Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Free-cycle & 'make-do-and-mend' ideals

The basic concept of free-cycle is simple: to "recycle" items no longer needed, rather than throw them away. The only rule is that things have to be offered free. Free-cycle ettiquette suggests that you should give and take in equal amounts but I cannot imagine that anyone really monitors this.

When we moved into our flat last year we were so pleased to find somewhere we liked and we could 'afford' in an area we liked with a reasonable journey to work that we did not stop and realise that it also has a few irritating flaws. A hard to air bathroom. Windows sealed shut. No storage space. A little persistance on the free-cycle boards followed and we were soon the proud new owners of two chest of drawers. A plea in relation to a suitcase meant that I soon was heading round to a neighbouring flat to pick up one they no longer wanted. It has a squashed wheel but it is still a functioning suitcase, which I did not have to pay for, and which did not end up in landfill.

It therefore seemed sensible to see whether anyone wanted our unwanted things. I posted two lists of possessions which ranged from "bag of assorted mens clothes" to handbags, glasses case, a free flatpacked beach ball still in it's wrapping to an extra edition of Vogue which I was sent in error. Almost immediately responses came flooding in. Someone wanted the un-used LA Fitness water bottle, someone else the LK Bennett flipflops. Within 24 hours I had takers for all of the things I listed. Some have clearly gone to private individuals. One man has said he will take everything that I have left - although it disturbs me that he might be selling it on - at least he is taking it off my hands (and if I was really that bothered about selling it I should have done so myself).

Yesterday I posted a plea for unwanted hanging baskets for the garden. I have experimented with soil in tubs on the back step but pretty soon after filling them they were dug up by something. Today I received an offer of three plus wall brackets. I am hoping to work out where and how to hang the baskets and hopefully by the summer we should have either some flowers or some baskets of salad. Yesterday I spent the evening planting basil seeds and giving them plastic hats, lining them up on the kitchen window sill where I hope they will start germinating. I am also planning a box of some kind of flowers on the outside of the window sill. But I am determined not to spend any money on this exercise. I have asked my parents and grandparents for old or spare gardening equipment and pots. I am re-using the soil/compost from last years tomato grow bag and I may, if I am blessed with the right equipment, dig up the compost bin and use the bottom layers in with the soil. I think I may have to buy some plant food, but I have requested cuttings from my family and any old seeds they do not want or have not yet got round to using. In short, I am returning to make-do-and-mend principles as well as hoping to reduce the food miles of our diets. (I am also hoping to save myself a bit of money)

I have also posted on free-cycle asking if anyone has an old sewing machine they no longer need. No-one has responded so far but I am determined to acquire one from somewhere as I would like to start making a few summer clothes and household embellishments.

1 comment:

missy said...

Just found your blog through Blogging James. Its great. I'm like you and need to stop shopping!
I have tried many times to de clutter but it never works!
You remind me of a Carrie Bradshaw!! hehe! Take care and have a great bank hols!