As the biggest challenge the world has faced in my lifetime played out, my role was to stay home. With no medical expertise and no link to the food supply chain beyond end consumer, I was officially “non-essential”. While hard- working and clever people around the world heroically used all their energy to combat coronavirus, I sat home and did nothing. Immensely grateful, and not unused to free-riding, I felt useless.
Now the medical emergency is subsiding (at least here in New Zealand), attention is turning to the economic crisis left in its wake. Coronavirus exposed not only the fragility of human health, but the fragility of global consumer capitalism. While combating the virus was the domain of the essential few, resuscitating the economy is something we will all be called upon to do.
I expect the call to be loud and relentless, casting wanton consumerism as an act of pure heroism. Remember what it was like during the Global Financial Crisis? It’ll have nothing on this. And primed by boredom and survivors’ guilt, we’ll be more ready to respond to the call than ever before.
But before you start dutifully clicking “add to cart” at every opportunity, take a breath. Don’t leave yourself at the mercy of advertisers and their plans for your money. Make a plan of your own.
You’ve probably seen the meme: “Turn all your clothes hangers backwards. Whenever you wear something, turn the hanger the right way. In six months/a year, donate every piece of clothing still hanging on a backwards hanger”.
I know you’ve probably seen this because my mum told me about it. My test for viral is if my mum knows about it. Anyhow, she was very enthusiastic about giving this a try. I didn’t want to rain on her parade, but I don’t think it’s very good decluttering advice.
This meme is a simple and catchy application of the “do I use it?” approach to decluttering. There are two reasons why I think focusing solely on “do I use it?” isn’t helpful.
In an attempt to avoid trips to the supermarket, I’ve signed up for a fruit and veggie box delivery. Delivery day (Tuesday) is quickly becoming the highlight of the week. I used to get a fruit and veggie box years ago, but found it challenging to make the best use of it and ended up wasting a fair bit. This time, I want to do better.
For the last few years, I’ve focused on reducing my food waste. This includes keeping a food waste diary, which I post as part of #foodwastefriday on Instagram. Over the years, I’ve shared lots of ideas on how to make food last longer and reduce waste. I’ve gone through my archives and put together some of my most popular tips.
Life in lockdown – it’s been just over a week and we’re starting to fall into a bit of a routine. I’m finding it helpful to focus on all the things I can do, rather than the things I can’t. We’re very fortunate that our daily lives are relatively untouched. We’re not essential workers, we work mostly from home anyway, we still have work and our cosy little house in the sun. The beach is still right there and we can still go for a walk.
One thing that has changed, I can’t just nip to the shops and it’s a bit of a lottery as to what’s left when you get there (although I hear that’s calmed down). I’m trying to avoid going to the supermarket and that means making good use of what I’ve got in my pantry. It’s a bit like a month-long MasterChef mystery box challenge.
I’ve always been good at working with whatever’s in the cupboard, but it isn’t so much fun when I HAVE to do it. It took me a while to adapt to the new normal, but I’ve found my groove and I’m quite enjoying it. Finding some inspiration online definitely helped. Here’s a roundup of resources that I’ve found useful and you might too.