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Thrifty ways for modern days

All Areas > Environment > Save the Planet

Author: Caroline Bennett, Posted: Sunday, 24th July 2016, 08:00

Thrift is good for the planet, good for your pocket, and great exercise for your resourceful brain. Here are some fun ideas to help you stay thrifty.

Bars of soap
More soap in your bathroom than you will use in a life time? Turn some into washing powder. Buy washing soda crystals from the supermarket, weigh out half as much soap as soda crystals, grate the soap (that’s the messy part) and mix together. A normal scoop per wash will do it. To experiment further with washing powder recipes, hunt down some borax substitute to add to the mix.

Deep clean, declutter, rearrange
Feel like the house needs a revamp? Challenge yourself to go through each room in turn – deep cleaning, decluttering and rearranging your possessions. Use up leftover paint to touch up walls and skirtings and you may find you don’t need the expensive redecoration you thought you did. Don’t crash and burn though – half an hour here and there over several months is better than weeks of stress.

Donate, donate, donate
If you don’t want something anymore and it is good enough to donate, do so. It will make money for a good cause and someone else will feel excited to buy and use it. Sometimes we hang on to things thinking we might find a use for them, but someone else might be able to use it right now. You’ll enjoy the extra space at home too.

Tea towels
Scraggy tea towels can be cut into quarters to make cleaning cloths. Never buy a kitchen cloth again. Most tea towels are pure cotton or linen so have the advantage that they can go into your garden compost bin at the end of their lives.

Menu plan
Write a list of what you would like to cook this week before you go shopping. Look in the fridge and at the household calendar first. Make life easy for yourself, planning easier meals for nights when you will be busy or tired. Write a shopping list and only buy what you need.

Buy better quality, second hand
Before you buy something new, check around to see if you can find better quality second hand. Everyone knows that cars cost a lot less a year after they roll off the factory floor, but the same goes for all sorts of household goods. Go even older and you can pick up many vintage items with more quirk and style (as well as higher quality) than their modern equivalents.

Grow your own cut flowers
Instead of buying disappointing cheap bouquets, why not grow your own posies in the garden or pots? Mix herbs with easy going perennials and self-seeding annuals for an undemanding display that will look fabulous in the simplest jam jar. Posies make excellent presents for all sorts of occasions and loved ones.

Use your library
Libraries have e-books you can borrow, audio books you can listen to as well as the paper copies we know and love. Get to know your local library, its opening times and its app and you’ll find it as relevant to the modern times as ever.

Caroline is a member of the Gloucestershire Environmental Education Partnership (GEEP). To find out more about their work visit

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