Do I want it or do I need it?

Author: Clare Welfare

Inspired by a Keep Britain Tidy campaign, I spotted their challenge of buying nothing new for the month of January. To be honest, you could choose to try this during any month of the year or even just have a go for a week. The idea is to use up what you already have in your house including repairing or re-purposing instead of replacing. Well, I thought that should be easy to do but as I write this I am just a couple of weeks into the month and I’m finding it quite a challenge. 

I was feeling quite positive before Christmas as I had been through all my clothes and shoes, and had managed to donate a fair amount of items that were either new or hardly worn to the Thorney Thrift Fair. Like many people I often buy clothes which I think I like but for whatever reason, I don’t wear them or finally when I do get them out of the wardrobe I find I just don’t like them anymore or they don’t fit.

So having sorted out my wardrobe, I have resolved not to buy any more new clothes which I definitely don’t need. I will also be checking out the local charity shops for purchases that I really do need in the future. Even Queen Camilla seemingly has an eye for second-hand treasures, as she recently candidly shared in an interview!

I’ve also been through my airing cupboard and discovered over 15 old towels and several blankets which must have been sat in my cupboard for at least 20 years. The local Half Way House Dog Rescue Centre was very pleased to receive them. Creating space feels good so all going well so far!

I then moved on to my kitchen food cupboards with the determination to try and use up food in tins, packets or jars that may be close to the end of their “use by dates.” I was shocked to find quite a few items were languishing in the back of the cupboard which were well out of date so I’m afraid I had to bin those.

I also discovered I seem to buy items when I go food shopping that I think I need without properly checking my store cupboards first. How else can I account for three jars of mincemeat, two jars of lemon curd, two jars of marmalade, several other jars of various flavours of jam plus 7 tins of baked beans! I also seem to have every variety of oil – virgin, olive, rapeseed, sunflower and even low calorie oil in a spray when in truth I usually only use the olive oil and the spray. 

Then it was onto the freezer. I found plenty of homemade soups and casseroles. I have itemised them and plan on using them up at least twice weekly before considering replenishing the freezer. I also discovered several packs of frozen mince, a dozen sausages, 10 fish cakes and 10 chicken breasts. Why….! I live alone so really don’t need to freeze that much from the shops!

So my target for the rest of this month is to combine the food from the freezer with my remaining store cupboard ingredients to make tasty creative meals. I love a bit of free styling when I cook and sometimes pleasantly surprise myself with some of my creations whilst suffering the occasional disaster too!  I am allowing myself to buy essential food from the shops eg. milk, bread, eggs, fruit, green vegetables, essential toiletries and cleaning products but that’s it.

The hardest thing for me to get to grips with for the rest of this month is curbing my “other shopping.” It’s all those other tempting items that I see mainly online that bring joy and pleasure to me and enhance my home. Do I need new curtains, bedding, ornaments, pictures? I might want them but do I really need them at the moment? No I don’t! I am enjoying the extra space I have created in my cupboards and drawers. I want to make sure I don’t refill the space with impulse shopping. It’s taking a fair amount of discipline but I am determined to keep asking myself the question “do I want it or do I need it?”

I hope I am some way towards changing my habits and the good news is I should have a bit more money in my bank account by the end of the month, so hopefully  it’s a “win- win” situation for both me and the environment!

I hope you have enjoyed reading this article. Why not take a look at our WH&T Going Green Facebook Page which is packed with ideas on how to bee more green, wherever in your journey to sustainability you are.

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