I am someone who doesn’t have a lot of material wants. I’m happy with what I’ve got, not constantly yearning for the latest, or greatest, new things. I’m a glass half-full, not-trying-to- keep- up- with- the- Joneses- kind-of-person.
My partner and I owned a second-hand, consignment shop, Good Bones: Housewares With History, for five years. In that time, we sold all kind of interesting things from antiques and collectibles to musical instruments, books, furniture and art. We live on a small island, but many residents have been world travelers and collectors of cool stuff. I loved researching and finding out the history of an item, without the need to possess it. It was enough to hold on to something, then let it pass through my hands to someone else who would value it.
I’m getting to be more like that with chickens – I can’t keep every gorgeous chick I hatch – and am able to relinquish them to new homes. It’s enough to know that I have helped create some fantastic looking birds, who lay spectacular eggs and allow someone else to enjoy them.
In keeping with my pared down needs I also like to think of myself as frugal. I was born to a frugal mother: someone who ‘made do’, never paid on credit and never pined for what she couldn’t afford.
When my friend, Tracy & I worked on a coop for my broody hens and grow-outs we challenged ourselves to spend as little as possible. The original structure was free and most of the additional materials were things I had on hand or scrounged for free. We were proud to have completed the project for $40 (it might have been less had we had more time to find the things we needed). To read about our building adventures click here.
As I get older I start to measure the actual cost of things in terms of my labour. That is, do I want to eat out when I could make something better at home for much less? Do I need this thing, which represents five hours of my take-home pay? Do I want to work longer, or more, to pay for something I don’t really need? The answer is often ‘no’.
So to that end, I delight in finding a bargain, a treasure for nothing or some paltry amount compared to the joy it will bring me. My days as a picker for Good Bones have honed my skills. I go to garage sales and thrift stores, check out the online classifieds, post ads for what I need and am a big fan of freecycle (online classifieds where everything given or requested is free). If you’re interested in what I’ve managed to pick up for my chickens – all for free – click here.
I’m lucky that I also live in a community with several Facebook community bulletin boards, where folks post stuff free or for sale. We’ve also got great recycling centre with a re-store. I’ve found many a treasure, building materials and chicken supplies there.
I thought I would post some of the things I’ve found. Keep checking in – I’ll add the latest finds at the top.