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Old 01-23-2015, 05:34 AM   #29
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You are exactly right, Paula.

Until there is no discernible, possible use, don't throw it away. Re-use and re-purpose was the mantra of our frugal, depression-era mothers.

We are really all on automatic pilot, until we can bring ourselves to turn it off.

I have to remind myself that I don't have to keep things just in case I might need them someday, and that donating unused items in good condition to Goodwill is better than keeping closets full of those just-in-case items.

If someone else can use them, they are not wasted. If they are not worth someone else's consideration, it is okay to throw them out. Period.

It is difficult, but it can be done.


Maggie
I will admit to being a bit of a hoarder. One problem I have observed over the years; if you buy something and like it, you had better go get another one or two (or three or four) right away because some clown is going to produce an new and improved version that ain't! The new improved version is usually not as well built and doesn't do the job as well as the original AND costs more to boot. Seems to be a common theme when manufacturers are trying to squeeze every penny of profit out of a product...

Aaron
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Old 01-23-2015, 06:50 PM   #30
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There's frugal - and then there's obsessive.

I had a girlfriend once and we got to telling each other "my mom is cheaper than your mom" stories.

She won the contest when she asked "Does you mother have a big ball of string that contains string from every package she ever got, every kite you ever flew and every spare piece she happened to see lying on the ground?"

I replied, "Yes and it's as big as a volleyball"

She responded, "And at night, when you're all watching TV, does she crochet the string into dishcloths?"

I.... "you're kidding!"

She... "And here's a sample - and they are damned GOOD dishcloths too!"

I.... "OMG, my mother is a wastrel and a big spender!!!"



We could get together and share cheap tricks - some are actually very good, others are a bit too silly or gross to believe. A good one is how to truly enjoy eating turkey. Roasting a turkey isn't something you do every day - even though it's not like climbing Everest. But most of us just hack meat off for cold turkey sandwiches after the "big meal" and about a pound or two of good meat goes into the garbage. Instead of that, disassemble the turkey into four or five planned meals - freeze some if you don't want to eat everything in the first week or so. The process:
  • slice everything big enough to use in sandwichs and put it in a good sealed container - It will disappear in 3 days max.
  • smaller slices - finger size or so, go into a ziploc bag, and become part of a chef's salad
  • littler chunks get combined with fresh or frozen mixed veggies, leftover gravy and half of that gelatin stuff on the bottom of the roasting pan, and you make a big beautiful turkey pot pie (homemade crust or store bought, whatever)
  • Why not turkey tacos?
  • Take the rest of the gelatin stuff, the liquid you cooked the neck, gizzard, etc in and you've got turkey stock - add big noodles, celery, carrots and it's soup (oh and use the skin to add more flavor and fat in the cooking process, but remove it before serving because all of the good yummy stuff has been depleted.
This is quite a bit to do right after Thanksgiving dinner when all you want to do is go into a coma, but the key thing is get ALL of the meat off of the bones before you throw them out. Put the ingredients for the turkey pot pie together and cook them, then refrigerate. Making the pie is then a matter of laying in a bottom crust, pouring in the filling, adding and sealing the top crust, and putting it into the oven. Put the turkey stock ingredients into a jar a sealed container, or even the pot you cooked the "innards" in, and when you're ready for soup, add the rest. BTW, I don't eat the heart or gizzard - the neck meat goes into the stock, the neck bones go in the garbage. The liver already went into the turkey gravy - after being rubbed through the basket of a fine strainer... or a cheese grater if you like coarser liver flecks.

You'll be tired - but you don't have that ever more decrepit skeleton of a turkey peering out of it's degrading foil cover taking up half of your fridge for a week. And you won't have to really cook anything for again for a week or more.

All that goes in the trash is the bones (of COURSE you recycle aluminum foil you cooked it in, right?)

Paula
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Old 01-23-2015, 07:21 PM   #31
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Somewhere I have a list of 365 things to do with left over turkey...

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Old 01-23-2015, 07:59 PM   #32
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We love the small house movement. I have had this vision of us eventually settling down out west in Utah or Idaho on a few acres of land and building a tiny house and farmlet.
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Old 01-23-2015, 08:35 PM   #33
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Paula, my parents were so cheap they would rinse off their paper plates to re-use them, and hang up wet paper towels to dry for re-use.
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Old 01-23-2015, 08:46 PM   #34
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My grandpa used to say they were so poor they cooked one strip of bacon, hung it on the clothes line and everybody sopped the shadow.
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Old 01-23-2015, 08:49 PM   #35
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Sometimes one can become penny wise and pound foolish.

As for a tiny house, I've actually designed one that is 8' x 12' and provides (minimal) living space for one person. Doubling the footprint would provide a garage big enough for a Smart Car and lawnmower.

We've downsized from a 2000 square foot house with an oversize double garage and 8 x 12 storage shed (no basement) to a 340 square foot motor home, and now we're seriously thinking about a further downsizing to a 30-34' wide-body Airstream.
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Old 01-23-2015, 09:02 PM   #36
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I admire all of our parents and grandparents. Their thriftiness may seem a little strange for us but they went thru some really hard times..making them a product of that era. It made them wonderful people that never wanted to endure that kind of hardship again and a better life for their children..thanks Mom and Dad.

