How Wasteful the Older Generation Was

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It seems like the “in” thing today is to talk about being “green” and how we’ve damaged our environment. Did generations past know something we didn’t know?

How Wasteful the Older Generation Was

One of the big pet peeves for mom and I is the big “Green” movement. Frankly, we think it’s a bunch a bologna! I received this email from a reader and just loved it!! Mom has been saying this for years!!!



In the line at the store, the cashier told the older woman that she should bring her own grocery bag, because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment. The woman apologized to him and explained, “We didn’t have the green thing back in my day.”

The clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. The former generation did not care enough to save our environment.”

He was right. That generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.

Back then, they returned their milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled so the company could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.

But they didn’t have the green thing back in that customer’s day.

In her day they walked up stairs, because they didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. They walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time they had to go two blocks.

But she was right. They didn’t have the green thing in her day.

Back then, they washed the baby’s diaper, because they didn’t have the throw-away kind. They dried clothes on a clothesline, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts – wind and solar power really did dry the clothes. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But that old lady is right, they didn’t have the green thing back in her day.

Back then they had the one TV, or radio, in the house – not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief, not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen they blended and stirred by hand, because they didn’t have electric machines to do everything for them.

When they packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, they used a wadded up old newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.

Back then, they didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. They used a push mower that ran on human power. They exercised by working so they didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she’s right, they didn’t have the green thing back then.

They drank from a fountain when they were thirsty instead of using a throw away cup or a plastic bottle every time they had a drink of water. They refilled their writing pens with ink instead of buying new pens, and they replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But they didn’t have the green thing back then.

Back then people took the streetcar or a bus, and kids rode their bikes to school or rode the school bus instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. They had the one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And they didn’t need a
computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

Isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful the old folks were just because they didn’t have the green thing back then?


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  1. Anne says

    Wow! How true is that??? Also, they canned home grown vegetables in reusable glass jars instead of a metal can that ends up in the landfill. For entertainment, we sat out on the screened in porch and talked to each other instead of sitting in the air conditioned (we didn’t have it anyway) house listening to people talk at us on tv! What a great life we had! It might not have been “green” but it was good!!

  2. di says

    and here I was t;hinnking I wasn’t green, I was green before it was deemed ‘green’ I cannot tell you how much candy I got from redeeming soda bottles!

  3. Diana Metz says

    Couldn’t agree more!! You hit it just right with your comments on ‘the Green Thing’….I enjoy your website!!

  4. karla says

    I love this! I grew up before the green thing also & am amazed at how much waste this generation has. Even there green cause doesn’t help them see that what our generation had was so much better for the environment. Unfortunately it will probably be the demise of this world & we will end up back there anyway!
    When there is no gas-they will walk or ride bikes.
    When there is no electricity-they will go without there precious computers & gadgets.
    When all this is gone we will have to resort to old methods. At least those of us who grew up with them won’t feel so much like fish out of water-we will know how to survive!

    Keep up the great job!! Thanks.

  5. Leanne says

    This is a wonderful article and I agree completely. My kids think my husband and I are crazy because we hang our laundry out, don’t have 3 or four TV’s and the latest gadgets, we walk on the road instead of in the gym, save up to buy an item, and other things that seem so old-fashioned. However, they sure do like the benefits because of our decisions.

  6. Leanne says

    Amen to this! I remember how my grandparents and parents lived ~ they didn’t need ‘the green thing’.

  7. Maribel says

    Priceless article. This hit the nail right on the head. Impressing. Keep up the great job. I so truly enjoy your emails and e-books. GBU.

  8. Grizzly Bear Mom says

    Growing up with little money on the farm I rember Mom warning us that the well would go dry. Today I still save the dishpan water to flush the toilet! My meterologist friend at the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration in bot the Bush and Obama administration say we can anticipate hot summers like we had this year. I am as green as I know how to to be.

  9. says

    What a great article. When I was a teen, I use to think my Mom was old fashioned when she washed and reused aluminum foil or plastic bags (when they came along). She came from a generation that learned to do without or to reuse, rethink, recycle everything because of the depression. Today’s generation must have the newest and greatest of everything that comes on the market. Just where do they think those batteries and plastic components go when they no longer want them? Hooray for the older generation who really did know what being green was all about.

  10. Jenny Joy says

    I agree with this to some degree. However, do you think this older woman still recycles her glass and plastic bottles like she did back in the day? Or takes the stairs instead of the elevator? Or continues to hang her clothes outside to dry? It’s possible, but it’s not likely. Once a lot of energy/resource wasting conveniences became available, the previous generation embraced them. A LOT. So who is to blame? It hardly matters at this point. Now, we just have to focus on fixing it instead of claiming that our ways are just fine the way that they are, burying our heads in the sand.

    • says

      Jenny, I definitely see your point and I’m sure not everyone is just like me; however, I am 60 and I recently returned to college where I had to write a paper about how green I am (or am not). And I realized that I still do many things that conserve the resources, simply because they are more frugal and because I was taught “stewardship”, as they called it when I was a child. Okay, the car is the exception, as I do drive everywhere I go; however, I usually have a car that uses the least gasoline for my current needs (or causes the least footprint, as they say today). But no, I agree with you that blaming doesn’t help, regardless of whom we are blaming…which I think was kind of the point of the article, that the younger generation shouldn’t really blame the older generation. We all just need to do whatever we can.

  11. donna b says

    super, super article!But luckily, I believe, many of us are going back to some of these habits! My daughter is learning to can food (with yard sale jars for $2/case!) We line dry everything possible, really, super thoughts!

  12. Mary says

    I have to admit when I saw the title of today’s newsletter, I thought you were crazy! Then, I read the article and calmed down. I have worked with many elderly people who are in their 80’s and 90’s. Listening to them, life seemed much less complicated back then. I think as we have become more “progressive” we have lost all sense of what really works. It’s not the MORE…’s the LESS! You got out exactly what I was thinking. To this day, I still have to tell a few of them not to eat moldy food just because you don’t want to waste it! They think it’s ok. They use everything to its fullest!

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

  13. Pat says

    Amen! I grew up in the 40’s/50’s and we had a lot more fun and spent more time with family and friends then. All these time saving gadgets have eaten up our free time.

  14. Sherry says

    Love this and will be sharing it – I’m the age group of the “green” generation but I grew up in the country just like that. I have a garden and I know how to can. I have a sewing machine and I know how to fix clothes instead of just buying new ones. We fix most things – but it is getting harder to find repair shops for shoes and vacuums. Plus I live in the city now and our HOA doesn’t allow clothes lines – don’t want to mess up the pristine neighborhood with clean sheets and towels I guess – LOL.
    Makes me think of the “I miss Mayberry” song. I really do.

  15. says

    Grew up in the “40’s, during WW2 and family had to be very frugal. You ate what was put in front of you, etc. Enjoyed the article very much, and so true of us ole folks. If you took a peek at our high school year books, you’d notice not one heavy person in pictures. I, myself, walked 3/4 of a mile to school in all kinds of weather.Keep up the good work.

  16. annemarie says

    Love It!!! There is much true wisdom that has been forgotton because modern technology didnt come up with it!

  17. Jennifer says

    excellent, articulate post! I remember Mama using a wringer washer, then hanging all our clothes out to dry and running between the sheets on the line. I remember the Milk Man delivering fresh bottles each week and always returning our bottles.
    guess we were green before green was cool; it was a way of life.

  18. Serena says

    When I was little (60s/70s), all of us kids played in the yard. We had a few games for winter but the majority of our time was spent outside. Mom would have to call us inside at bedtime. I live in one of those neighborhoods where you know the kids used to own the streets to play but now I only see kids when they are walking home from school. No one feels safe enough to allow their kids to just play outside with the neighbor kids.

    I still use a clothesline, cook from scratch, have a garden, sew to repair “yard sale” clothing, but I must admit that I’m addicted to air conditioning! However, this summer we’ve spent a lot of time playing in the basement to stay cool.

    I think the reason the older generation embraced all the labor saving devices is just that: life without them was hard work. Now we load the clothes washer, pour in the soap, and turn it on. My grandma used to heat water in a big pot over an open flame and my dad carried up the water in buckets from the creek. She’d cut slices of soap from bars she’d made from lard and boil the clothes. A manual wring is a lot harder than the spin cycle on today’s washing machines. My grandma was always thin but she lived a very hard life before automation.

    • Mary says

      When I bought new appliances awhile back, the salesman told me the “average shelf life” so to speak is only about 8 years now. My first Kenmore washer and dryer lasted for 25 years before they cost more to fix than replace.

    • getforfree says

      I have a really old washer that might be older than me. We got it for free from friends who bought it at the garage sale, used it for a few years, then they wanted to throw it out when they bought a new one. At that time we just bought our first home and really needed it. Our drier is used too, but a lot newer. I barely use it, so it might last forever.

      When our fridge broke down, the repairmen told us that that’s how they make new fridges these days. Our fridge had the same part broken as most of the other fridges of this brand that they fix. They said this part (the little computer that measures and controls temperature) usually lasts about 3 years. We were just lucky it lasted us almost 5. It’s like they make it this way on purpose, so people would buy the new items or the parts that those same manufacturers make. That’s how they make their money. They wouldn’t make much if each fridge would work for 20-25 years without needing any repairs. I hope it’s not the same thing with the cars. The inside parts are just too expensive. The car will still run no matter how many scratches and dents you get on it, or if the paint will peal, but the engine has to work good, there is no other way to make it run, and they know it.

      • says

        Yes we found out the same thing to be true with Tawra’s new fridge. The ironic thing is they advertise that the new energy efficent fridges will save you so much money but what they fail to mention is they only last a few years and if they break down the part alone not including having to pay the repairman would be $500. Considering you save about $12 a year by the time you pay for a huge repair bill or have to buy a new one with in a few years you are not only not saving money but you are almost losing money.
        Compare that with my cheap one. The cheapest one I could find. I paid $400 for it 10 years ago and is still running great with no problems at all. I looked not to long ago and the same fridge is still selling for about that price. Be careful buy things which are energy efficient and has all the bells and whistles on it. They usually aren’t the bargain they make them out to be.

  19. Carol T says

    I have so many wonderful memories of growing up in the Midwest during the 50’s. Kids played outside in the evening (anyone else remember catching fireflies or Red Rover?)
    Jump rope, hopscotch and all those active games were the best and my siblings and I never felt deprived without all the gadgets and cellphones that young people “need” these days.
    But the best memory of all is helping my Mom hang up the clothes on the lines strung across the backyard. The fresh smell of sheets going to bed in the evening was heavenly!
    My Mom is now 87 years young and still hangs up her clothes to dry — I have learned so much from her over the years and try and emulate her in every way I can.
    Thanks for the walk down Memory Lane!

  20. Sherri Edman says

    I take the point of the piece, but in all fairness to “the current generation,” I’ve never heard any of them lament “the older generation” not caring about the earth.

  21. Jessica says

    Amen!!! With all the green movement, how much have they really accomplished? I realize everything is coded for recycling. But when you are putting up that nickel deposit for each bottle that you take home, you REALLY do recycle it by bringing it back. I notice of lot comments saying they grew up in the 40s and 50s. I grew up in the 60 and 70s and we would scour the roadsides for pop bottles to “recycle”. That paid for our coke, ice cream sandwich or candy for Saturday afternoons. Never went anywhere without some kind of sack or basket on our bikes for those bottles. We always had a huge stash of mason jars. You shopped in the cellar and the freezer. I always hated eating out, because the vegatables and fruit tasted so bad. Nothing like what we canned out of the garden. We also had a rag basket, that was used for band aids, slings, and polishing rags. Better hush up, this is kind of a pet peeve of mine. But so GLAD someone else sees the hypocrisy of this generation acting like the older generations were soooo wasteful.

  22. mary says

    Twenty years ago my daughter was talking to someone who thought that she knew every money saving and conservation idea there was. My daughter said “Do you wash out bread sacks to store your (home-grown) vegetables in?” Her friend didn’t know that ANYONE would do something like that. My daughter had seen me wash them along with the other dishes, rinse them in the rinse pan, and hang them on a line over the sink to drip. She thought that was “just what you do”. We also wash and reuse aluminum foil and the take-out containers from restaurants (when we go out to eat which isn’t often). Some of her friends are too “proud” to ask for take-out when there is too much food on their order for them to eat at one sitting.

    • says

      We used the bread sacks all the time too. We even took our sandwiches and chips in them for lunch. My mom wouldn’t dream of tossing those or hamburger bun bags out. Even to this day I have people save the plastic bags the newspaper comes in for me because I cut them down and they are the perfect size trash bag for my trash bucket in the car.

    • Tris says

      I know it isn’t exactly green but I use any bag that food comes in for scooping the litter box. We are required to put the pet waste in a sealed bag before we dispose of it where we live. As Jill mentioned, I also use the bags from newspapers for this. My neighbor still gets the daily paper and is happy to give it and the bag to me everyday when she is done with it. Why would I purchase the “specially scented” rolls of plastic bags designed for scooping the cat litter when we have a newspaper, sugar, bread, or frozen veggie bag every day? I’ve even used those cheapie cardboard cans they put coffee in for this purpose, along with other minor household trash.

