2013 – An Eco Thrifty Year in pictures (and words)!

Last year I decided to replace New Years Resolutions with New Years Reflections. You can read my reflections from last year here.  Instead of focusing on the things I haven’t done (which are many), I wanted to take a moment to remember and appreciate the things I have done during the year.

Sustainable gift wrap course

This year I have enjoyed looking back and remembering all the things that happened during 2013.  In a lot of ways it has been a year of adventures for me and my family (albeit stay at home ones mostly).

Before I get started on my reflections though I want to thank:

  • My husband for supporting me and not only putting up with what one close family member calls ‘all my crackpot ideas’, but also for spending a lot of time helping me with the blog. For helping with the design, the layout, any technical issues and with reading over lots of my articles and providing very helpful editorial advice before I publish them. I want to thank him also for becoming a contributor to my blog and writing some very interesting articles for me (if you are interested you can read them here,  here and  here).
  • Friends and family members who have also put up with my crackpot ideas and have supported me throughout the year. 
  • All those inspirational writers, bloggers and projects out there, that have motivated me to make so many of the changes I have made in my life, people like Westywrites, Jen Gale, Hattie Garlick, Jen and Grant of the Clean Bin Project, The Story of Stuff, Mark Boyle – the Moneyless Man, Becky from Babybudgeting, Rachelle Strauss, Karen Cannard, Cat Fletcher and countless others…
  • And of course all my lovely readers for reading and supporting the blog in 2013!

So here we go, this is my Eco Thrifty 2013!

I have met inspiring people:

I started up my I Quit Blog Fiesta and quit things like eating foods containing processed added sugar, wheat and my microwave.  After giving up sugar I have lost around 2 stone in weight, which I am really pleased about.

Then I decided to set myself a Year of Eco Challenges which you can read about here and and quit some more things:

  1. I went poo free again for a year this time! (read more here)
  2. I gave up shopping in supermarkets for 11 months (read more here)
  3. I decided to buying nothing new or secondhand for me for 10 months (read more here) 
  4. I decided to give something away every day for 9 months (read more here)
I also am preparing to give up single use plastic for Plastic Free July (www.plasticfreejuly.org), which is why there is a picture above of a chicken in a tub (read more here).
Without really specifically focussing on it, I realised that we were creating a lot less rubbish read about 15 ways we have managed to reduce our rubbish here). Since I wrote that article, I noticed that we are now only filling a wheely bin once a month (even with a student in the house as well), which I am really pleased about.
We decided to make the most of our underused space and possessions! We had a clear out and rented out part of our garage for storage and our spare room to foreign students (you can read about it here). These were quite big steps for my family as none of us had any experience of doing either and we weren’t sure if we would like it.  So far though it has been fine and we have been able to make money from things we simply weren’t using!
We got into Freegle and Freecycle and started off by receiving two scooters. One broke, but my kids are still using the other one…  We also got given a trampoline, a trampette and some loft insulation. Plus we were given a single bed, with mattress and a canvas wardrobe which were perfect for furnishing the room we decided to rent out to students! We also gave away some of our stuff via these sites too.
Getting into the free life we were also very happy to discover our local toy library (read more here) and I started to understand what life without money could really mean when I read The Moneyless Manifesto.
In the summer my husband grew lots of fruit and veg including:
  • camomile – being enjoyed by me daily in hot water,  
  • garlic for the first time – which we are still eating
  • jerusalem artichoke tubers, which we were given at a seedling swap in Preston Park in Brighton and had a good crop of them.  I have been enjoying them in stir fries and baked.
  • a variety of other things including some lovely homegrown salad
So in a lot of ways it has been a pretty busy year. People often ask me if I get bored ‘not working’ and I say not at all.  I have really enjoyed being a stay at home mum/ blogger and don’t feel that I have time to get bored! For me it has been a really good year. I hope it was for you too and that if it wasn’t, that 2014 is the year that everything works out really well for you!

Here’s to a great 2014 for us all!

I am currently undertaking a Year of Eco Challenges . If you have a moment I would really appreciate it if you would consider sponsoring me with an action on my DoNation page. Also if you liked this post please click like on Facebook and follow on Twitter – thanks so much!


  1. That's brilliant. Very inspiring. I have a husband who puts up with my crazy ideas too 😉 I'm currently experimenting with homemade shower gel, only my latest batch looks like bile so I may have to try again!

  2. Zoe

    Thanks Sandy. Good luck with the shower gel concocting! If it helps I've used olive oil soap or aloe vera gel straight from the plant instead of shower gel.

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