I don't think I can post a more simple picture than this. I posted it a long time ago in my baby care post but the point I wish to make here is we simply have too much clutter these days. Just ponder on this photo for a moment.
In the past there was so much less and through time we have been constantly led into purchasing goods someone else wants us to buy and making us think we cannot live without it.
Since we have been doing our living like the 1940s history project we are absolutely learning to be more frugal and we were already more frugal than many.
In the 1940s, life was much more simple than it is today, we all understand that but when you try and live like they did in that era one quickly gets very good reality check.
So much of what we have today they did not have back then but they lived well, they knew their neighbors and watched out for all the children in the neighborhood and not for the same reasons we have today but for skinned knees, bumps and bruises.
In the 1940s new things were starting to emerge but then came the war and rationing but then after the war the age of modern conveniences took hold but still very unlike today.
When my children were young things were still more simple and there must have been a sign on our house that I could not see that said, "If you want cookies or drinks come here".
It was a wonderful time to live.
Pictured above my brother on the left in the checked shirt.
Now let us ponder on this photo, look at these boys and the way they were dressed. This was before all the how to dress properly went out the window. These boys did not have computers, cell phones, things to distract their learning. They did it the old way.
We never owned backpacks, we carried our books and many times our arms very full! We walked to and from school and our school was a few miles from our house. I remember the first time that a boy asked to carry my books, his name was Richard. My point is keep it simple.
So what have we been doing since starting the 1940s project? As far as organizing, we continue to remove items and some things we have replaced with older better made item such as our can opener.
My suggestion is each day find one thing that you do not need, has no real purpose and put it in a box. By the end of the week you will have enough to either sell, donate, recycle or throw away. Those days are going to pass either way so by the end of each week you will have rid yourself of 7 or more items or not. Do this until you feel less cluttered. I continue to do this because I am still not there.
I would suggest starting in the upper closets, shelves and cabinets. Then you will have more places to put away those things sitting around that have no place to go.
We have gotten rid of a lot of plastic items but it is almost impossible today to rid our home of all plastic.
We cannot fix what we don't know.
My husband and I document things that cost. Every morning my husband will read our electric meter and write down the reading. We read our water meter each week. Many people kept records back then.
We also write down the temperature and humidity, these are all factors in why we may be using more or less electricity and water. We study what we are doing so we can do better.
We save every single receipt and push it down on and old office post. It has a round thing at the bottom and has this metal post as shown looks like an ice pick.
We do this because then the receipts are in order and at the end of the month, like shown here, we have everything we have spent and when. I know this looks like a lot of receipts but there use to be more and we have cut back a lot.
There are gas receipts, hair cuts, grocery, hardware, repairs, household, etc. When we check out at the store we check out twice separating the groceries from the household so we know how much we spend on food. At the end of the month we write down what we spent.
Being frugal should never be thought as doing without or a reason to have a pity party. It can be empowering because we are more in control. When we work hard for the money we have it should never be wasted.
With the 1940s history project we have basically removed ourselves from most advertising. I rather like it and it is a relief. If you don't see it you don't want it.
When living in an instant world as we do today many people put things on credit. We do not charge anything and I hope we never have to. We lived that era years ago and I never want to go there again.
We keep less in our refrigerator and freezer but we still keep food in the pantry for emergencies.
We are not spending as much money on food because of what we don't buy anymore.
We do not buy any chips, sodas, cookies, anything extra at the store. We purchase non processed items as much as we can. If we leave off all these extra items then there is more money left for good whole foods.
Now when we shop we notice the things people have in their buggies we are so different than others. Before we simply fit in. Before the 1940s project we had already cut out many foods and became more sensible but now with the rationing it has helped us to do even better.
We have a grocery fund, we decided how much money we can spend on food per month and we do our best to not go over that amount. It makes us purchase wisely.
This is a place we would go to fish when I was growing up. Fishing was part of our food. We regularly fished, cleaned them and cooked them. This is something many of us do not do anymore.