  23. Patricia says

    There have been wasteful people in every generation since the beginning of time. No single generation has the market on “green” “frugal” or any other description of common sense. While the older lady’s generation didn’t call it “the green thing”, environmental responsibility has been around in one form or another for a very long time. And while I find this story entertaining I’ve read it on so many sites lately that I have to wonder why so many people seem to find the need to defend themselves when it comes to doing what’s right and sensible.

  24. Darlene says

    I was born in the early 50’s. Milk was delivered to the back door and Mom made us rinse the bottles out to give them back. Gardens and canning were normal for every family in my neighborhood. Clothes hung out on the line daily. Singing around the old piano was entertainment especially on holidays. Makes me crave the good old days…

  25. Wendy says

    Woo Hoo!! *claps enthusiastically*

    I am in my mid 40’s and we did not have the plastic bags when we went to the store. We often grabbed enmpty boxes off the shelves or the store provided brown paper bags.

    Those paper bags were reused to gather newspapers to put out for trash (we didn’t have recycling then), got hand decorated for gift wrapping paper, lined the dining room table on baking day, covered with wax paper for cooling cookies on. They were also turned into textbook covers for school textbooks, you then added your own decorations/graffiti. They were also used for numerous crafts, both as a liner to do it on or as part of the project itself.

    We didn’t have that “green” thing either.

    Today, I work everyday for a scrap recycling business, and I do what I can at home.

  26. Kathy says

    Oh Tawra, what a true article!!! How I long for those days… really. I love your wit along with a “little” much needed sarcasim to get the point across because it’s SO TRUE! Speaking of the plastic bags…have you noticed they’ve gotten THINNER so you have to use TWO of them? How is that helping the environment? Our older generation used to also can their vegetables from their garden, sing with musical instruments as a family instead of watching the junk on tv…and on and on it goes. It seems with all of the gadgets this generation is inward focused and techy focused to were a vocal conversation will soon be a thing of the past between cell phone texting and internet. It’s sad…. I hope they come to realize this and put the personalization back in civilization! Amen sister? You are a blessing… Thanks. In Christ, Kathy

    • getforfree says

      I noticed some of the bags got thinner and I use 2 bags for my kitchen trash, still use 1 on all other trashcans in the house.
      I also noticed that I have to either double-bag some items of just put fewer items in a bag, or it wont make it to the house without damaging the bag and making it unusable for the trashcans. So, by making thinner bags they don’t save any money because people end up taking more bags to pack their groceries in.

      • says

        I’m wondering if part of that is the “green” thinking to make plastic from material that is suppose to disintegrate easier but what has happened is the plastic isn’t as strong so you have to use more. As they often do they jumped in and started doing something without really thinking it through and have ended up making it worse. Kind of like they did Christmas trees years ago. They said if we didn’t stop buying Christmas trees we would deplete the forests (why they didn’t realize most Christmas trees were grown on farms for Christmas I don’t know) so everyone jumped on the bandwagon and bought artificial ones. Now they are trying to get everyone to buy real again because the artificial ones are filling up the landfills. Go figure.That is why it is so hard for me to take them seriously. Sorry if I offended anyone but that is the truth.

        • getforfree says

          It’s cheaper to buy the plastic tree once every 10-20 years than a real one every year. I have a plastic one, and unless I personally grow them (FREE), I won’t spend money on them.

  27. nancy says

    Many people feel virtuous because they recycle, their plastic water bottles, and cans. They feel virtuous because they can afford an electric car. Where do they think electricity comes from? What did people do before plastic bottles became the new norm?
    Many people are going back to hanging laundry outside, canning food in glass, reusable jars, only using air conditioning when the house becomes unbearably hot. If you get up really early, and open doors and windows you can cool your house off, and if you close blinds, curtains, etc.after cooling, you can keep your house pretty comfortable.
    Using cloth diapers, and non-disposable products will save an enormous amount of trash in land fills. I don’t know any moms who use cloth diapers, even if they are low income.
    There are many ways to conserve, and sometimes those who are most vocal, are doing much less than they could do.

    • getforfree says

      It’s all mater of saving money, not saving the environment. I leave my windows open all night and close it when the temperature reaches 74 degrees outside, usually around 9:30 or so. In California, it’s cool during the night usually, unless we get a bad heat wave, and really hot during the day. Usually my ac runs from noon to 6 pm. Then I turn it off, and if the outside temperature drops to 77 degree, I open the windows for the whole night again.

      If I know that nobody will be home in the afternoon until the evening time, I don’t turn the ac on at all. On Wednesdays, I take my kids for their art lessons right after school and we don’t come back till 7 or 8 pm , because after their art lessons, I stop in a few grocery stores on my way back to get all the deals. I usually take some snack and drinks with us to avoid buying ready to eat food outside. Even snacks like cookies or string cheese in a grocery store cost more than homemade chicken nuggets, sandwiches or cheese slices.

      As for using cloth diapers, I used some for my youngest child. It’s ok to use, when you are at home, but very inconvenient when you are on the go. They have to be changed way more often than the disposable kind. And instead of 5-6 disposable for a 1-yr old child a day, you would need around 15 of the cloth kind. And for overnight, disposable is only way to go, unless you want to wake up 2 times every night for changing. First, you have to make or buy them, then you have to run a load of laundry every day just because of them. If you use a dryer to dry them, it will cost you the same as using the disposable kind, so you would have to hang dry them, which would not always be possible because of the weather. So, if you have to use a dryer for it, it doesn’t save you anything. Especially for those who live in the apartments, and have to use coin laundry machines it will actually cost more to wash them than buying the disposable kind, not to mention that you have to leave the house to go to the Laundromat. When I used the cloth diapers, I would hand-wash them right away and hang them to dry outside or inside. I did save a few pennies, but it was very hard-earned pennies.

  28. EstherT says

    the commentary about the ‘green thing’ is correct and all these young people who think they have the answer would be better off taking a good look at the way things were before they decide that their ‘green’ shopping bags that are made from petroleum instead of used blue jeans and are not washable and don’t hold up to heavy use are the way to go! Selling jeans with wear holes already in them, cars with so many gadgets it takes more power to than a vintage car with a larger engine, light bulbs that cost way more and don’t last like they say they will and you have to travel to dispose of them. the green movement needs to collide with the common sense movement.

    • getforfree says

      Those green shopping bags fall apart much faster than any clothes. Even if you get them free with all kinds of promotion, washing them costs money. And they get dirty very fast if you use them for all your groceries. Some grocery stores give you 5 cents discount for every bag you bring in and reuse. I used to do it sometimes when I had enough of grocery bags at home anyways. The thing is that I only had 6 of those bags. I would go into the store and buy about 15 items, take it to the car, unload, and go again with the bags to finish my shopping. The bags would get dirty after about 5 trips like that. So 60 cents saving per trip times 5 is 3 dollars. It’s good enough to justify washing them. But they fall apart after about 5 washes, and you would have to fix them (time and using thread) which is not so money-saving anymore.

  29. Mary says

    This is sooooo right. I can remember putting pants stretchers in my dad’s work pants before hanging them on the clothesline. That made ironing them so much easier as you already had a nice crisp crease. We ironed almost every thing. My mom had a dryer but used it for towels and such after they had been put outside and partially dried to fluff them.
    Milk bottles weren’t in much use by the time I was around but pop bottles were returned regularly. Newspapers were kept in bundles for the semiannual newspaper drive by the area Boy Scouts and placed outside near the curb on the day of their pick up.
    Brown paper bags were the norm at grocery stores but they seldom got thrown away. We used them to wrap things for storage, packing when mailing items to far off relatives, crafts and we made patterns from them for our clothes.
    I learned to sew on my mother’s sewing machine early and made most of my own skirts and pants.
    Blouses were a bit tedious for me so I bought most of them. I can remember making lots of hankerchief tops for summer though from large bandanas. Also for a while we made triangle shaped headscarves to coordinate with our clothes and thought we were really stylish.
    I am 60 years old now and wish my daughter and granddaughters knew more of these thigs. None of them wanted to learn to sew although they are great cooks and enjoy cooking from scratch. They are all learning to reuse and recycle whenever possible. My daughter remembers many, many pairs of jeans where I added trims at the bottom of the pant legs to lengthen them then put a small amount on the back pockets or cut out a portion and appliqued it to a pocket to make them coordinate better.
    I worry sometimes about the younger generations as they do not know how to reuse things. They have never taken the buttons off a torn and faded shirt to use on another, turned old t shirts into rags for cleaning, taken jeans and reused the denim for bags or patches, made curtains from sheets or turned large sheets into baby crib sheets when they began to wear out. Quilts are just a pretty addition to their homes not something useful made from old clothes or left over fabrics. Home canned vegetables and homemade jams and jellies are too much work – not the result of hours of gardening and working together in the kitchen with family members to be enjoyed on cold winter days.
    Everything is disposable, convenience foods, or electronic gizmos that use far more electricity to do the job than necessary. I mean, really, an electronic potato peeler?
    Since we have moved into our tiny travel trailer I use far fewer electronic devices and enjoy it more. Yes, we still have a tv but not cable (only when it is free at a campground), a cell phone is now a necessity to keep in touch with family members and the computer has become nearly as necessary as our son is in the Philippines and emails are much less expensive than long distance calls, plus since so many neighbors are now afraid to talk to you online friends take their place. When did we become so afraid to meet and chat with our neighbors? Sad, truly sad.

    Okay, enough from me. I am sure you have read enough of these comments to get the idea that we are definitely behind you all the way. The ‘green thing’ isn’t new it just has a new name and is way behind the times.

    • getforfree says

      Canning only saves you money if you grow veggies yourself. If you would buy the fresh fruits of vegetables and then can them, it would be more expensive then buying canned vegetables from a store or fresh vegetables in the winter. I try not to do any hard work if it doesn’t save me money. I would rather watch the deals and use coupons to save money. I freeze my fruits and vegetables from my garden (grapes, peppers, tomatoes). It doesn’t cost as much as canning.

  30. Tammy says

    Enjoyed starting my morning with a smile with the way things used to be. The green generation is missing out!

  31. Kimberly Johnson says

    There is so much that we could learn from the “older generation” if we would just slow down and pay attention. We live in a day of hurry up and convenience (fast everything!) Too many moms miss out on the fun of cooking a meal with their children or yard saling for bargains. Interestingly enough someone and I were talking just this week about how nice it would be to have your milk delivered in the glass bottles to your doorstep once again.

    Sadly, we take too much for granted.

  32. Indignant says

    Us old folks were doing taking care of the earth and recycling long before it was fashionable or necessary.We were taught stewardship of what we had and stewardship of the environment in which we lived. My grandfather taught us children that value. The reason why we recycled every-
    thing was because we did not have the resources to spend, spend and comsumerism was a dirty thought and to be avoided.We bought ONLY what we needed at the best possible price. WE used it up or we wore it out and when it was worn out, we found another use for it.
    To say that our generation is responsible for the destruction of the environment is grossly unfair. All generations are responsible for the environment, not our generation and I resent our generation being singled out like this! That cashier needs to keep their mouth shut until they have done their homework.

  33. Fran Kriz says

    Great article! We oldtimers had parents that were very frugal. We wasted nothing. I grew up poor and you know what? I was blessed. Now I appreciate the things I have. We always recycle as much as we can and we are very careful not hurt the earth.

  34. Jeanette Romine says

    I love this article- It IS just common sense! I love to learn from the older generation.They kept it simple, and used their resources. I hate to see people complain they have to go to the store and buy this or that and haven’t even looked to see whats in their cupboard or tried to think of an alternative. My motto is also Use it up and wear it out. Thanks for sharing this article!

  35. aimee says

    Unbelievable! It bothers me so much that people my age have so little respect and borderline contempt for the older generations!! The superiority that oozes makes me gag! Thank you for your article – it’s SO awesome!

  36. Candace says

    I agree with this e-mail. I don’t think the green movement is really about saving the earth, its really about capitalizing on people’s fear and trying to create a carbon market that people will end up having to fork over money for, even though so far the science behind it is faulty at best.

    I think our grandparents had it right. It should be about quality over quantity. Instead of disposable items that fill up landfills or cheap plastic jugs that have to be tossed out instead of sent back and reused, we could focus on quality, a nice quality pen that you refill the ink in instead of throwing it out, quality razors where you only want to get rid of the dull razor etc.

  37. says

    The only problem here: You’re describing the great-grandparents’ generation and earlier. Much of the “progress” of the last 50 years has caused the need to “go green”.

    One question: Can other people taste the nasty aftertaste plastic bottles gives water?

    • says

      Actually Kay my great grandparents didn’t do all these things I did most of them when I was young and we were an average family. The great grandparents had another whole set of things to deal with.

