cff WASTE NOT WANT NOT | Simple and Serene Living


Thursday, April 23, 2020

Waste not want not. I remember my grandmother saying this to me when I was growing up. She was of Scottish descent and I think that contributed to her being thrifty. 

My mom told me how that thriftiness helped them during the depression and World War II. My grandmother collected dandelions from their backyard and made a wilted salad. They kept chickens for their eggs and later when those chickens didn't produce anymore they ended up as Sunday dinner. 

She and my grandfather would take my mom and her brother out into the countryside to pick wildflowers to add to the flower arrangements in their florist. 

They grew the rest of the flowers in their greenhouses. 

My grandmother made beautiful quilts and of course cooked all of their meals while also working in their business. 

I think that sense of thriftiness was passed down to me, although I honestly can't say that that I have always adhered to it. I now realize I should have paid more attention to the things my grandmother taught me. I did listen to her advice to save my spare change and there have been times when I have needed that and was grateful for the advice.

Going through this pandemic has made me think more about the things I do and how wasteful our society has become. Back in the 1970s I was aware of climate change and knew we could not go down the path we were on forever. Somehow I lost sight of much of what I believed in when life got in the way. 

In recent years I have become more of an advocate for climate change and have tried to be less wasteful. Still, I indiscriminately used all of the paper products I wanted and I wasted food. 

I had made some changes, like using reusable bags for shopping. My daughter and son-in-law gave me mesh produce bags for the grocery and reusable storage bags to replace plastic bags in the refrigerator. 

Now I am trying hard to be more conscientious. I don't have my own washer and dryer, so I can't switch to using cloth napkins like I want, but I have a large stack of dishtowels to use, which has cut down on paper towels, and I am stretching TP out more. 

I am also being much more careful about food waste. My freezer is packed with leftovers and baked goods and Tuesday I used apples which were way past their prime to make homemade applesauce. It is so easy and I had forgotten just how good it tastes.

I hope when this pandemic finally ends that we will remember some of the lessons we have learned. I hope that we will never take the opportunity to hug our loved ones for granted again and I hope that we will remember to protect our earth by not indiscriminately using up its resources. 

Waste not want not. I'm working on it Grandmother. 


  1. What a lovely and helpful post! That red flower is gorgeous, the layers of petals so perfect. Yes, those who lived through the Depression tried to teach us how bad things could be, didn't they? I don't think we had any idea just how bad. I'm amazed at how creative they became. I just ordered a few more dish towels from Walmart yesterday to cut down on the paper towel usage myself.

  2. We have talked a lot about the changes we are making to adjust to this time. I'm using more kitchen towels instead of paper towels now and less on the TP! lol I know I'll hang on to a lot of these new thrifty ways too! Take care!

  3. I'm working on that also. Lovely flowers. May your day be a good one, filled with love, peace, joy and hope ~ FlowerLady

  4. Great post Laura. Your grandmother taught you well. I think you inherited the waste not with how you love to find vintage pieces to sell in your business. Others would toss away that history but you rescue it and re sell it to kindred spirits loving vintage things with history. I think this Shelter in Place and trying to get along with what we have since we are limited to shopping and going anywhere is helping. Already our air pollution has been cut down without cars out there right now. Mother earth needs this break too. Happy Thursday.

  5. How wonderful that more people are becoming aware of "Not to be Wasteful" as we have for so many years. We have been recycling for 20 years and are very proud. We re-use everything many times and recicle our paper napkin to use it from breakfast to lunch; all we do is turn it around.
    I do this for many, many years and only when we have guests do I take out my cloth napkins and usually I place a paper one in between them, just in case. Love the fresh garden flowers. I wonder what a salad would taste like ? Wise grandma you had.
    Thank you for hosting at this troubling times and thus, making us happy.
    Stay safe, healthy and happy.

  6. I'm sorry I thanked you for a party, but what happened is that my computer is going on and off, so after I came back to it I thought I was answering a party hostess, lol. Anyway, thank you for your comment, it sure made my day !

  7. I've become more thrifty as I've gotten older. Wisdom? Being more conscientious? I think I did learn some of that from my grandmother and mother, too. I'm confused why you can't change to cloth napkins because of not having your own washer and dryer. Can't you just throw the cloth napkins in with your other dirty laundry and do it all together wherever you do your laundry? We've used cloth napkins for about 15 years now.


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