Tuesday, 11 February 2014

You can only spend it once . . .

The big de-cluttering continues.  We have found stuff we had forgotten we had.  A lot of "stuff" we didn't need.  What we do need is a spare room which is going to be called the Library instead of the Junk Room (!) and it's nice to have some money back on these unwanted possessions.  So we took a car full off to auction yesterday.  The auction was very very busy last Saturday, so definitely the best time to sell our stuff.  We don't want to spend weekends trying to sell it at car boot sales either.  We need to spend our time more realistically, as once the house is back on the market it has to look its best at all times, and the garden takes a lot of hard work in the spring and summer.

Meanwhile, I am still diligently writing down all our expenditures, day by day, keeping meter readings, pruning the outgoings to the bare minimum and using up the contents of freezers and storecupboard.  I am listing my collectable books on eBay, along with various other possessions which I am hoping will sell better on eBay than at auction.  Put it this way, I'm not willing to give these things away for a pittance.  Unwanted books and unfashionable china are another matter and will have to find their own level.

In the kitchen, I am using the heel end of every loaf - if not for toast, then blitzed in the blender and dried to breadcrumbs in a slow oven for home made stuffing and coverings for fish or chicken breast.  Vegetables we can't use up quickly enough, get turned into soup, or frozen before thhey reach the stage of needing to be used up.  I hate waste.  My daughter used to have me grinding my teeth when, back in her student days, she would tell me what her house-mates had been doing - chucking out last week's loaf as they bought this week's fresh one (cheapest supermarket white pappy sliced - yuk!), chucking out unopened packets of perfectly usable pasta or rice just because "they'd been in the cupboard a few weeks now".  And there was my daughter, seeing unopened packets of stuff on top of the bin, removing them to use herself!!

Leftovers are religiously used up - last night's meal for me was the last portion of 4 day old curry, which had improved with keeping, flavourwise.  My husband had beans on toast and some ham on the bone which had been reduced in the supermarket yesterday.  You don't have to have an exciting specially-cooked meal every night - sometimes you need to slum it!

There's an old saying from my childhood, something along the lines of not having BOTH butter AND jam on your bread - it was always one OR the other.  A fact some folks would do well to remember in these leaner times.

In the meantime, we watch the scenes of the flooding on television and feel so sorry for all those people, so desperate, and worried sick about their homes (at risk from looting, as much as from the flood damage) whilst the powers that be are saying sagely, oh well, you chose to live on a flood plain, or we won't play the blame game at the moment, (Cameron), let's just deal with the job in hand.  It seems that they can't even do that properly - my husband says because of the severe shortage of Armed forces available to help.  I think with more weather on the way and the wettest winter for 250 years, it is going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

Try HERE for photos of recent flooding on the Somerset levels, where things are getting worse rather than better.


  1. We're very hot on waste too- can't abide it. We never chuck food away. My husband has a cast iron stomach and will eat anything no matter how old and I plan our food shopping so we don't usually have any left overs. If there ever is, either the chickens have it or we compost it for the garden. Throwing dry food like rice and pasta away UNOPENED is appalling! Do these kids not have to stick to a budget? I'm planning to do more wild harvesting this year - I much prefer those sorts of greens anyway (sorrel for eg) and it suits my digestion more as I get older too.

  2. Well done with the decluttering .. it can be so difficult to let go of treasured items. I think the auction is the best way forward for large lots... not long now till spring and the house can go on the market. Lets hope it goes quickly and you can start your new chapter .. exciting.

  3. No waste here either and that's extended to family and friends so we share all sorts. Makes for a much more exciting life!

  4. I try not to waste anything either. Leftovers can be used in many ways.
    I grew up in the desert and we never wasted water. Turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth for example... I see so much wasted water We are in a drought, it is our winter and have had no rain ! It will e a horrible summer here.
    Love your heading photo.

    cheers, parsnip

  5. I agree with you about food waste. My mother never wasted even a crust of bread - we had some super bread and butter puddings - she would have considered herself a failure in the kitchen otherwise.

  6. Must admit that the tail end of my bread goes towards the birds, can't bear to see them hungry. Love the thriftiness in this post....

  7. We waste very little, and always finish what's on our plates-there is never anything left to throw away. I do get cross with myself if I find something has really passed it's sell by date, but we will use up stuff if it's a bit older than it should be.
    In the middle of another storm but we are not flooded.

  8. Waste is a bad deal-here in usa I hear the statistics: we throw away 50% of the food we buy. I almost drove off the road when NPR shot that at me one afternoon. With so many starving in the world we have no business wasting it as if no one needed it. I have Dom Helder Camara's quote as the first thing one sees when they come into my home: "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist."

    So relieved to hear that you are not flooded out, BB, I have wondered for a few days if you were doing ok despite the newreels.