      Yes things do taste different when put in plastic that is why I always drink tap water that has sat in the fridge for awhile. I can’t stand bottled water. I just recently found the greatest buy at our Dillions store (for those of you who live in Wichita) and that is milk sold in the glass bottles. The thing is I return the bottle and the deposit is the same amount as what the milk cost so I am basically getting the milk free. How they do it I don’t know but I have been getting it for about a month now. Free milk.

  38. Sherry says

    Yes! Kay I hate the way drinks taste out of a plastic bottle. Water, tea, soda whatever I think it all tastes funny. Now there is the big deal with BPA and getting BPA free plastic. I prefer glass jars for everything and it makes me sad when companies switch to plastic. I was very sad when kraft mayo went to plastic jars. Those glass mayo jars were so useful!

    • says

      Sherry I miss them too. I needed a glass jar for some project the other day and even though I save every jar I get my supply is getting so low because nothing comes in glass any more. I don’t know what I am going to do.

      • Penny S says

        I prefer cane sugar too. We drink a lot of sweet tea at our house and I always purchase cane sugar because it seems to take less of it to sweeten a gallon of tea. If the bag doesn’t have pure cane sugar printed on it, then it is probably beet sugar.

  39. elizabeth says

    yep they were wasteful. NOT! i remember only one tv and one radio/stero system. we took piano lessons and rode our bikes everywhere. we played out side. i didn’t even have a computer till i was 17 (1981) we got jobs as teens and saved our money for the things our parents told us that we would have to buy. there was no money coming from our parents after we graduated school. they taught us how to make a plan and how to carry it out. that’s why most of us can think. we didn’t have a counseling session at school anytime a classmate died or there was a local disaster. we didn’t have amber alerts because the perverts actually went to jail and were not released. we could leave our doors and windows unlocked. we didn’t have an air conditioner. we had a public pool and a water hose and a fan to stay cool in the summer.

  40. Cindy Torres says

    And it’s precisely BECAUSE the older generation didn’t have computers/TV news blaring 24/7 that they didn’t know they were supposedly hurting the planet!!! Yes, now we can find out things a lot quicker, but I sure miss the days when the only time I could get a phone call was when I was actually near a phone at home!!!!!

  41. Jeanene says

    I remember when we used a “path” room instead of a bathroom that uses lots of water. And I remember taking a bucket out to the WINDMILL to bring water into the house. No we did not have the “green thing” back then.

  42. harriet says

    I want to object to both of these comments above:

    “we didn’t have a counseling session at school anytime a classmate died or there was a local disaster. we didn’t have amber alerts because the perverts actually went to jail and were not released.”

    Baloney. I was molested by a neighbor man. My parents went over to his house after I told them about it and I don’t know what happened after that, but the guy moved away in a hurry, probably to molest other little girls after that. My parents dealt with it the best they knew how, and they probably thought the police would do nothing, so I’m not faulting them, but the idea that no children were molested because they were all in jail…..wrong!

    Also, right, we didn’t get counseling when a classmate died. Judging from the people crying at my little brother’s funeral, maybe we could have used it, you know?

    The good old days were not always better.

  43. amy says

    Love this my G-ma was post depression and shared a lot of tips with me.I love the wisdom and common sense of the time.

  44. Heather Cook says

    I find it funny how things go in a circle. We make all this stuff that is supposed to be so time saving and wonderful only to find out in a few years that its bad for the environment and then everybody is trying to go back to the “way it used to be”. The Bible says God made us and he will provide for us. He provides the sun to dry our clothes,the food for us to preserve,wood to build and burn and many many other things. I do enjoy some of the modern things like a car,washing machine,dishwasher but could live without them just fine if need be. Nothing better than homegrown and homemade……and as for the milk. I used to get it in gallon glass jars from a friend until the government made it illegal to sell raw milk. Now its only nasty store bought we can get…thank you government….NOT!!

  45. Esther says

    I do not agree that everything back then was better. I am glad there are medical breakthroughs that make sick people better. I am glad I do not wash dishes by hand or do the laundry by hand. I am glad I have a vacuum cleaner and all the gadgets for assisting in cleaning my house, helping with cooking and sending my kid out with a cell phone knowing she will always have help ASAP. Granted life in the 21st century is hectic because the cost of everything has risen. Still comparably to the 1950’s you lived with what you earned and those with better jobs lived much better. Not much has changed there either.

    • says

      It’s funny you should mention this Esther. I was busy typing a post to post in a couple of weeks and it was on this very subject. I took a minute to pop over here real quick and here was you post on the same thing. I thought I needed to write something to help counter balance this today’s post.

  46. Deb says

    And those clothes we hung on the line were ironed using a spray bottle of water so they looked first-rate without any starch and not a stitch of polyester or any other fake fabric in them! We used glass containers in the fridge to store food, not plastic – which we’d hardly heard of before “The Graduate.” My grandfather and father had an organic garden they started during the depression and continued into the sixties. Advertisements were about the benefits of a product, not elaborate stories which have nothing to do with them. We went to the library to get our books (except on my birthday, when my Grandma sent me a whole $5 to buy books, which I bought used so I could get a lot!) We walked to the movies on a Saturday afternoon so we could see cartoons and a feature – it was too expensive at night, but for 40 cents we could do all that and have a small soda and some popcorn in a little bag, not a humongous vat.
    About the only place our mothers did drive us was to the schoolyard to skate, because we didn’t have sidewalks or any other safe place. But we were lucky – we had woods to play in and creeks to wade in. Of course, my mother thought she had been luckier because she grew up in the city and had sidewalks to play on!
    When my own daughter was little, I cooked our meals from scratch, hauled bottles, cans and newspapers to the recycling center every week, and got most of her toys and clothes at yard sales, then handed them on to other families. Out on her own now, she cooks from scratch and buys her clothes at thrift stores, and I’m very proud of her. Just as proud as I am of the green heritage I was given by my family.

    • says

      I had to laugh when you mentioned using a spray bottle for ironing your clothes. My grandson was here this week looking in my junk drawer and pulled a metal thing with a bunch of holes on it and a cork on the bottom. He said what is this. We didn’t have spray bottles (the plastic kind we have now) for every day use so what we used was this metal cap thing we would put on the end of a glass pop bottle filled with water and you would sprinkle it on your clothes to dampen them before you ironed them.

      Usually they were stiff as a board because you didn’t have spray (no spray bottles remember) so you would dip them in liquid starch, dry then dampen them and iron them. We didn’t have steam irons so you had to dampen them.

      Some who didn’t have a pop bottle and the metal top would just have to sprinkle their clothes by shaking water on them with their hand.

      It is amazing how something as seemingly unimportant as a spray bottle can make such a difference in so many things in our lives and make them easier. I even remember when the first spray deodorant came out. It was so cool because I could then borrow my girlfriends and use it if I needed to.

      • Rita Jo says

        I also remember if women ran out of time while ironing (this happened when a meal was prepared from scratch and was due on the table at a certain time!) and had already “sprinkled” a piece of clothing, they would put it in the fridge (but they still called it an icebox) so it wouldn’t mildew until the next day when they could finish ironing.

        I remember ironing Daddy’s heavy denim overalls and how hot it would get in the summer. The irons were heavy then, too. Not like now when you have to really press hard. We had a fan, though! πŸ˜€

        • says

          I’m afraid I remember those days too Rita Jo. No a/c just fans and we still had to do the ironing, have the stove on to cook (no crock pots or microwaves). I still to this day love having a fan going all the time during the summer especially to sleep with.

      • getforfree says

        I hate ironing. Before I buy a piece of clothing, I would check if it wrinkles easily. I would twist an end of it really hard and see if it would get back to normal when I stretch it after that. If it’s too wrinkly, I won’t buy it. I only iron some dress clothes for church. Sometimes.
        Sometimes a piece of clothing (my husbands shirts usually) will fall off a hanger and end up on the closet’s floor and get all wrinkled, not dirty. I would just toss it into the wash with other clothes. I usually dry my laundry outside. I would dry the rest of my load outside, and then I usually put it in the dryer to fluff it up. I would toss that wet shirt with it, and it will come out almost dry, I would just shake it really hard and hang it to dry inside on the hanger, and then transfer it into the closet. It’s way easier than ironing, and I probably save on electricity doing it that way, since it doesn’t cost me any extra to add one shirt to a load.

  47. Sharon says

    THANK YOU!!!I have been saying this for years!When my husbands mother passed away a couple of years ago,she had every stick of furniture she had when my husband was young,THAT’s GREEN. She washed out zip-lock bags,that’s green. The older generation wore-out and re-purposed,it was a way of life. May-be we should go back and not ahead.Years ago less was more. Now we just want,because we can have it,not because we need it. Go a week and buy only what you need and not what you want and see what you save.No coffee on the go,no impulse buying,just what you need.You will see a difference in your life. You enjoy the splurges more if you do them on special occasions and not everyday. Try this one,if you go out to eat,some get a salad and the other person a meal.My husband and I do this when we go out to eat. We are trying to cut back so we can lose weight.We always leave full,but not stuffed. Thank God for your blessings and think of ways to save time,money and use them to bless others.

  48. Maribeth says

    You are correct on all counts! Other things we had as kids (I was born in 1951) were: a garden every summer which we ate out of and Mama either canned or froze the abundance; we didn’t have “fast food” restaurants–any snacks were homemade; families ate meals around the table, cooked by moms, which is almost a dying tradition. We played outside instead of sitting in front of a TV screen with video games (we did have a black and white SMALL TV which we were only allowed to watch AFTER homework. One of the most notable differences between then and now, however, is that we would often not lock the doors at night, sometimes leave keys in the car, but we never had to worry about being robbed. (I grew up in a small farming community). Times have changed. . .maybe those who are so concerned about being “Green” should rethink their priorities!

  49. Roy Gibson says

    I agree 100 percent. I am 69 years old and never saw a TV until I was 14. I worked on weekends mowing yards and didn’t have anything but a hand operated non motorized mower.
    I shoveled gravel and shell during the summer and made $ 5.00 a day and thought I was rich.
    My grandfather plowed his fields with a mule and us kids came behind him with hoes to bust up the clods.
    But, we didn’t have the green thing either. I ferel left out and old fashioned but I know what work is and still like doing it. Roy

  50. Katie says

    @Heather Cook Wood to burn….Yes, but here in our area, burning wood is actually outlawed (supposedly because of smog issues). Yet there is a firewood place not far from where I live.

  51. Deb says

    Jill, that’s just the kind of spray bottle I meant! When I got married and moved to Maryland, I had a hard time finding one of those spray tops, so in the meantime I had to just use my hand. Some people used to sprinkle the clothes and then roll them up and put them in the icebox overnight. When you got ready to iron them they were nice and damp.
    Maribeth, we never locked the door, even when we went on a two-week vacation! We knew our neighbors were looking out for us.

    • says

      Yes Deb I was going to mention rolling them up and putting them in the fridge too but I was afraid I was getting to long winded which my kids accuse me of often. :) I still every once in awhile will dampen my clothes and roll them up and put them in the fridge just for fun. There is something about them sitting over night. The water spreads out over the whole garment perfectly and they iron up so nice. It is like you said we didn’t really need to use starch if we didn’t want to because the crisp up so nice this way.

  52. Lynette says

    Oh, this article on being green is so true-I’ve thought many times how the ‘green generation’ has no idea on how we used to recycle, reuse and return all the time!

  53. Tanya says

    I’m only 45 but I absolutely loooooooved that post Tawra. It was very “to the point” and so chock full of common sense that… Feel free not to post this if the next sentence, which I will try to word as carefully as possible bothers you in some way. I’m more concerned as to how we humans, through sex at any times and “my way” are killing off future generations. “That” concerns me tons tons tons more than the “green movement” believe me. I grew up without TV until my mother and stepfather decide to get one. Maybe my brother and I grumbled don’t remember. It had its’ good points but it sure took away from family interaction at lunchtime when we had it in the living room. With me being a quiet kid and adolescent that didn’t help much. Anyways, thanks and take care.

  54. Eva says

    I used to wonder this as a kid (never had the nerve to ask my Nana, because helping her with the laundry was a privilege which I was afraid to lose)…anyway: why did we hang the clothes outside to dry and then wet them all over again and put them in the fridge before ironing? Why not just go right from the washer to the ironing board (or the fridge)?

    The appliances in my Nana’s house were always a mystery to me. Her washer was electric, but only sort of – you still had to put the clothes through the wringer rolls manually. And her stove had this funny thing called the deep well cooker – the pot actually sunk down into the stove. Funny the things we remember…

    • says

      To true Eva we do remember strange things about our grandmas. :) Sometimes when we hung things out we would try to bring them in before the were totally dry and roll them up and put in the fridge. But it was tricky because moms were busy them like today and you had to check the clothes every little bit to see if they had dried to the right dampness. If you go busy or way laid they usually dried on you so it was just easier to dampen them then to keep running out and check on them.

  55. janita says

    This is all so true! but I wonder why the alarm at plastic grocery bags, when there are thousands more plastic diapers that are disposed of each day?

