The idea of buying local from go-getters who have set up cottage industries to supplement their budget awakens in me the young adult that happily lived a simple and minimalist life long before it was vogue. I hardly recognise myself now. In an ugly moment of reflection I notice I have joined the masses in worldly pursuits and the stresses of living in a globalised world. I’m cringing. How did that happen?
We talk about technology having connected us via the internet and other state-of-the-art telecommunications, yet we are perhaps the loneliest and most community-isolated people in history. Our lives are automated to the extent we programme devices to switch on, switch off, vacuum, answer calls, schedule emails and posts. At the press of a button, hey presto, it’s all done! With our lives on a programmed schedule you’d think we’d have more free time instead of running out of hours at the end of the day.
In a different life I made the family’s clothes from scratch, using a pattern, fabric and the time available to a stay-at-home mum. The family’s jerseys were knitted with pure wool and carefully hand-washed. Rips and tears in favourite clothes were mended with zany patches that added personality and character. Our children went to school with home-baked goodies in their lunch boxes and a stash of wholesome ingredients sandwiched between slices of wholemeal bread, often home-baked.
After school, we shared afternoon tea as the children unwound from their day before heading out the door to extra-curricular activities; they walked or biked. Eventually our children’s clothing preferences were for
over-priced clothing with designer labels but they were happy to earn the wherewithal to purchase these despite the wicked prices.
However, as the MOTH (Man of The House) and I move towards the next phase in life I am leaning towards the simplicity of days gone by.
Rhonda Hetzel’s book, Down to Earth, found its way into my hands: how I love serendipity! The book’s tagline a guide to simple living makes me smile because it is where I long to return to. The forehead-slapping moments made me realise how immersed in consumerism we had become and it’s difficult to pinpoint a time when our philosophy of ‘simple’ gave way to consumerism. I don’t imagine we actually decided towards the shift, it – just – happened.
“Do what you can with what you have” is my motto so to that end I returned to slow and simple, in the loveliest sense of the phrase. Rhonda Hetzel’s book had easy to follow recipes for cleaning products that used reasonably priced everyday products. I started with the laundry liquid. From measuring to bottling it took an hour and a half and made 17 litres of laundry liquid. Each litre cost $0.36. Half a cup of laundry liquid per hot or cold load. You can do the math – it’s a great return for little effort. The base ingredients are sufficient to make another three batches.
This is our second batch of homemade laundry liquid. The first batch lasted three months and that, despite the MOTH being a clean-laundry freak. Half a cup per load, cold, warm or hot, and the MOTH uses white vinegar as a fabric softener.
This month I am participating in the A-Z Challenge to write posts related to each letter of the alphabet. My theme during this challenge is that of values – both lived and elements that add value to life. You can find out more about the challenge here.