Well, we're five days in to The Year of Thrift and I'm pleased to report that things are, so far, heading in the right direction. I realise it's only five days, but in that time I've put in place quite a few different ways of doing things and I'm hoping that by the end of January at least I should be seeing some real differences.
Being a project manager at my core I'm very much of the opinion that you've got to take stock of where you are to be able to tell if you've made a change or not. I'm therefore starting the year by making a real effort to keep track of exactly how much I'm spending and what I'm spending it on. I'm already amazed, and slightly scared, by some of the results! More of that later on.
What I am hoping to share with you are some of the changes that I am making and how I'm taking inspiration from this particular wartime publication to start me off.
Pretty much everyone knows the title "Make do and Mend" and many people think of it as repairing things that are broken rather than throwing them away. Yes, that is the mend part of the title, but making do is just as important a part. One of the first things I'm doing in this year of thrift is working out exactly what we do have in our house and trying to make do with it.
As a family, we're lucky enough to have a house that at times seem rammed full of stuff. Everywhere I look, especially at the end of the day, there seem to be things. Things which we use. Things which we don't use. Things which I've forgotten that we even owned. Last week over on A Thrifty Mum I was reminded of this quote by William Morris:
Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.
I think our problem is that we weren't actually using all the things that were useful, and there were also plenty of things that were no longer useful to us, but would be to other people.
So, we're taking stock of what we have and trying to use all those things that are useful, especially where using them means not having to buy something new. I'm starting with consumables. We've drawers and cupboards full of things like toiletries that we've either been given as gifts or that have come home from hotel rooms across the world with us and there is absolutely no point in them sitting there when every so often our supermarket shop include more shower gel, or moisturiser, or soap. The cupboard under the kitchen sink is similar – especially since when DorkyMum left the country she very kindly left me with loads of cleaning stuff, although I'm still wondering just how good the special offer was that meant she had five unopened bottles of dishwasher rinse aid! Our food cupboards are very similar with cans and packets of things heading towards use by dates and gathering dust.
All the things we can make use of are being pulled to the front of cupboards and instead of adding more shower gel to the shopping list this week I instead found some hotel sized bottles to use up. Rather than buying another bottle of my usual multi-surface cleaner I dug out a half used bottle of something I've mad for years and I'm using that up. Small changes, but they'll still make a difference and in the long run also help to de-clutter the house a little bit.
For the first time in years I've also gone through the wardrobe in the corner of our study and taken a look at some of my clothes from before children. There are some things which may never fit me again and have gone off to our local charity shops, but there are other things which do still fit and have been brought back into my everyday wardrobe. Whilst they may not all be the latest fashion, some of them were quite timeless pieces which I'm now grateful for as they actually go well with what I normally wear.
So, with no money spend I've got some new clothes, enough shower gel, moisturiser and bubble bath to last me a while and I'm coming up with some recipes to use up what I've discovered in my food cupboards.A good thrifty start to the year.