  56. Mary says

    My sister and I were talking the other nite about the deep well pot on the old stoves and the first refrigerators that had a freezer in them. Our folks replaced the old ice box in 1948 with an electric “Frigidare”. The freezer was big enough for a couple of metal ice trays with a lever to loosen the ice and a pound or two of hamburger!!

    My youngest was born in 1967. When she was about 13, she ‘had’ to have a pair of “Nike” tennis shoes. They cost $30 and she picked blueberries all season to earn the money for them. Funny thing, they didn’t last any longer than the K-Mart specials!!

    Ji8ll, I still have one of those metal things with the holes in it also!!

    • says

      So you know what I was talking about, Mary. They are a little hard to describe.I treasure mine like crazy cuz I don’t know if you can still get them or not.

  57. Benny Souza says

    I loved the article! Unfortunately, a couple of readers seem to have gone overboard about it. Harriet has a sad story to tell — if it has really happened, we won’t know. However, the point of the article is to show how we waste today in terms of energy consumption and pollution and, to that effect, it is perfect! I will take the liberty to share it with friends.

  58. Sue says

    I know how resourceful my grandparents and parents were. And I appreciate the many things they taught me and how I learned to us to the fullest and make do or do without, but I also see the downside in the fact that my husband and I have recently moved back to the family “homestead” to be with and care for my 83 yr old mother. This is the same place where she was raised, where my grandparents lived for 60 some years and where my parents moved everything of their long time marriage back to about 25 years ago. Hubby and I are sorting through 2 generations – a total of 120 years of “save this as we might be able to use it later.” I’m sure much of what we are finding could be useful if I only knew what it was to begin with. Grandpa was a carpenter and salvaged wood wherever he could and Dad continued that practice after moving here. But there was only so much space to store wood to keep it usable and much of the wood is deteriorated so bad we have had to trash it. However, to get some use out of it we have started a compost and burning area on vacant lots that need lots of additional soil and soil additives to make it better quality. By burning the deteriorating wood there we have quality ash we can till back into the ground to make for better planting and growing of gardens ans orchards. Other saved things of metal and copper and such are being recycled through the proper channels. But I am afraid there stil will be an awful lot of “stuff” that is just going to have to go to the landfill. We are saving things that are similiar to things we see on “Antique Roadshow” to show to our kids and grandkids and hopefully someday great-grandkids and relate the stories of what they were for and why we still have them to these children as well. But I hope not to leave such a legacy for them of my own things.

  59. Miriam says

    AMEN and again I say AMEN!! My father-in-law has always said that when they had a hog killing, they used everything on the hog except the squeal and if they could have caught that, they would have used it too!!!

  60. Judith says

    Harriet—Just to let you know you are NOT alone here—the poster who felt the need to doubt you deserves a sound shaking. I was abused by my step-father both physically and sexualy. And my mother AND the police chose not to believe this. And a cousin of my husbands was abused by a neighbor and the parents went to the cops and they got a restraining order but fat lot of good it does you when the neighbor can sit on his PORCH every day and watch you. So you–as a child—don’t dare go OFF the porch and live in fear that the guy will come back. And in “The Good Old Days” more often than NOT this was the way it went when a kid reported molestation. Look at all of the kids molested by priests! My husband is Catholic and I asked him if he thought his mother would have believed HIM if he came home and told her this. And he said NO.

    But this is not exactly the “topic” here! We lived right outside NYC and I still remember people with the old wringer washers–I was born in 1958. And milk trucks with the stand up drivers! How did they shift??? And they had windshield wipers that were operated by HAND!!!! Cakes that we were shooooed out of the house lest we made any noise and they fell! Hand made ravioli with those odd aluminum ice-cube tray thingies—never figured out how you did that.

    Flour sack clothing–I remember the hippy days when I had a flour sack shirt and my Great Grandmother–born in 1890—laughed over our idea of “slumming it”. IN HER day that was all they HAD sometimes. Home made biscuits EVERY DAY from 93 year old Great Great Grandma. Saved coffee grounds. Bananas left under the sink to “ripen” and then when they were BLACK made into banana bread—which to this DAY I cannot eat. Egg shells in the water for the African Violets. A giant Strawberry Cone planter outside in my Grand mothers suburban yard—and the cukes she grew—did she ever grow anything BUT berries and cukes???—and the giant crocks of pickles she made—left overs from her Queens childhood when Queens NY was the COUNTRY.

    My grand father saved the money for his first boat in a Band-Aid box. And he was not a poor man just this was then as now a luxury item. He made my mother drive her brand new MG home without knowing HOW to drive a stick because as he said if she didn’t learn then she would NEVER learn.

    Remember my Great Gram telling us about how poor they were and getting toothbrushes and being told that due to a ‘flu outbreak—might have been the 1918 one—they should BOIL the brushes. And how they came apart! And they had no money to replace them. She claimed THAT was why she had no teeth later in life—–

    We bought our house with the “proceeds” of our first distressed sale house. This house was a foreclosed house and we paid very little for it and lifted it up and replaced the rotted beam we knew HOW to do from the FIRST house but which scared away the other potential buyers. And when we move we will take ALL of the sale money and not have to worry about a loan etc and buy another distressed house someplace warmer. Not to say we are financial wizards—we have heaps of medical bills we are working thru–but if we had both sets of bills we would STILL have the medical bills while we were sweeping in front of the homeless shelter!

    The generation coming behind us will probably never have what their grandparents had—a booming economy and pensions etc and Social Security to help out. We won’t have MOST of that either. Some of us will inherit some from those lucky people but our kids—not so much. And they get NO financial education AT ALL in school. My kids shop at thrift shops and coupon and buy gas sipping cars and two of them—and two grand kids and a spouse—live here at home because it is just too expensive to find a place here in the Northeast. While I love having my grandkids here I do think that the kids would enjoy living on their own.

    And a few things I for one am DEEPLY thankful for—elevators–I am handicapped and I would be unable to go a LOT of needed places if they were not available. Travel outside the US and the handicapped are sunk. Electric appliances. I can’t imagine having to try and lug the wet wash to the line—I have help but we also live where it is snowy and below freezing 9 months out of the year. I used to do it and dry it by the wood stove but with two asthmatic people here that had to go. Electric wheelie carts. Titanium-and carbon fiber–I can’t imagine how I would have coped with one of the older steel and other metal prosthetic legs.

    Happily bring my re-useable bags to the grocery store—and wash out most of my zip-locks—and hang dry some of my laundry—and lucky enough to live a few hundred feet away from a dairy with re-fillable GLASS milk bottles—but all of this stuff alone will not save the planet all by itself. Needs many many more individuals and industries to do THAT.

  61. Busy Beekeeper mom. says

    Replace the razor blades??? How wasteful! My father taught me how to use a razor strop to resharpen the blades, ad-infinitum. (If you borrow a razor to shave your sweater, be prepared to learn a new skill :)

    Dad may still be using the same 2 razors & blades he used the whole time I grew up. If they develop a curve, after many years of use, razor blades can be reground by hand with a sharpening stone or low powered jewellery grinder. Takes just a few minutes.

    Rust is the real enemy, so the faster your blade is dried, the longer it lasts.

    The girls did use disposable razors, with hair conditioner for a smooth shave that imparts an oily protective film to the blade.

    We were taught that as soon as you finished, you rinsed off the razor, and hung it near the heater, or if it was summer, by the fan in the bathroom.

    If you do this, razors dry almost instantly, and last almost forever. I have used the same 2 cheap disposable razors for at least 2 years, with no appreciable dulling.

    I suppose someday one will dull, and I will shave the sharpening stone, or use it on one of the china knife sharpening rods to sharpen it, but that has not happened yet. The 12 pack of disposables I bought on sale will probably out live me ! :)

  62. Marcia says

    My Grandmother was a post depression widow raising 2 children. Boy was she frugal. She kept a journal of every purchase and it’s cost so that she knew where every penny went. And I don’t mean like $15.00 on groceries. It listed 1 lb white beans $0.18. My favorite is a piece of a quilt I have framed from my aunt. It is made from flour sacks that were made into her dresses and then when she out grew them, or they became too damaged to wear she cut them up to make this full sized quilt. We need to take lessons from past generations on how to live frugally (which also happens to be great for the earth)!

  63. says

    I loved the article. It makes me think of my grandmother and how she could make amazing things out of “nothing.” I still love what I was able to keep. I am tring to make things that my children and grandchildren will treasure when I am gone, along with the memories of how much time and love I gave them. Thank you grandma for showing me how!!!

  64. says

    Your right back then they kept all the skins and egg shells and the coffee grounds to replenish the earth , because they didn’t know about organic…

  65. Liz says

    I remember a lot of these so well and I was born in 1960. Even though kids and adults are trying to be green, they really have missed a lot. I had a paper shredder a couple of years ago that wasn’t working. I was telling a friend that I was trying to fix it. His reply- “My wife would have just thrown it away and bought a new one.” My reply- “If I can fix it and save money, I’ll try.” Of course, they live in a mega-mansion and we live in a small 2 bedroom house. The community I live in is fairly affluent for the most part, and are teaching their kids to be wasteful and not work…because they will be there to hand out to their kids. My son wants to know why he as to work and save and fix to have things he wants. We tell him it teaches him responsibility. I feel sorry for those other kids who are not made to work, when their parents leave this world. They’ll be adults, waiting for Mommy and Daddy to hand out to them again. Eventually that money will dry up and they won’t know how to work for more.

  66. says


  67. Lorraine says

    Love this! So many of us have been ‘green’ all our lives and just shake our heads when we hear the latest green things – like recycling and composting!! ; )

  68. David says

    Sooo true, the good ol days of hanging your laundry, hand-washing dishes, spending less time inside, sucked into the vortex also known as the t.v. and/or computer, and going outside for walks, talking with neighbors, and growing food in your own garden.

    Speaking of wasteful, don’t even get me started with kids electronics these days. Gone are the days of toys that didn’t require a million batteries, charging, and re-charging.

    On a side note, it would seem with all of the energy sucking electronics, the age of “using your imagination”, has also gone out the window.

  69. Eula says

    Yes I remember those dys and lived through a lot of them, I also remember when we did not have electricity so we had to hang our food in the well to keep it cool between meals. We finally got lockers in town and got a place to freeze our meat for winter. We had to milk cows before we went to school so we could have mile for cooking.Those were the good old days.

  70. Ann says

    Whew, this article and discussion is bringing back all kinds of thoughts and memories. Where to begin?

    I will soon be 53 and I well remember summer mornings with Grandma’s old Wringer washer. We put it out on the carport and filled the three tubs (wash, rinse, bluing). We could to the family’s whole laundry with just those three tubs of water – one batch of soap. We started with the whites, then went to the lights, brights, and then darks. We even did sheets and towels (came out feeling like a shingle, but softened with use).

    My grandmother always had one or two clean hankies in her purse – no throw-away kleenex for her. And cleaning wipes and diaper wipes? Oh please! She also saved the Sucrets tins and used them for bobby pins and safety pins.

    She had one recycled card box for crayons and a coloring book for each of us children when we went to visit. We used those for my entire childhood, using the edge of the paper to mark a little so we could tell what color we had. She made her own laundry soap out of fat drippings, lye and borax. She raised a garden and canned in re-usable glass jars.

    She sewed the family’s clothing from fabric bundles that she got from Montgomery Ward. Apparently, you could buy a bunch of fabric that way. The side pieces were made into aprons if they were big enough or she cut them up for quilt pieces. Flour sacks were used for dishtowels in our home. Good sections of bath towels that were wearing out were cut and hemmed to use as dishcloths. Other ones were cut up to use as cleaning rags.No paper towels for Grandma. She thought they were wasteful.

    In the wintertime, they piled on the blankets instead of turning up the heat. I still prefer to sleep under a warm blanket in a cool bedroom. My husband’s family had a wood burning heater that they stocked with slab firewood from a nearby sawmill. It was five dollars a pickup load, and they could get through the winter wtih three loads.

    Not that many years ago, when you used cloth bags at the grocery store, they took eight cents per bag used off of your grocery bill. Now, they pressure you to use their cloth bags that you can purchase from them but the stores around here have taken the monetary incentive away.

    What was wierd was – everyone lived like that. It was part and parcel of their lifestyle.

  71. MaryBeth says

    Brings back many memories of my childhood. I loved by grandparents so much and learned so much from them. My mother was widowed early with 4 children. I remember shopping at thrift stores, canning sessions with my grandparents in their basement. Long summer evenings out on my grandparents’ front porch on old furniture painted white. We stayed there until the sun went down and the fireflies came out to dance. Neighbors going on a walk would stop and say hello. I rode my bicycle to the swimming pool– about a mile and a half for lessons and anytime I could earn 25 cents to go there and swim (which was hand digging out dandelions and crab grass in the neighbors’ yards for 25 cents per five gallon bucket– no herbicides just plain old hard work). Ice cream was a treat and so was soda pop. I hoarded my pennies from picking up pop bottles to save money to buy candy (2 cents per bottle for the returns). I took lunch to school in brown paper bags with sandwiches wrapped in plastic bread bags. Lived at the library and dreamed about being able to buy all the books I ever wanted. And I can’t really remember garage sales as a kid. I think most people used up what they had or did without. Been married 29 years now and have four grown children who shop thrift stores, rescue old furniture from the curb and fix it up and have gardens and can and freeze as much as they can. But when they were kids all they did was complain about not having store food like their friends and their mother dragging them to auctions to look for household goods. It’s a little rewarding to see that they have come full circle but they do love their cellphones and texting!