We have reduced the serving size of much of our food and especially meat. We eat more chicken but again different portions than we use to eat.
We use less oils, butter and fats. I have never stretched butter so far. I am not baking sweets like I was, instead I cut up fresh peaches, sprinkle just a small amount of sugar, maybe a teaspoon or less and pour just a tad of milk over it. This replaces dessert and we are getting use to it. Also baked apples are simple and very good. We find we feel better when not eating much sugar. I was having trouble digesting gluten but now I can eat it but I keep it minimal such as bread and noodles.
We eat more vegetables and went back to basics with eating, more carrots, potatoes, turnip roots, sweet potatoes, greens, cabbage, beets, corn but not often, peppers and onions. We also eat rice, gravy, eggs as you have seen so many times in posts recently, grits, toast or biscuits. We do not seem to tire of these foods. It keeps us stable on our budget. We do eat other things at times but these are our main foods. Of course everything is cooked from scratch.
We drink water and we drink it warm in a coffee cup. We start our day with a cup of warm water and it makes you feel you are drinking something more. We boil water first thing in the morning and then put it in a thermos and drink it throughout the day.
My husband drinks coffee but now only two cups a day. And I occasionally have one cup.
I think about all the money we spent on sodas. We do not even crave them anymore. It is all a mind thing, just keep sipping warm water.
We have dropped our electric bill, we turn off lights, we removed our televisions and so we do not watch television. We simply use less of everything.
We save money for various reasons and it all adds up.
We try our best to save water because where we live we pay for what comes in and twice for what goes out. We are simply conscious of what we are using.To save water you have to do something such as reuse water for another purpose such as flushing the toilet.
We don't take a shower or a tub bath, we take a pan bath. That way when we don't waste water waiting for the hot water to get there. We sit on the stool, dip water using a cup and pour over us then with soap and wash cloth and lather up and then pour the water to rinse. We actually get very clean this way. It did take a bit of figuring out but now we are use to it.
We did a one year study on living without a hot water heater and we are going back to our study and documenting how much savings. I will post that when we are finished with the study. When the hot water heater is off we heat water using a kettle for washing dishes and bathing as well as laundry.
We went back to wearing our clothes more than once or twice and we hang them on a rack outside our closet. In the past children came in from school and hung their clothes to wear again. They changed into play clothes to go outside and those were worn until wash day.
In the 1940s people did not have a lot of clothes to wear as we do today. Washing clothes too often wears them out. Of course if they are soiled put them in the hamper. My husbands work shirts and pants have never been put in a dryer. I take great care with clothes now because they are very expensive.
I am trying to break a bad habit I developed over the years and that is using too many kitchen towels and cloths. Now I am washing them at night at the kitchen sink and hanging them to dry.
Another saving is hanging clothes to dry on the clothesline and not using the dryer. They did not have dryers in 1943 where we live.
We do not purchase kitchen garbage bags, we ask for plastic bags at the store then we save them. We have a small bucket that we purchased from a bakery that is about 2 gallons or so. It is just right to put the grocery store bags in. We put our garbage in this and when full put it in our large outdoor garbage can. It is not 1940s but saves money.
Other things we do is:
Purchase clothes at thrift stores there are good clothes there, that is what I do.
We try to use old rags mostly to do clean up jobs in the kitchen and house instead of paper towels.
We have cut back on unnecessary trips to the store and still working on this.
We have cut back and disconnected anything we can that drains the budget.
I roll my hair so no wattage used there except in a special situation which requires me to have to get ready in a hurry.
We take advantage of the weather. We do not just set the thermostat and keep it that way. We cool the room we are in only when needed and do the same with heating unless we have family visiting then we cool or heat the house.
Is our home free from clutter, dust and junk and our budget perfect? Absolutely not! We have the same issues everyone else has. But it could be worse.
I hope this helps, Grandma Donna