mind second hand. We haven’t been in a mall for years. We rarely buy anything new. We find more than everything we need at garage sales and thrift shops. It’s not a hardship, it’s actually a pretty nice way of life. And did I mention really cheap?
The other day I was reading an article in the neighbourhood paper about a couple who had taken a pledge not to buy anything new for a year. I applauded their newfound enthusiasm for being green consumers, but I had to chuckle a bit since it’s something that has been such a part of our lifestyle for so long that it’s just not news to us. It’s just something we’ve done since the art college days.
We look forward to garage sailing season. We’re ready to go by at the latest 9 am Saturday, with our thermoses filled and muffins packed. Part of the fun is finding a great place for a coffee break, in a new park we’ve discovered or by the beach.
We’re very conscious of wasting gas in our little Subaru station wagon. And yup, it’s second hand too, what I like to call pre-dented, so we don’t have to worry about every scratch or mark as we would on a new car.
Last weekend we went to a flea market, one stop shopping. Our favourite is a street sale, when a whole street has a neighborhood garage sale, because it saves gas and we can visit a whole lot of front yards looking for the perfect bargain in one stop. Another way to save gas is to decide from the ads where the most sales are in town and mark out a route, so that we’re not crisscrossing all over. And of course, we always visit the ones that weren’t advertised on the way. You have to keep your eyes peeled for those. Speaking of which, why can’t people make signs with big letters so you can see them as you drive by.
I have a real belief in abundance and that all you have to do is want or need something, and somehow the universe delivers. Call it flakey but it works. Odd things happen. A couple of years ago for instance I decided we needed one of those black barrel composters. A couple of days later, I’m out for a walk and not even a block away there is a black composter and a whole bunch of other good stuff on someone’s front lawn with a “FREE” sign on it. I, of course, wasted no time getting it home. Another time we needed a door for our studio, with a window, preferably steel and practically the first garage sale we went to had the exact thing for $10. We got them down to $5, hey, we’re cheap! The door had been cut down but even that was ok because it was exactly right for the space we had. And it came with the door frame. Perfect!
If you want to get a sense of abundance, even in a recession, just start garage sailing or as some say, thrifting. The savings are fantastic, lots of good things that you can really use are even free and hey, everything is getting a second lease on life and not going into the landfill. What could be better? or greener?
Who knows what we’ll find tomorrow?