  72. says

    I love this and I am so agreeing!!! In the town where I grew up we had a dairy farm that delivered milk to our door. That was the best milk in the world. I miss waking up and our little silver box having milk bottles in it (3 white 1 chocolate for my dad and me of course :)) That was only 24 years ago. A lot changes in 24 years! How awesome would it be to have someone bring milk to your door instead of bringing 4 kids to the store for it!! And we walked everywhere too. I’m only 29, and I miss the old days!!!

  73. donna b says

    I still have financial journals my mom kept in the 50’s (just can’t part with them!). My parents were Mary Jane and Danny. Mom would write, 2.00 to Danny for loaf of bread .18, toothpaste, .25 and cough medicine for baby, 50cents, and than a note, “danny kept change”.

    I still laugh when I think of Dad arguing with Mom about money and she’d pull her little book and show him how much he spent!

    Some precious moments as a kid was watching fascinated by grand dad’s beautiful garden. My chore was to pick a tomato for supper and to sit on the porch with gram “doing the snap” for green beans ! they were great summers!

  74. Robin says

    I have been saying this for some time. My grandparents generation didn’t “need” the green thing. They didn’t waste anything. There were no plastic “everythings” or disposable “everythings”. They used it up, wore it out, or did without. Flour sacks became pants or dresses. Quilts were made from old clothes that absolutely could not be saved or “reclaimed” so they call it now. They grew their own vegetables so they could eat. Canned their own food. Cooked from scratch. If you ask most young people now if they can, sew, quilt, crochet, or cook for that matter you will probably be quite surprised. Most women that I have met through my sons schools absolutely do not cook. If it cannot be picked up at a drive through or heated in a microwave oven, they do not buy it. This generation did not create being “green”. I refuse to buy anything that has to do with being green. Why? because I grow my own vegees, I sew my clothes, I make my own cleaning products and reuse the same bottle over and over again. I also cook from scratch including our families bread. Basically, people have become “lazy”. Bottom line.

  75. rebecca says

    i think you skipped a generation in there, perhaps even 2. maybe it’s more of a location thing but i didn’t ride a bike. i rode a motorcycle. we had 2 TVs. things lasted longer plus you took care of what you had to make it last longer. think about it. items today aren’t made to last and this has been the case for a few decades now.

  76. Grizzly Bear Mom says

    I remeber putting the water on to boil before picking and shucking the corn so it tasted best and picking only those tomatoes that were ripe. Drinking non pasturized raw milk. Scratch cooking and freezing for winter. Hand me downs and sewing clothes. The kids at school asking why I wore the same clothes all the time. Opening a bank accout to save for my house at age 7. I bought it at 21. I have no recurring bills and can afford to be generous which I am. In contrast although my sister, her kids, and grands live with my mom she doesn’t have a pot to cook in. Don’t cook or clean, but have perfectly manicured nails. Throw their clothes on the floor and walk on them. Couldn’t visit my cousin when he was institutuionalized although I drove 600 miles to see him monthly and they could have riden with me. Whatever happened to family? Their lifes are about self gratification. Computer games. One of her kids is 27 and has barely ever worked. I owned my second home by that age. I hope that abuse is better prevented now. I am also happy that our church talked to the kids about suicide when we lots a few girls in our town, including my neighbor. It still breaks my heart.

  77. says

    This article is so true.
    My parents were from the depression area.
    It makes me laugh, when today people come up with a new
    “green idea”. The idea is not new, it was one that just slowly disappeared and now is returning.
    Washing bottles, saving plastic bags, composting, turning off your lights, turning down your heat……etc……
    I still remember packing my lunch in a paper bag and having to return the bag so I could use it again for tomorrows lunch.

  78. Trudy says

    I love it. We too used a cash and carry or outhouse. We baked our own bread and buns and made lots of soup so we used less meat to feed our family. We had water barrels outside, collecting water for baths and laundry and also had one for drinking water. We carried in snow to melt for this as well. Dishes were washed by hand. Water was recycled many loads over when doing laundry, and for that matter, for baths as well. We did not have showers, we had a minimal amount of water in the tub, water heated on the stove, and more heated water added as needed for the next person having a bath. We had big gardens where a large amount of food was grown, and extras were canned or frozen for future use. We raised and butchered our their own meat. We did not have a TV, or for many years a phone. We burned our garbage and dumped vegi peels on the garden for composting. Living on a farm we did not get weekly stacks of flyers to recycle. We sang and visited in the vehicles when we went places or listened to a radio station as we did not each have a game boy, dsi, ipod, etc. My dad built a number of our houses with the help of his brothers and these houses were built for functionality, not with all kinds of wasted space used to impress others. (this was as well as working full time in the city and running the farm). Our weekly after school activities included Wed. night clubs if we could get a ride because my Mom didn’t drive, and my Dad was busy working. Our cars were seldom bought new. Auctions were a popular place to shop…….wow, how life has changed and I’m only 45.

  79. Cindy says

    Oh my what ignorance and arrongance! My Grandmother (who lived to be 101)could out “green” anyone. She grew up in a time when every resource was precious. Here is an example. Many times I would stay the night at her house. In the morning, she would make breakfast. First she would start her coffee in a percolater pot on the stove. Next would be biscuits. She would open her flour canister and remove a folded sheet of waxed paper. She would mix her biscuit dough then unfold the waxed paper. She would sprinkle the paper with four and pat out her dough on it. She would get her biscuit cutter: a small Pet Milk tin with one side cut out and two holes punched with a knife in the other side. Once the biscuits were cut out, remaider of the dough was reworked to cut out more. Anything left was patted out into little buiscuits. The excess flour on the waxed paper was put back in the flour cnaister and the waxed papaer folded up and placed back in the flour canister. She would fry bacon then pour the grease into a jar to be used later for frying. After we ate, we would clean up. She had a huge country style sink; too big for washing dishes for just two. She would set a small plastic tub in the sink. I would wash the dishes and set them in a dish drainer to dry. Then Granny would instruct me to take the dishwater outside with instructions to use it to water certian plants. She would then instruct me to take the coffee grounds and crushed egg shells and spread them around specified plants. All this before 9 am!

    • says

      Cindy you made me feel old. I have one of those pet milk cans that I use too. I love it for my chopping my strawberries too. My mom made it for me when I got married. Then when Tawra got married and then my son got married they both begged grandma to make them an evaporated milk can.

      I too pour all my bacon grease in a jar and use every little bit of it all the time. Plus I keep a plastic tub in my sink too for washing my handful of dishes. You grandma and I could be twins. :) :) Now I feel ancient. :) :)

  80. Julie Johnson says

    Visited my MIL with my 18.m.o. dear daughter (who is now 43) in a moutain community in West Virginia. Fed all the neighborhood cats with a little “scrap pan” in the pantry and she had the cleanest home I have ever have seen.
    Got her clothes on the line before I got out of bed, and had a little checked cotton bag to put the pins in.
    She was a woman at peace with everyone and with God.
    Thanks for gently reminding me today of this wonderful lady.

  81. Katie says

    Actually, Ann, there are THREE stores that will give you a break on your groceries if you bring your reusable bags. Whole Foods, Sprouts, and Target all deduct a nickel per bag off your order. Whole Foods and Sprouts have been doing this for a while, and it seems that Target just joined in.

  82. Kelly says

    Love this! I’ve never heard anyone say that the older generation was wasteful but this post shows how this “green” generation is so very wasteful!

  83. Nancy says

    I must be one of the older generation. We didn’t get milk from the store, we milked our cow, ate out of the garden and canned/froze everything we could. We didn’t have a TV till I was in the 8th grade (1961). With that said, I do take my bags with me to the grocery and they hold so much more than the plastic bags. All you have to do here is to drive down the road next to the refuge dump and see the roadside and it makes you want to do everything you can do to save it for our kids/grandkids. My GS (17) went to Haiti and seen all the trash along the roadside there and said that our area looks beautiful. We all need to try to keep it that way for the future generation.

  84. Ella says

    Back in the day, before plastic bags, we had paper bags, which were biodegradable, or could be recycle for many things like soaking grease from fried foods, wrapping packages to mail, use a trash bags, and probably many other things.

  85. LUCY JAMES says

    do you remember that country song that said “i was country when country wasn’t cool” ? well i was green for as long as i can recall. and i am 76. we were taught “waste not, want not”. still practice that today. the greenies have nothing on us older folks. neither do the DIYers. it was do it yourself or do without in many cases.

    lucy james

  86. Zora says

    You may add: we were dancing once a week or so – young and old together, we were going for a walk all families, we cooked at home, we .. you name it.
    There is no font size big enough to say: THATΒ΄S RIGHT! We do not need all the comfort we created for ourselves!
    Zora, turning 60 next year

  87. Zora says

    We cannot go back to those times but we can start be greener ourselves now. So I believe. I therefore do not have TV, no fridge – which makes me to go and shop just such amount of food I need for 1-2 or 7 days at most. With exception (vinegar to clean kettle) I do not buy anything sold in plastic bottles. I reuse plastic bags up to hundred times (mending holes with scotch). With exceptions I do not buy ready made tinned food. Washing little pieces with soap instead of in washing machine etc.
    Recently I encountered a problem: trying to use less of those very strong chemicals for bathroom and thus lessen the impact on sewage water cleaning, it become unbearably dirty and smelly and I quickly returned to my previous practice. Does anyone have any suggestion – maybe from those old times – how to clean toilet nature-friendly? Thank you.

  88. Colleen says

    There is a smugness which prevails in today’s world around “the culture of environmentalism”; so much so that we often loose perspective. Our children are being raised to think that they are the first generation to ever “care” about the earth, yet there is such hypocrisy in the environmental movement. Everything is made to be disposable, and packaging of almost every item you buy (especially toys) is way over-the-top and unnecessary just so it will look prettier on the shelf and cry out to you to buy it. How can printers (a very common item in most households today) cost on par or less than the ink cartridges it takes to refill it? On this point alone, how many perfectly functioning printers end up on the junk pile each year? You’re right, “being green” has always meant for most people using common sense and being respectful of God’s creation. If more people in modern society used their common sense they would see the hypocrisy of scolding someone for using a plastic bag at the grocery store when they ignore such terrible waste occurring all around them!

  89. says

    Thought this post was extremely enlightening. Just goes to show that we older generations knew green before green was so important. Generations today sould realize that this green thing came about a long tome ago and should have an inpact on how things are today. Thank you very much for your news letter, it is a post that i enjoy reading very much.

  90. Jan C says

    I am as green as I can be and still enjoy my life. I still cook my own food, sometimes have a garden, (this year’s didn’t produce too much), make my own laundry soap, hang my clothes (from April to Oct) and work full-time and take care of my ailing husband. I have a manual can opener, and those new “supposedly” energy saving light bulbs. The main reason I use them is because I hate to climb the ladder to change the bulbs and they do last a long time. Haven’t seen any reduction in my electric bill.
    thanks for bringing back the wonderful memories that I have of spending time with my Mom and Grandmother. Mom is now 90 and I am late 60s. thanks for the memories

  91. Michele says

    An excellent perspective! Was just laughing with a friend this am about how we didn’t have central A/C but our dads had worked up an elaborate system of window and attic fans to draw air in and force hot air out!

  92. Carmen says

    Amen to that. I am a 38 yearold recently semi-retired mother of two. I learned to live frugally from both my parents and grand-parents. I remember when you still returned the pop bottles for cash. Funny enough my husband and myself were just speaking of this the other day. The thought of paper towels growing up…thats kinda of funny. We used home made napkins..and went to the store on once or twice a month at best. Bring your own bag…its the older generations fault…I beg to differ. I live simply and dont need water from a bottle,a cell phone, or computer for that matter..those are only conviences..its the want vs. need idea. Or better yet..the use it up..wear it out ..or do with out…our world would be cleaner by far…love your website and read it all the time. Have an AWESOME day!

  93. Grizzly Bear Mom says

    Zora if could help to keep your toilet clean if you recyle the dishwater into a bucket and flush frequently. I splash with bleach when its dirty (I only wash anything when its dirty. Why waste time and resources?) and then scrub with a toilet brush. No chemicals used.

  94. Grizzly Bear Mom says

    I though tof another simple pleasure. If I were my turn and I had been a good girl I got to go to Foodtown Grocery store with my parents! At 51 I still LOVE grocery shopping!