Love my AS and love tiny houses.
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Old 01-24-2015, 05:55 AM   #37
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I feel that "cheap" and "frugal" are different mindsets.

Frugal is using whatever resource wisely, avoiding and eliminating waste, IMO.

For the depression era folks, this stemmed from financial hardship and perhaps items not being available for purchase. You simply couldn't afford, for whatever reason, to let anything usable go to waste.

If you have ever lived hand-to-mouth, you never forget it. It becomes a part of you, and is extremely difficult to shake. Ask me how I know.....or, how many meals I could get out of one frying chicken.

They are good lessons to learn, even with a life of more, because you never know when life might turn on a dime.


Maggie
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Old 01-25-2015, 04:10 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by Lily&Me View Post
I feel that "cheap" and "frugal" are different mindsets.

Frugal is using whatever resource wisely, avoiding and eliminating waste, IMO.

For the depression era folks, this stemmed from financial hardship and perhaps items not being available for purchase. You simply couldn't afford, for whatever reason, to let anything usable go to waste.

If you have ever lived hand-to-mouth, you never forget it. It becomes a part of you, and is extremely difficult to shake. Ask me how I know.....or, how many meals I could get out of one frying chicken.

They are good lessons to learn, even with a life of more, because you never know when life might turn on a dime.


Maggie
Right on, Maggie! I came from a poor farming family in central Iowa back in the '40s and '50s. As a young boy, I received one new pair of blue jeans and one new pair of shoes each year. My shirts were made by my grandmother from the cloth from flour sacks.

We didn't know we were poor, because everyone else was in the same situation.

We took care of things. Clothes, socks and underwear as well, were mended until there was nothing left to mend. Shoes and boots were patched multiple times. To this day I have trouble throwing out an old ragged shirt or pair of jeans. "Waste not, want not"
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Old 01-25-2015, 04:34 PM   #39
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Downsizing starts off painfully, but with a little bit of humor and frequent injections of reality, it gets easier and easier.

The problem is that the deep seated habit still persists - and about 3 or 4 times per year I have to RE-downsize. It's all made worse for many of us who grew up with parents that first went through the Depression, then World War II and all of it's rationing. Underwear and socks were DARNED until they fell apart. If a shirt or blouse was worn out, the buttons were cut off before the garment was trashed, and every T-shirt ended it's life as a dust cloth.

Did you know that when sheets wear out, 90% of the wear is in the center - and the edges can be cut out and made into pillow cases? Really. As a teenager I finally asked my mother if she didn't think four dozen pillow cases were perhaps excessive. And then there was the "slime jar". No sliver of an old bar of soap was ever thrown out. They were put in a jar and when there was enough, hot water was added so that all the little slivers dissolved. You washed with the slime until it was all gone before a new bar of soap could be unwrapped.

So the hoarding gene has been reinforced by early training - and periodic purging is the only hope. Fulltiming in an Airstream just means doing it MUCH more often. I just bought some new socks and underwear. Everything IN the drawer will be pulled out, inspected and the old will be tossed to make room for the replacements.

T-shirts and blankets and a large heavy plastic tablecloth that I no longer use but are still serviceable are all going to be hung on the side of a dumpster tomorrow night. I know homeless people hang out there at night... I think I'll throw the yellow quilt on that too.

It's a never ending battle.
You must be my long lost sister. When it came time to liquidate mom's house at 92 years of age she still had furniture from when she got married and the first nickel she ever earned. sal
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Old 01-25-2015, 05:22 PM   #40
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I've been following the Tiny House movement longer than I've been Air"dreaming".

Conceptually I like the tiny homes, but I remain skeptical. As Wally Byam himself seems to have said, a trailer designed to travel is one thing, building something with wheels that is really a house to primarily circumvent building codes is another.

Anyways, I now have an 88sft airstream trailer when I wish to take a vacation from the 4500sqft(on 5+ levels) townhome.
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Old 01-25-2015, 06:29 PM   #41
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Right on, Maggie! I came from a poor farming family in central Iowa back in the '40s and '50s. As a young boy, I received one new pair of blue jeans and one new pair of shoes each year. My shirts were made by my grandmother from the cloth from flour sacks.

We didn't know we were poor, because everyone else was in the same situation.

We took care of things. Clothes, socks and underwear as well, were mended until there was nothing left to mend. Shoes and boots were patched multiple times. To this day I have trouble throwing out an old ragged shirt or pair of jeans. "Waste not, want not"
Yep.

Doug's mom gave me a quilt made of patterned feed sacks that she had made.....sacks chosen back in the day, by the woman of the house, who knew who needed clothing.

Most of us have never experienced real hunger or serious want.....even in my poorest days, there was always food and adequate clothing for everyone.


Maggie
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Old 01-25-2015, 06:37 PM   #42
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Altho doing more with less is often born of necessity rather than choice, it is a very valuable bank of knowledge to have.

Altho I see my past in me every day ...and don't we all...I'm glad I know how to live and do like I learned many years ago.

I could do it again tomorrow, if necessity required, and help others learn.


Maggie
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