Urban Adaptation

Sustainable urban living, rural dreams, and daily change for a homemade life.

On wanting

with 3 comments

I’ve never been much of a consumer in the typical sense.  Oh, I’ve wanted things – books, clothing, instruments, electronics, knicknacks, and so on – but my frugal nature and consciousness about consumption have gotten in the way (and rightly so, I think) for as long as I can remember (I should probably use this point to clarify that I have a more than adequate supply of stuff, it’s just been inexpensive thrift store stuff that doesn’t make much of an environmental burden by the time it gets to me).

In all honesty, I’m not sure that this shift into wanting and working towards a more sustainable life has left me wanting any less.  I think I’m just wanting differently.  Now, I want things that will help me be sustainable in the long run.  Things that are a means to be a means to an end rather than an end in and of themslves. Things that will last a long time.  Things that are useful and practical.  Things that allow for a bit more self-reliance.

The other day I started a wish list, a record of things to consider for the future.   It’s all things that at some point or another I’ve found myself coveting, and currently seems to be two parts things that I don’t have room for right now (or wouldn’t want to have to move), one part things that are too expensive right now, and a dash of somewhat romanticized ideas of the future.

What’s on it?  Here’s a sampling (minus books, which are a list unto themselves right now), and a tiny bit of the rationale to go with them.

A hand wringer washer from Lehman’s, for laundry on the porch when’s it’s nice, and laundry inside when it isn’t.

To replace the one I made that didn’t work so well, a sun oven for outdoor cooking.

A nice, big composter, which I’m not currently allowed to have outside my apartment.

To help others and myself have some light, a rechargeable solar BoGo flashlight.

A grain mill, for grinding my own.

A greenhouse, for growing my own veggies – I’m partial to the domes – and some tools to go with it.

For the much hoped for chickens, one of these lovely coops.

Clearly, a lot of these things are impractical or plain old unnecessary right now, but I haven’t stopped thinking about the day that I’ll have a use and a need for them.

That said, while this sometimes feels materialistic – shopping, just in a different form – I also try to remind myself that this is research.  When the time comes, I’ll have a good sense of what I’ll need, where to find it, how to make it work for me.  This research has also helped me to find things that I could probably do for myself.  While my solar oven didn’t work that well, there are more plans out there to try.  There are also plenty of plans for chicken coops and geodesic dome greenhouses that I’m keeping my eyes on too.

This is more to buy, certainly (or make, if I can get together the right skills), but it feels different.  This isn’t mindless consumption.  It actually feels very purposeful, especially since it won’t be happening for awhile yet.  In fact, to help make it more purposeful, I’m considering setting up a savings account to fund some of these purchases when the time comes.  In addition to adding in some money regularly, I might challenge myself to reduce my regular spending a bit more here and there to fill it up even faster – every book or other want that I don’t buy directly contributes to future energy-saving and sustainable living purchases.

To that end, I’ve only just considered putting a picture of a farm in my wallet as a reminder that every time I open it – which is usually to spend money, naturally, since that’s where the money and the credit cards are kept – that there are bigger goals that I want to meet down the road.   There’s even a nice little slot that would do well for such a picture.  And so inspired, I think I’m going to go see about doing that now.


Written by Jenn

November 6, 2010 at 1:39 pm

3 Responses

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  1. Hi
    I haven’t read through all of your previous posts but this one caught my eye. I was reading the part about the composter and how you can’t have the one you want. Have you thought of using a bokashi bin that you can keep indoors? You may already have one but I thought this was a possible solution in case you didn’t

    Bruise Mouse

    November 9, 2010 at 6:45 am

    • Hrm…I don’t have one, and I’m unfamiliar with it, but I’ll have a look. I’ve been looking into worm composters for indoors, but I’ll definitely check this out – thanks for the suggestion!


      November 9, 2010 at 11:46 am

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