  95. Carmen says

    Post for Zora…I typicaly use baking soda…a little paste and a little elbow gease goes a long ways. Its enviromentaly safe…abrasive..but no so much that it will take the enamel off a to use on the fiberglass insert showers…and then a little vinegar to disinfect…hope that helps. There are also abrasive bars…that you can by..kinda looks like a bar of soap but they are specifically for taking the lime desposits or rust stains out of a toilet bowl. Sometimes I am full of useless information but maybe this time it will help.

  96. Christina says

    The ideas our children are taught about “the green thing” go much further astray from the truths we cherish than we may realize. This concept was brought about in 1992 at the UN, and the goal is to push socialism and social justice by, among other steps, eliminating private ownership of land, housing, and vehicles.
    Watch or read to find out more information.

  97. Kelly says

    I’m only 40 yrs and you described life for me as a child. It’s amazing the changes I have seen during my life. I did walk several miles in 3 feet of snow to get to a store as a child. I remember when we got our first color tv! I pushed that man powered motorless lawnmower at my grandmas and it was hard work. My grandma had an old fashioned washing machine where the clothes went through a wringer. We drank water out of our kitchen faucet or drinking fountains. No one had water bottles. I played outside from the time I got home from school til it was dark. We had a partyline on our phone where we had to wait our turn to make a call! We used a typewriter for letters and resumes…one where you had to push back not an electric one. Wow, I really miss the good old days when things were more work but so much simpler!

  98. Marcia says

    Boy hasn’t life changed a lot in say forty five years. I remember all my glass milk bottles we returned to a crate in school and how I hated the new and improved paper milk cartons. But even those are better than the plastic milk jugs. Paper bags instead of plastic, and my parents didn’t even own a car for years…my father walked to work at the local mill every day. A washing machine with a wringer…good grief…now I feel old.

  99. Randi says

    I loved this article and all the wonderful discussion here by ladies of all ages. I am about to turn 33 next month, and I have often felt as if I was born into the wrong era. I love learning about the so-called “old-fashioned” way of doing things, and have adopted many such methods for my own home, such as making bread from scratch, by hand. I even am considering building an earth oven for wood-fired pizzas and artisan breads! It is such a delight to learn how to slow down and enjoy our work. Thank you for the wonderful encouragement you offer here. Last night, I made your chicken cacciatore recipe with fresh basil from my garden, and my family gobbled it up. I started using that recipe of yours two years ago, and it gets better every time!
    I would love to see more articles like this one, honestly. So refreshing and enlightening!

  100. rose says

    kelly .. i grew up the same way! ..
    we had a tv but it had rabbit ears and foil too .. no one in the neighborhood had a color tv .. everyone had b&w ..
    we thought my sister’s in law’s were rich (they had a color tv) ..
    and cable? what was that? ..
    and i remember my mom had one of those wringer washers when i was growing up .. in fact, my brother got one in the “80’s *used* .. and well, our clothes came out so clean too .. better than at the laundromat .. and the tub was huge .. (you can buy those now but they are sold at stores that sell to the amish “”) ..
    yep things were simpler and well we all seemed to be doing the “green” then too ..
    and i remember the paper bags being saved too .. esp if we were cooking anything in grease and well the item was set on the bags to let the grease come out and “drain” .. and our cups were plastic and bc there were so many of us, we had our names on it (written in marker) and were responsible for cleaning our own cups and yes, dishes ..
    we had a dish tub too . i still do .. i like the idea of soaking my stuff b4 i wash them .. (habit from when i was younger) ..
    thanks for posting this .. πŸ˜€

  101. Rebecca says

    I absolutely love this. I’m going to print it out and put on my refrigerator. Sometimes I think the world would be so much better off without all of the technology we have today. I miss the simpler times.

  102. Maryann says

    How many generations back? Two maybe’, my parents as well as alot of other people were so excited with all these gadgets and convenience items they very quickly forgot about living a sustaintable lifestyle.So called progress in many cases has set us backwards.I for my part didnt have a clue thats changed.On the positive at least this sales girl has some awareness and although many people think a green life is something new (laughing) its better than not being aware.Keep up your great news letter.

  103. rose says

    not sure if i can post this here .. but this week (and part of last week!) has been horrible to our family ..
    well .. not wanting to go into all of the depressing news .. but i wanted to share with everyone .. my crockpot (thats no longer sold in stores) . the lid broke (shattered is more like it, i accidentally dropped it) .. well .. i did manage to buy another one last winter but i am not at all happy with it .. (the silver thingy inside the holder is only 1/2 way up, so it takes alot longer to cook things. i bought it bc i thought mine was not working correctly) ..
    well .. until i can find one that i like (and i am sure i will) .. i kept the crockpot (meanwhile hubby was so upset bc he loved me using the crockpot this summer and all of last winter. i didnt use the oven hardly last winter and well since march 1st until up to date (today, 08/13/20110) i have used the oven no more than 1 hr..
    but instead of getting rid of the crockpot (i think i have more days i can get out of it) .. i decided to try several of my pot lids .. one almost (just about) fit .. but i found one of my large (the crockpot is huge and round) plates fit just about right ..
    so am so glad that this will work for now .. i contacted the company to see if they could sell me a new lid but i dont think so .. the model is discontinued .. (the crockpot is over 10 yrs old) ..
    thought i would share .. bc of the “green” talk and reusing and recycling ..
    πŸ˜€ ..
    love the recipes .. posted too .. apple or peach crisp .. looks so yummy .. will have to make a note to make this .. when i will use the oven again ..
    altho .. i am wondering.. can i make this in the crockpot? .. πŸ˜€ .. just curious ..
    thanks again .. everyone .. πŸ˜€ ..

    • says

      Rose you might try a couple of thrift stores to see if they might have a like. I see tons of really old crock pots at mine all the time for just a couple of dollars.

    • Susi says

      For Rose if the lid almost fits try using some alfoil around the edge to insulate it bot my mum and i have done this when we have broken our lids it works grat :)

  104. Mary says

    Rose, we got the first TV in the neighborhood about 1954 – a 17″ b & w and 3 stations. The entire neighborhood was at our house. In the afternoons, all the kids were there for “The Mickey Mouse Club” and a local kids program. A few months later, the neighbors got a 21″ and everyone went to their house!!

    We always had a huge garden and I helped Mom put it all up. What we didn’t grow, she would barter with neighbors who did. Some farmers would also let you ‘glean’ their fields after harvesting. I can still close my eyes and see the rows and rows of fruits, vegetables, pickles etc lining the shelves. Those were what kept us going thru the winter.

    Every fall, I still have the urge to stock up for the winter even tho it’s just me, my two dogs and two grown kids who are with me part of the time. I keep a good supply anyway, but still want to stock up for winter.

  105. Hannah Cole says

    I totally agree with this little exerpt. IF we would all rely on ourselves more then I think we would regain our independence and stop being dependent. That would cut alot of deficit, not only in our economy’s budget but in the budget of our lives: our family, friends and God. Push away from the computer, the t.v., and the cell phones. There is plenty of sunshine outside and activities that engage the mind and soul. Best of all it is free.

  106. Denise says

    I think that people were greener back in the day. This generation is just hearing about it now. We used things over again and carried a Thermos instead of going to the drive through for morning brew. We swapped clothing with friends and neighbors instead of shopping constantly. We were living greener back then without even knowing that we were doing it and saving money, too.

  107. Grizzly Bear Mom says

    I carefully consider the impact of my actions on God’s creation because he charged us with it’s care in Genesis 1:28. The UN doens’t influence me.

  108. Julie D. says

    What a fabulous post! I was raised by parents who grew up that way and taught us to do the same. Thank you so much for sharing this. I really appreciate it!

  109. Carmen says

    Ive been following along since I got the newletter and posted the other day. I love the crockpot story…I have a crockpot the lid was glass and ended up broken. I salvaged second hand stores till I found the insert with the lid attached…I needed the lid but utilized the acutal pull out crock part as an in oven baking dish.
    I to grew up with my mom and dad growing or raising most everything we had to eat. My dad in the early 80’s couldnt eat store bought eggs..the smell from the food that they were feeding the fowl was making him sick. So we started the chickens..then from there dad and mom decided they would raise some pigs,we bought a bull, two cows..from there endless supply of milk, meat, butter and cheese…ect.
    I have always been facinated with the suvivalist metality..and ethics and work of it. I have a set of books I have picked up about the Great Depression they were written by a lady out of WI. She was a newspaper writer…the books are an excellent source of information and recipes. They were stories I could hear the echo of my mom and dads childhood and my grand parents early life together during those times.
    I finally invested in a glass washboard and a breather washer. I am now on a search for a wash tub with wringer..second hand if I can find it…new are realllyy expensive…go figure..more work…but still more expensive. We could all I think take a lesson or two from the Amish folk and our own ancstors…honest days work honest days pay. I recently retired…I think I already told that..however, Ive been looking for something part time..well in 20 years I can honestly say the world has changed vastly..and people are far from being what they were even that short of a time span ago.
    Love to hear all the memories…takes me back to our store room and all the rows of canned veggies and fruits..and homebaked breads…and my moms canned pumkin’ bread…ahh..those were the days.

  110. Barb says

    Zora. Clean your toilets and bathroom with Baking soda and vinigar. They will sparkle. In fact I use only these products for all my cleaning. My House smells fresh without all the harsh chemicals. Try it.

  111. rose says

    jill/tawra.. not sure where my head is these days .. but after i posted that comment/question if i could make the apple crisp in crockpot.. a few hrs later i looked online and found a recipe ..
    as for the lid .. well .. until i find one, i have been using a plate to cover the pot .. and its working out fine so far ..
    i have looked in the thrift stores here … i have found several lids but they are too small .. and if i find a crockpot there are no lids .. but i will keep checking ..
    carmen, i have seen used wringers on ebay a while ago .. the prices at that time werent too bad ..
    and well i have to ask .. what is a breather washer? .. just curious ..
    mary .. i remember when i was younger and our neighbors got a new tv too .. and we all went to their house to watch tv too ..


  112. LAC says

    …..and children played OUTSIDE in the summer BAREFOOT thus saving money on shoes! I remember going outside barefoot all summer long. In fact exercising barefoot is in Yoga Classes that are so popular now.

    • getforfree says

      It’s really hard to be barefoot in the summer in CA, the ground is way too hot. I buy a pair of flip-flops for each my kids at the dollar store and they lasts a whole summer. They wear it everywhere except for the school and church.

  113. Melissa says

    Rose, I use a breather washer too, and it is so called because it makes a “breathing” sound as you use it. It is a manual washer that somewhat resembles a toilet plunger. I love it! I also reuse the wash/rinse water to flush the toilet.

    I learned to cook because I HAD to, and now I prefer it. I have no family (at all: no parents, no siblings, no spouse), so I have to do for myself. I make my own jam, I make bread from scratch (in a bread machine, yes, but I also know how to make it by hand), I have no car, and I enjoy hanging my laundry (washed manually with my beloved breathing washer) to dry. I have a centrifuge, which is an electic spin cycle. It spins wet laundry and collects the water (also used to flush the toilet), leaving the laundry damp and dripless, ready to hang inside or out. I grow my own tomatoes, but I don’t yet know how to can them. I’ll eat them all anyway, so there’ll be none left to freeze or can! I can’t wait until I have my own house– I’ll have a HUGE garden! But on my apartment patio I have tomatoes and a small herb garden.

    I want to be more frugal, but I admit I have a long way to go. I have a love of books, and I have many, many books, but they were mostly purchased for pennies at used book fairs. I love pajamas, and I have far more than I need. I also love bath products, and I have lots, but they do get used every single day, so I count them as utilitarian. But cooking at home and doing laundry at my leisure without having to queue up for the apartment complex’s facilities and making my own fabulous jam that my chemistry professor taught me how to make one summer day is simply enjoyable for me. Goodness; I think I sound older than I am: I’m only 40!

  114. Carmen says

    I think someone already answered the breather washer question….it kinda resembles a plunger of sorts. It can be made and was of metal..however they make them out of plastic..for rust prevention.
    If you go to the website you can browse for all the things that you cant find in a local hardware store.
    I understand the search for the lid..took me months…I was just lucky cause the one I broke was one of the smaller ones.
    There are so many simple pleasures available to us all. Its a shame the rest of world looks at it in the light of why would I when I dont have to work for it. There were many people I onced worked with that thought I was the weird one out…they always wanted me to re-tell the stories of my growing up to the see the look on their faces. Go figure..didnt seem to wierd to me..but I can certainly see how carrying water and cooking on a wood the 80’s and 90’s mighta’ been a few years late.
    I had a set of metal clothes line poles made some years ago…I have a dryer..but at the time..well one can only be pulled apart fixed and put back together till it finally ran its course….anyway. I had to make due and invested in the lines vs the new dryer. Theres nothing quite as good as line dried clothes. I can remember as a kid…we lived in a small place not more than 500 people on a good day. In the summers and winters for that matter…we hung our clothes out. My mom had our entire yard in a garden of some, food, herbs you name it..the clothes line was by her garden with the poppies, cocks combs and amarantha…vivid memories…sunshine flowers…and being barefoot.
    Hot really hot…but that didnt seem to matter so much then…lol

  115. Carol says

    I like to get the plastic bags for my groceries because I use them as trash bags in all of my garbage cans including the one in my kitchen. Even though some people don’t realize getting them can also be “green”. I don’t have to buy garbage bags.

