Sunday, 21 November 2010

Simple, Green & Frugal in the BIG SMOKE!

By: Notes From The Frugal Trenches

When I first began writing for the co-op, I was in a small city surrounded by countryside and I was waiting for the day when homesteading was in my future. While I've not let go of that dream and do expect one day to be surrounded by fields of donkeys, pigs, hens and rabbits (oh my!) right now I'm embarking on a new adventure, big city living. For a variety of reasons this is the right option for now and truth be told, the longer I'm on this journey & the older I get, the more I realize it doesn't have to be all or nothing when it comes to the simple, green and frugal life!

Since I knew I'd be moving I've been reflecting, researching and deciding what simple, green and frugal choices I can make during this new adventure in big city living; the more I think about it and begin to put new rhythms into practice, the more I've realized I'll be living quite a green existence. Some of the ideas I'm incorporating into my daily and weekly rhythm, which allow me to live to the values I hold, even in a city are:

1. I'm going car-less - one of the readers from the co-op challenged me to this and at the time I thought it would be impossible. Well, I made a decision to accept a position which I didn't "need" a car for. Yes a car would be easier, but it isn't "needed" so alas, I'm going without!

2. I'm creating a home filled with mostly second hand items! In fact I'm now the proud owner of some pretty funky retro furnishings!

3. I will be shopping at a market sourced by local farmers! This also means I'll be able to source large amounts of seasonal fruit and veg for canning!

4. My apartment is within walking distance to work! My two feet are pretty much the greenest form of transport available to me! [For the curious, I cast my apartment net within a 1 hour walk to work, although settled on something a little closer!]

5. I plan to grow salad herbs inside my apartment and enjoy fresh cut local & seasonal flowers when possible!

6. I will be volunteering in the outdoors: city farms, fruit picking clubs and local park clean up projects will help fill my time!

7. I've found knitting and crafting clubs to join!

8. I'll be making my own shampoo and soap.

9. I will be using re-usable toilet paper! [Yes, really!]

10. I'm budgeting for 10 subway tokens a month in order to make the wider communities (aka communities with parks, ravines and nature areas) accessible!

11. I'll continue being paper-less and chemical free! No paper towels or chemical based cleaners - I'll be using re-usable cloth, vinegar and baking soda!

12. I'll actually be able to go home for lunch probably three days a week! This will drastically make meals easier, more frugal and simpler!

13. A lot of people want to spend time in the city I'm in, but hotels are very expensive! I'm hoping I'll be able to do a house swap for holidays and enjoy a few days a couple of times a year on a farm, small-holding or home in the country for minimal cost!

Finally, I'm considering a worm farm compost, I just need to check the landlords opinion! :)

Do you have any suggestions for me about ways in which one can lead a simple, green and frugal life in the city? Like me are you surprised at how green city living can be?


Alison said...

I find that there are many things possible to do while living in the city that are simple green and frugal.

you mentioned worm composting: I have a worm composting setup that lives in my kitchen; it formerly lived under the kitchen sink, but I found that to be inconvenient, so I built a small wooden stand for it, and it is now near the countertop, where I can easily add suitable food scraps. If I do not point out what it is to people, no one would ever know that I have a box of "worms" living in the house

Bellen said...

Besides salad herbs don't forget salad greens, sprouts and even a tomato plant or two - try MicroTom they are suited for a 4" pot, grow only about 8" tall and produce good amount of cherry tomatoes.

I'd love to live in a city - I always think of the 'dumpster diving' opportunities. My niece who lives in a large midwest city has gotten shelves, books (why anyone would throw away book is beyond me) and magazines, a small table for the entryway. Her neighbors even ask, now that they've seen her tote stuff up the stairs, if she wants things they are going to toss - set of 2 mugs, curtains faded in the middle so she made placemats, an old broom that she used the handle to make a second closet rod.

And living where you can walk - you won't need a gym membership - money in your pocket.

Enjoy this new part of your life.

Tree Huggin Momma said...

I am also frugal, simple and green in the city. I work downtown and I live on the east side. I can walk to work (it takes just over an hour), take the bus or when the weather cooperates I bike. I have a home in the city so I have land to put in gardens, and I have been prepping beds for my spring planting and am very excited about the prospect of fruit trees.