Well...the year is over. We spent New Years Eve together as a family. The way I wanted to end 2011. My family makes me happier than anything else in this world. We went to a Pantomime with my extended family members. Great seats too...3rd row centre! The kids just loved it! At a Panto it is audience participation. You Boo the bad guys, Cheer the good guys, yell "Look behind you!" when the bad guy is sneaking up on the good guy. The lead female character is played by a man and vica versa. I had no voice left...lol...Even the teens got into it. Then we all went out for dinner and then home. My brother popped by, my Dad (it was his 71st birthday) and our dear friend Greg. The kids stayed up and we hugged in the new year. Ty asked if this meant he was going into grade 2 now...LOL! Had to explain he will be but in September. Very low key...just talking with a roaring fire and some countdown shows on. Received many texts after midnight by my dear friends wishing me a Happy New Year...(some that made sense..lol..) Nice to wake up feeling rested for 2012...lol...
What have I learned this past year? Where do I start? Collaborative Consumption is on the rise! I belong to many swap/trade groups on Facebook. I found these better than the yahoo groups etc as there are more people and therefore more types of things to buy/trade/swap. When posting what you have they do want a pic of it so be prepared for that. They have strict rules about payment. If you are a no show 3 times you are out! Great stuff though.
Thrift stores are wonderful as well. Mind you I had to go to two other communities as mine is quite small and I found it hard to find the sizes I was looking for. Value Village is pricier than most but the one in Maple Ridge has the sizes I need for my two hefty boys. Got tables from MCC and plan on getting a "new" couch from there. A sofa cover is great for covering those flower prints..lol...and there were some 1970's inspired prints that made my eyes water! LOL!
I have developed a large network of hand me downs from other Moms. We swap bags and add to them and pass them along. This has been my best source for clothes, jackets, winter boots, skates etc. Even stuff for me! LOL! One Mom was giving away a king sized bed and another Mom I knew was grateful to have it. Another Mom needed "work" clothes and I gave her some of my Mom's stuff. A lady at school needed girl clothes and sourced out some for her just in time for Xmas. It's all about networking and connecting. Some in my network are beyond generous....give away some very nice stuff. Grateful for their generosity and kindness. They have helped so many people they have never met. I wish I could send them all on a tropical vacation to thank them..lol...
Craigslist, Kijiji, The Buy and Sell, Ebay, Amazon etc have been excellent too. Many gently used items. Never made it to Toy Traders but hear it is excellent and will check it out the next Bday.
The stuff you have that is kind of stained/torn etc can go to any thrift store marked rags. Old towels, blankets, sheets can go to any animal rescue place. Old boots make great flower planters. Paper plates can be composted. Holiday wrap is recyclable now too. They can process the dye and coating with the new process plants (depending on where you are of course). Tin foil, batteries paint, light bulbs, computers, appliances etc can all go to the recycling depot.
Fair trade items (see prior post) are beautifully made and one of a kind. Be careful of shipping costs and of sizing. Local artisan items are great too. Still have those soaps I got in Galiano. Love them!
My entire thought process has changed this year. I think twice before buying anything...even if it is second hand. Do I need it? Do I want it? If I bring it in the house am I getting rid of something else to make room? How much stuff does a person need? Decided to sell my punch bowl, some serving dishes etc. Downsizing! I'm digging the minimalist look..lol..except for my Xmas tree..lol...which is so busy...full of every Mothers day present etc from the past 13 years. Every "ornament" has a story.
I know the pic is dark..taken from my phone. But you get the idea about my tree.
I've learned that grief becomes a part of you. It changes how you view the world and the people in it. Good and bad. It hits you when you least expect it AND makes you stronger. I am far more concerned about the welfare of others than ever before. My Grandma always said to do something for others to overcome the sadness in life and I sure get it now. I joined a group that collects and distributes clothes, diapers, food etc for low income families. The founder posts what is needed and the members source out what they can. Preparing a food hamper tonight to deliver tomorrow. That is better than wallowing in the grief. It gives it a direction and hence lets it GO! Found something that helps others while helping me at the same time. Funny how it works that way.
"In helping others, we shall help ourselves, for whatever good we give out completes the circle and comes back to us.”
I'm going to continue on with the no retail as much as I can. I have saved so much money, met so many caring, thoughtful people, learned so much, travelled more and enjoyed every minute of it (well for the most part..lol) Will build my network as much as I can and pass along as much as I can. "Many small people, in many small places, do many small things, that can alter the face of the world."
Can't believe this is my last post! Thank you all for you support, encouragement, feedback and kind words. It's been wonderful to connect with so many people and share ideas. I wish everyone LOVE and JOY in 2012 and beyond.
Big Momma Collaborative Consumer LOVE to ALL! XXOO