  116. Jan C says

    Carol: I use my plastic bags for garbage also, but I found a new use for them. I have started making rugs and bags from the plastic bags. I found a website that tells you how to cut the bags to form circles and then you put them together and roll them up and it works just like yarn. They call it PLARN. You have to use a somewhat large hook (for crochet) or needles (for knitting) but my crocheted rug came out wonderful. You can’t work non-stop on this project till your hands get used to the plastic. The bags don’t all have the same consistency. Great recycling.

  117. Julie says

    That’s amazing. I never thought of it that way. I didn’t think the older generation was wasteful, but I never thought of the fact that alot of people think they were, when everything they did was better for our earth and more efficient. My grandma reused everything until the day she died. I was always amazed at the new uses she found for everything. Great article! It’s a new perspective.

  118. rose says

    i do the same thing carol .. they make great garbage bags ..
    i was just telling my son and daughter that soon they will be having the xmas popcorn cans on sale and i love the pretty decorative scenes on them .. (of course they were rolling their eyes bc they do not like the taste of the popcorn that is included in them .. i have asked several people if they like them and everyone has said no but they make nice treats for the ducks/birds) and i do believe people (at least i think they would do this) buy those cans bc well .. they make nice little garbage cans to decorate the house with in each room ..
    just a thought here .. esp for the holidays .. buy those huge tins, take the popcorn out and then in it add something homemade and even if u had to add a small box of trash bags (from the dollar store) to pass on the idea of reusing something so cute and well decorative ..
    just an idea ..
    altho, i must say .. for the holiday’s this yr, i am giving away a canister of the homemade detergent and a few other items .. and yes, jill/tawra.. remember i asked about using the gatorade cans that will be decorated? (if i should use them, i asked for ur advice?) .. well .. i am going to do this .. my daughter said if someone doesnt like it then THEY can get their own container and put the detergent in it .. and she’s right .. its from the heart .. (thanks for the advice too πŸ˜€ )

  119. rose says

    thanks for answering this melissa and carmen .. i will have to look the breather washer and centrifuge up ..
    my crock is still working great with no lid.. i have decided not to look for one .. the plate is working out fine ..
    my duaghter said she will buy me a new crockpot as soon as this one goes .. and then she said “mom bc u love that old thing and it seems like you have had it since i was a kid (she is 29 now and well i did get it long long ago, well over 10 yrs) .. ” and hten she said “you will probably figure someway to rig something up to keep the old thing working” .. and i told her . well that is a good thing .. it will keep my mind alert and well tap into my craft/creativity part of my brain that i love to use at times” .. πŸ˜€

  120. rose says

    melissa . i got a canning pot and the other stuff (its a reg pot not the pressure canning pot) .. at walmart just a few weeks ago for $17.00 ..
    i have never canned either but i am going to start soon .. and well .. i would love to make my own jams ..
    and yes.. i am getting a freezer soon too .. yep .. i know .. should have had one yrs ago but finally getting a small one ..
    and melissa .. i do have a car but the tranny is slipping so badly .. i told my son .. no new car .. i will get the last bit of whatever out of this thing .. and if need be .. no car for a while either .. payments too high .. gas too high .. ins too high ..
    and if need be .. bc my daughter has a new(er) car, with payments (no thank you here.. no payments wanted!) .. if we have to wait a while to get a good used car then i will pay my daughter gas money to take me to the stores .. or just walk .. or even take the bus .. the bus stop is right down the road .. i can be picked up there but not sure where i can be let off .. have to check this out ..
    have to save money some how ..
    awesome that u make ur own bread and raise tomatoes ..
    i have been making homemade broth and well seem to be losing a bit of weight too .. altho i love bread .. i dont have a bread machine and well .. the oven isnt going to be turned on for a long while until the temps go down ..
    i know several people who use their bread machines daily and make all kinds of neat breads ..
    i will have to look into getting one of those at the goodwill next time i am there ..

  121. Carmen says

    Rose you are are welcome. I think that the more opportunity for learning there is about how others do it the better off we all are. I use the popcorn can to store bulk foods in. I reuse my bags for either garbage bags or I give away produce…now maybe selling it off an on…and I reuse them for that. I dont have a lot of them on hand..I use reusable bags for grocery shopping.
    I looked for years to find a crockpot like the one my mother had. Early 80’s removable insert glass with little pictures of various veggies and lobsters…for what ever reason that particular food item
    I did finally find one..and it worked and I still have it..however its the bigger out of the two..and unless I am doing something large..I use my smaller one ..again found at a thrift store…
    Again goes back to the adage of use it up wear it out or do without. I admired my grandmothers thrift..though odd at times..still admirable. She would safe the bits and pieces of used soap…yep..kind gross but stick with me here. Till she had enough small pieces..she had this weird little the shape of a bar of soap very much like…dove soap…and would melt them all together pour them into the form..and let it harden…she used it for cleaning and laundry…go figure…thats one I havent run across just yet. My mother had a mesh like say spring bulbs would come in..she put all the extra pieces of soap in it and used it as a scrubby.
    My grandmother and my older aunt were awesome at sewing…they would put the cloth down cut it out without a pattern..put it together and it fit. I can remember as a little girl…maybe 6 or 7 my grandmother cut two dresses out for me…they were the old fashioned type with long sleeves slightly higher collars and the skirts that when you whirled about they would puff out. I still have both of them put away…I played in those dressup dresses till I just couldnt fit.
    I think a breather washer and centrifuge are great things. I have a couple of books..that show how to rig a man powered washer with a bycyle frame…would certainly keep one fit.
    I have been canning..mainly water bath canning for some years I have a pressure canner…but still just a little leary…but I do believe that times are gonna come to a place where I may have no choice but to confront that fear.
    Theres so many things to share…that I experienced growing up…does anyone or did anyone every have the experience of picking spring greens…such as polk…thats a smell cooking that no one

  122. rose says

    randi .. whats an earth oven? .. just curious ..
    carmen.. i, too, am looking for a used working wringer washer .. hehee πŸ˜€ .. i found something on .. it was a wringer washer but u did it by hand (of course they have the electric wringer washers too but both are soo expensive .. ) . , πŸ˜€

  123. Melissa says

    If anyone is interested in a centrifuge, look up “Spin dryer.” I got mine at with free shipping. It’s electric, yes, but the cycle to remove the water from clothes is literally ONE MINUTE. It beats hand-squeezing, and is far more efficient. The water is collected in a basin (that you provide), and is reused (in my home, anyway) for toilet flushing. If anyone is interested in seeing one in action, it’s on Youtube. Seeing one work is what convinced me to buy it: up until then it was very inefficient hand-squeezing. The unit is about the size of a tall kitchen garbage can and is easy to store. My laundry dries very quickly this way, and it doesn’t drip, so if it’s raining I can hang clothes inside.

  124. rose says

    i saw a few things on you tube about washing clothes without using the electricity ..
    you can take a 5 gal bucket with a lid .. drill a hole in the lid and then “plunge” the clothes with a plunger (with holes in it) .. you can get one of those breather/rapid washers .. (i was finally able to see one of those .. adn i have seen them online at ..
    one man took a container (that u can get at walmart for like $5 (its one of those huge containers in a square shape) .. and drill 2 holes on the sides and then add some pvc pipes (he said he used 11 with the elbows ot hold in place) and the pipe on the bottom that goes back and forth has air in them to let the air blow thru (or something like that) ..
    my fav was the one that was made by a firefighter in saudia arabia .. looked like a gargage can that was bolted to this thing that when u filled up the clothes with soap and water, you rolled it around and around *like a washer does in the machine* and then with it was time to drain the water you would switch out the lids to to drain the water …
    and for squeezing the water out .. most ideas that were listed said to get a mop bucket with a ringer on it .. use that .. if u dont want to spend money on a wringer that u can attach to something .. (those wringers can be very costly) ..
    thanks for posting about the centrifuges .. i will have to look that up on you tube melissa ..
    hubby says even tho we have a washing machine that works for now .. we should still be backed up with something bc u never know if we might lose electricity from something (like the hurricane season or bad storm or bc i still wash a few things by hand bc i dont feel like fussing wiht the washer) ..
    my washer isnt hooked up at the wall .. i have to have the water added by a reg hose from the side of the house and well when i drain the water goes on the ground (which is a no-no here) but i do this bc the septic is soooo old (its as old as the house which is over 30 yrs old) .. so i am very careful about hte septic .. its rather a hassle to do all of that adn just was a few items .. sometimes i think its just easier to just wash a few items and let it drip dry …
    less aggravation if u ask me ..
    i normally wait until i have a bunch to wash and hten deal with the washing machine ..
    sorry .. very foggy at the moment .. still dealing about the dog ..

  125. rose says

    i took a 2 hr nap and feel alot better .. still have my headache .. and i do apologize if i do not sound like i am making any sense ..
    hopefully everyone is ok πŸ˜€

  126. barb~ says

    I read a good idea for small pieces of leftover soap. Cut off one leg of a panty hose, or use a knee high for this trick. Stick the pieces of soap down in the toe of the hose, and then tie the leg around an outside faucet. Kids and adults can wash hands right there!! Pretty cool, huh?

  127. trixie says

    rose – do you have your septic tank drained on a regular basis? We have ours done every two to three years. As long as you do that you should be able to use your washer and have it drain into the septic tank with no problem at all. It keeps the system healthier and helps prevent those breakdowns where you end up with effluent all over your yard and have to pay thousands and thousands of dollars to replace the septic tank. It’s usually less than $200 and takes the guy only an hour or so to do. They come in with a truck and suck the stuff out, then hose the tank down really well and check for cracks in the tank and all.

  128. Carmen says

    Rose,I love the ideas on the washers..amazing what youtube has done for us…lol I ve thought about making one on the big barrel scale…using a plastic food grade barrel..and and extension on my ld use breather washer…like the ones you would use to extend the handle on a roller for painting. My breather washer is a plastic one that the end unscrews..did plastic due to rust.
    I can completely understand about the septic system. The house I live in is about 110 years old…when we moved in..the septic was the old barrel in the ground kind. Our house was one of the first in the community to have indoor plumbing and electric. Also, the first to have heating that wasnt wood…in floor furnace..I am very very glad that thing is
    Barb Like the left over soap idea…I think I will use that one for my little one…would be easier for him to handle. Hope all have a good weekend..all be safe.

  129. rose says

    yes .. everyone be safe this weekend ..
    i love this little “community” where we can all come together (thank you for the internet) and “socialize” and learn from one another ..

  130. rose says

    trixie . this is a rental house i am in .. and its the septic that came with the house ..
    it was going when we moved in here in 2004 and well .. we have it drained every 2 yrs whether it needs it or not .. and take very good care of the septic (we have always lived in houses with a septic) .. and u r right .. if u drain them and take care of them like u should . then u shouldnt have any issues .. but unfortunately .. the many many other tenants that were here b4 us, didnt ..
    the landlord knows we do this and knows why .. and bc he cant afford to replace it (which one day he will have to) .. he is thankful that we are good tenants .. and that we pay our rent on time and are never late either ..
    but u r right .. take care of the septic and it will last a long long time ..

  131. rose says

    carmen .. hubby likes the idea of having things to do that doesnt use electricity .. such as the barrel washing machine .. not only do you get a nice workout .. but its a nice change of pace and you save money too ..

  132. says


  133. Carol says

    What a great article. My kids are just as bad as the rest of this generation. Everytime a new electronic gadget comes out they have to have it. I’m am glad they can afford it but I wish they would think about the earth and the waste we put into it, for their children’s sake. School will start soon and I hate seeing our school busses three quarters empty because parents can’t trust their children to get themselves to school or are afraid something will happen to them while they wait for the bus. Yes there are alot of bad people out there who would love to do bad things to your child. Or it’s too cold or it’s raining, or it’s too windy for them to stand outside and wait for the bus. Balogna, where I lived as a child some mornings would be 15 below but I was expected to stand out to wait for the bus cause my widowed mother had to go to work to support us and didn’t have time to take us to school. We don’t teach our children responsibility anymore. It’s their right but also their responsibilty to go to school, the only thing in life they will ever get for free besides our ending love.
    If you aren’t going to use the busses then let’s put an end to them and save the big tax dollars we pay to run them and the polution in the air. Do a neighborhood carpool to take the kids to school instead of every parent starting up their car and driving to school. Less traffic on the road and less polutents in the air.
    Reuse those plastic bags. If I have to buy a bottle of water for some reason I take it home and refill it and place it in the fridge. Grab it for the next time you run out of the house. Or mark them with your kids initials and keep them in the fridge for them to drink from and reuse over and over. Do each of our children really need a cell phone? Every school has a phone in the office for them to use in emergency. I can maybe see it if your child actually has to walk to and from school, for emergency sake. My kids make fun of me because I keep a cell phone for years and I don’t replace it just because the battery goes bad. You can buy replacement batteries dirt cheap on the internet. The commercials keep telling us to buy energy efficient fridges and washers and dryers because they use less energy and water than your old one, but what happens to that old appliance, it goes to the landfill. More polutents in the environment.
    We need to become responsible for the damage we are doing to this wonderful planet we live on. We are only here for a short time. I pray that my grandchildren and great-grandchildren will have a clean planet to live on.
    God bless you for what you do on this website and God bless America.

