I’ve decided that I definitely need an automatic “next generation” mindset more than what I was raised with (everything disposable ’60s).
Many of my ideas about this are simply to buy less, use less, or store less. Buying concentrated consumables, shampoo concentrate rather than bottles of shampoo (I can’t do this anymore, alas, but you can!), Better Than Bullion rather than broth, etc.
But many of the items so affected are consumables. What about nonconsumables? Some of my ideas are to go back to older tech (wood stove, grabbing my broom before the vac, etc.).If we owned a place that would be passed along, I’d make it a family “rule” to make at least one improvement, each generation, that would be permanent or last longer than 20 years. Like? Like unpainted red brick exteriors — they need to be washed but never repainted. Good wrought iron fencing, slate roof (metal roofs are good, but not quite as good). Along that line, slate kitchen counters, brick (not tile) flooring, an Aga stove, etc. All are expensive, more expensive that the short-term fix: tile, asphalt roofing, painted exteriors, whatever. Also, trees, like fruit trees, or perennial flower and vegetable gardens fit as well.
My childhood home had a Mexican tile roof. It still has the same roof. As far as I know there was never a problem with the roof. Everywhere we’ve lived since, until here, had asphalt roofing, which needs to be replaced every 20 years or so. We moved a lot before we got here so we never had to replace a roof. I’m sure our home in the desert has needed its roof replaced by now, as well as the home we built in Florida. We passed along the problem: the first home it was passed along to us, and the second we passed it along. Again, it never occurred to me when we built the second house to have a different roof put on. We upgraded the appliances, all dead long since by now I’m sure, moved some features around in the house, replaced one vinyl floor with tile, but other than that, we had built a “disposable” house. The hearth should last: it was stone, but the rest of it was pretty at the time and probably looks like hell now, if the paint, carpet, walls, roof, water connection, windows, whatever — hasn’t had to be replaced long since.
Likewise, when we bought this place, it was the “prettiest” of the houses we could afford, had the least needing to be fixed right away, but the long-term things we were alerted to we didn’t change, mostly because we couldn’t: we moved in and 6 weeks later DH was laid off. Suddenly every dime we had was precious. The main fix we didn’t do later cost us a lot more to repair and replace the damage.
Things we need to do here to make it less “disposable” and likely to fail: replace the wall to wall carpet with decent flooring and area rugs. Insulate the attic to keep that heat suck away. Upgrade some of the systems, more of the windows. Finish the other insulation projects. I’d like to put in brick walkways, don’t know if that will happen, I’m pretty sure if it does, it won’t be soon. I have some concrete stepping stones now. They’ll last for a while yet.
My stuff is being culled, daily, by my asking myself, “Will I want this in 10 years?” and if the answer is no — it goes. But the repairs and upgrades to the house need to be made with the idea that they should last 30 years or more, when we can afford it. That mindset has changed a few decisions we made about painting the living room and likely will affect more.
I was telling someone about our coffee pot. We’d already done this shift for that. Got tired of electric pots breaking, breaking carafes, etc. So we got a French press, glass one. It broke. To heck with that! Our next pot was insulated and metal. Not this one, but you get the idea.
And, yes, re housewares, I’m not the only one who’s gotten here. If that describes you, you might be interested in this site. However, I need like nothing they sell, because either I’ve got equivalent (some of it was my Dad’s) or I’ve bought stuff used. Buying used is even better to my mind that buying new. . . of course, I could be (?) biased . . . as I sell used durable goods for $. ‘Ya think I might have an opinion? I’m not the only one. The last two things I sold at the booth are a cleaver and toast rack. (I didn’t get either of them new.)