Waste Not, Want Not in a Throw-Away World August 12, 2014 14:47
Unlike us modern urban homesteaders, our homesteading forebears didn't live in a consumer society. They didn't have the range of specialized products and fancy gadgets that we have available now. For having to make do with what they had, they were probably more creative about solving problems.
Here are two problems I've run into recently: what to do with those ratty old t-shirts that are too gross to donate; and, needing to stake my overgrown tomato plants. A proper member of consumer society should throw away the former and buy some kind of ties or tape marketed specifically for use with the latter. However, the frugal homesteader will see at once that these problems cancel each other out.
The t-shirts can be cut into strips to be used as plant ties instead of being thrown away. Then, not only are the t-shirts not wasted, but there's no additional waste from manufacturing and transporting goods that are unnecessary. Don't get me wrong: lots of consumer goods are wonderful for bringing convenience and ease to the hobbies of self-sufficiency, and many of them are absolutely necessary, but plant ties are not.
In fact, t-shirt strips make the best plant ties I've used. They're soft so they don't bruise or damage tender young plants and they're flexible so they stretch as the plant grows. Furthermore, if your t-shirts are 100% cotton, then your plant ties will be 100% biodegradable!
I look forward to sharing more savvy tips for creative homesteading in future posts!