  134. Maggie says

    My grandmom took in laundry (she loved to iron) and would wash the clothes in a wringer washer, dry them on the line and then dip the cotton ones – dress shirts, trousers, dresses – in liquid starch, roll them up and wrap 5-10 things in a large towel and put them in the bottom of her refrigerator. Starch is a vegetable she used to tell us so the clothes can get mildew on them if left out in the heat. When she took them out to iron them, she used that little metal cap with the holes for sprinkling the clothes because a little water reactivates the starch and things looked crisp when ironed. My grandmom did not have air-conditioning – only a large fan that she set to blow on her while she ironed. She used to listen to the one radio in her house – her afternoon stories – while she ironed. This was a hard job and I think she made 10 cents a shirt and 20 cents for grown up dresses. She probably did the wash for 5 or more families. I am so glad I have an automatic washer and dryer and don’t miss starching and ironing every week. There are some wonderful appliances and new-fangled things available to us now and we just have to use them judiciously. I try to talk to my neighbors, walk to where I want to go when I can, and only buy the groceries that I need and will cook. Green, to me, just means to do the best I can to take care of my part of the world. If we each do that, the world can only get better.

  135. Maggie says

    I forgot to say how much I enjoyed reading these posts today. So many memories came back. Lots of us shared the same experiences.
    My immediate family was very poor and I can remember that my grandmom lived near a factory that made jersey material. She made all our undergarments with scraps from that factory. I mean, for my mom and us girls. Also, there was a grainery there and my great-grandmom used the feedsacks to make the most lucious quilts, kitchen towels and other household cloths. We were proud to have the homemade things. We couldn’t wait for school to start every year because we got a new dress or outfit from grandmom with the feedsack and/or jersey. Life was hard but don’t think we really knew it. There was not the media telling us everyday that life was hard.

  136. Rose says

    Wonderful write up. If I can add one more, if it was broken they fixed it. From sewing buttons on a shirt, to fixing the car, they took care of what they had and made it last a long time.

  137. Wilma Seville says

    This article made me chuckle. We old folks have always known how to save things and use them again and again.

    I can remember my Mom saving string, baking two or three things at a time in the oven – thus conserving energy.

    Not to mention growing their own vegetables in a victory garden during the war.

    Oh yes, all these new ideas have already been in effect for us old folks for longer than the young folks have been alive!

    Thanks for the good laugh.

  138. says

    Ya, we had reusable containers back then, instead of a grocery bag we had a market basket. I still have my mothers. We also canned almost all of our food, therefore saving the can for next year instead of throwing it away. Ya, I still can lots of food. We didn’t throw or give away our clothes because they were out of style, we wore them until they wore out, and then we still saved the good parts, cut them into strips and made rugs out of them, or quilts. My daughter still has my mother’s crazy quilt made back in the 30’s. I could go on but I think I’m running out of room.

  139. Vicki says

    Yes – we lived with that and through that. However, our halos are not exactly blinding us with their brightness. We didn’t have any other choice. Plain and simple. We did things the way we were taught. Now – if you want to see some real heroes, have them live by our standards of the past!!!!!!! Those would be the folks worthy of praise. Every single one of us, however, has embraced the new stuff. So – don’t get too proud of yourself for how you lived back then.

  140. Annette says

    What a great article today! It looks like many, many others agree wholeheartedly with you. I just wanted to add my thanks!

  141. Cindy in NC says

    First of all, that store clerk needs to be told that the “older generation” that’s being referred to was not only “green” but was well schooled in manners and how to conduct yourself when waiting on customers in a store. I worked in retail to get through college (the kids in our family would blush at the thought of asking mom and dad to mortgage the house for our education). I was required to be polite, helpful, and never rude to my customers; back then you could lose your job for speaking to a customer like that. Secondly, I thank God that my parents were the kids of WWII and the depression days; they taught us to be saving and to live as frugally as possible. The store clerk mentioned here needs a lesson in manners AND history. You are all absolutely right when you say we are rapidly reaching a point in this country when we will once again have to struggle to survive. My mom always warned us that it would be like those days again and I can still hear her saying it when I turn on the news today. What bothers me is that will we be as helpful to each other as they were? Will this so-called “green generation” be able to work together as they did? It’s just a thought.

  142. Lorie says

    I never take the time to comment, but this is a topic that I am very passionate about. I couldn’t agree with you more! This is not a surprise and every answer that we seek is in the Bible……the environmentalism’s birth was foretold in Scripture. In Romans 1:19-25 Paul warned that when people reject their Creator, they will begin to worship created things, creation instead. Sadly, that is exactly what is happening.

  143. Veronica says

    How true all these stories are. I have lived through it all and still do many things the “old fashioned” way.
    What concerns me the most is the loss of these old skills. I learned to do many things while at school and boast these days that there are few things I can’t fix. I bake in my toaster oven to save electricity and hang my laundry to dry except the towels.
    Some of the survivalist sites carry washing machines that are cranked by hand.
    If I had to wash by hand I would get a five gallon plastic bucket and a new toilet plunger and set them in the bath tub. If I had to dry inside I would put up a second shower rod and drip them right over the tub. I do use a line in the basement now in winter.Spin dryers were very common before automatic washing machines became widely available and spun the clothes very dry. I got my first washer after the birth of my first baby in 1969 and it was several more years before I had a dryer. cloth diapers were the norm in those days and I think four dozen lasted me through three babies.
    I did see a recipe somewhere for making liquid soap out of old scraps of bar soap but I can’t remember where it was.
    My grandma had a small metal wire basket with a long handle and dropped the soap scraps into that. When she washed dishes she swished this basket round in the hot water to make it soapy.

    • says

      I know I shouldn’t but I kind of laugh at some of the survival and emergency things they have out there. I wonder if they are thinking of a real emergency or just a time when they are with out all of their usual convenience things. They talk about in your emergency toiletry kit having shampoo, hair mousse, toothbrush, toothpaste. I guess the real emergencies I have been in things were so serious that making sure my daily grooming was in place was the least on my to do list of important things but how to get food for my kids and keep them warm was much more important. Not whether or not I brushed my teeth this morning. I guess to me a real survival situation is when you know to use what you have on hand only like a rag with a little salt on it to brush your teeth.

  144. Grixxly Bear Mom says

    One of my favorite posts. I feel sorry for young people. Everything is worthless, including their hearts and bodies so they share them with everyone, further undermining their self worth. Their parents are modeling the same behavior and don’t have the moral authority or wisdom to teach their children better. As I watch the family fall apart, I wonder where the world is going.

  145. Magda says

    About “How Wasteful the Older Generation was”. It was omitted that the older generation had a backup food supply growing in their backyards with a few chickens and/or rabbits, even though they might have moved to town/city. I admire the “wasteful older generation”!

  146. Alicia Webster says

    Amen, and I agree 100 %

    There are some valid points that the “greenies” have, but I have a real problem when inanimate objects are valued above human life. We need to value each other FIRST, and the rest will follow. When I see some college girl walk by a hungry homeless guy on her way to attend a protest in order to save a tree, it makes me sick to my stomach. Who is protesting on the behalf of the disregarded and undervalued ?

  147. Birgit Lehmann says

    Thank goodness in Germany we still don’t thow away plastic or glass bottles and now also cans. We give it back to the store and get 25 or 50 Cents (EURO) back for each. I was wondering in Canada that is says on the bottle you can bring it back to the store, but no one took it from me.

    I remember, when I was shopping on the market with my mother, we always had a basket with us for the groceries – no plastic. And nowadays I still use a basket or a trolley, because I walk to the store.
    Water I get right from the tap in a glas or bottle and mix it with sirup (as an ice cube or liquid) or just a sclice of lemon.

    Why do people need a mobil phone? We use to talk to each other when we will meet again or talk on the home phone. I still do.
    Some just said good bye to each other turning around an talk on the phone together. Is there something they would miss? I don’t think so.

    About TV: For years I used the black and white TV from my grandmother when she got a new Color TV. Then I bought this one I still have. It might be more than 25 years old and still works with satelite. I don’t think a new one will last that long without one repair and that because of a lightning hit somewhere nearby. (Toi toi toi).
    Today they usually last just as long as the waranty. Then you thow it away on the big big pile of other stuff which is made for a short life. – Better keep the old things as long as they live.

    We don’t need the green dot to live green.

  148. Mary says

    I loved this post! My grandparents were called pack rats by their children because they NEVER threw ANYTHING away. As a kid I remember I never needed to worry about having the correct supplies for school craft projects because I knew grandma had what I needed. I remember using pie pans for painting in the winter and in the summer they hung from post in the garden. I’ve tried to pass this on to my kids & grandkids but I failed with my kids.
    I looked on your page for FB but didn’t see this I’d love to share it.

  149. Barb says

    Great article – we didn’t have to be as “green” back then for all those reasons: returning bottles and cans, having one radio or T.V. in the house, walking more than driving because there was usually only one car, having respect for waste: not making more than we had to.

  150. LAC says

    And we DID take our own bags BACK to some grocery stores back then. In my home town we had a warehouse that sold discounted bread and other baked goods. My Dad would save the big box he would stock these items in and reuse it the following week (we were a family of 9) Also we had two grocery stores that paid you 5 cents for every grocery bag you reused (back then we didn’t have plastic bags but brown paper bags) And I remember when I was a kid those S & H Green Stamps you collected from filling up at the gas station or from the grocery stores after you purchased your groceries. You got so many stamps from whatever $$ amount you purchased. My older brother and sister and I were able to stick them in books that they came with when you filled a book with stamps you took it to a redemption center and got to pick out what you earned depending on how many stamps you got. My parents used these books of stamps to purchase things for their children. My sister was able to redeem her stamps for a sleeping bag that we used for our Girl Scout camping trip. But you know we just weren’t GREEN back then at all!

  151. LAC says

    I just wanted to add that I am putting on a Fall Festival in my own backyard this year because of the enormous prices of attending these events. Some are free but then you pay triple for picking your own pumpkins or buying from vendors so we are ditching it this year and opting for our own. I am so NOT GREEN for my generation that I have saved every plastic water bottle from this summer so I can make cute water bottle toys for my Grand kids. You fill them up with water and add food coloring or glitter to them or you can take small toys such as insects or those spider rings in them ect. whatever comes to your imagination and lightly glue around the inside of the tops of the bottle so the kiddos can’t open them up. The children have fun playing with these. Also I am making home made crafts and letting the children decorate Fall crafts for their home and for our party. I am also taking those square plastic ice-creme containers and twisting and gluing tissue paper on them and adding glitter to them to fancy them up and they can fill those buckets with some candy and small prizes at the Fall Festival (great idea if you are looking for a Halloween bucket and don’t want to pay for one you can decorate them anyway you want including putting stickers on them). I have been saving things ALL summer long and this weekend we will be making crafts and other decorations for our festival in October. I have been saving my milk jugs so we can have a game of bowling. I have been saving my cans so we can stack them and toss bean bags at them as well. I have all kinds of free craft ideas and printable s that I found on the internet including printable s for stuffed pumpkins and scare crows. We will also make our own big Scarecrow at a our Festival. There’s so many things that are “green” that anyone can do that are free if we take the time to recycle our stuff! I learned this from my childhood in school where budget’s didn’t cost the same as sending the Apollo Rocket to the moon! We really had a core curriculum where everyone left school knowing how to read and count and we didn’t even have a computer back then! There’s a song from my teen hood years oh yes…”It Aint Easy Being Green!” Thank You Kermit the Frog for teaching me all things GREEN!

  152. Barbara says

    I was raised to recycle in Girl Scouts and just continue but my husband of 30 years still thinks it is doubt as I recycle. this and that. I was also taught a verse as a kid, to reuse, redo, re whatever. I redo alot and revam p! Hope someone can finish this for me!…

  153. Barbara says

    I worked outside of my profession for a time and worked as a janitor. When people would move to another room, all their books, pens and other supplies were thrown out and got new ones!!! I was horified being told to throw away good items. I told my father to thich he said,
    “WE ARE NOW IN THR THROW AWAY GENERATION NOW!” He is right-sadly we are, we no longer give to others, second hand stores, helping less fortunate etc. Libraries don’t get books but thrown sway! trash it all! This hurts me and Yes I am proud to be a ‘pack rat! My husband just came hjome mid shift for a 1156 light bualb-I had it! Thank God!

  154. Angela says

    I have been trying to teach my family (husband included) that our new mindset needs to be “use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without” because there is so much waste in our culture and attitudes.

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