A short announcement: our computer died an unexpected and untimely death. I do hope my husband will be able to revive it somehow, or at least to retrieve the data from it - there are hundreds of photos, music and audio files, e-books and more, with no backup elsewhere. Anyway, until then, I won't have a regular internet access so I don't know if, when and how much I will be able to blog and/or answer emails.
Today, I'll answer a reader's question. Someone asked me how we get so much free furniture and other things. We love giving old things a new life in our home: I think we only have two items of furniture in our home that are new - our bed and the closet in our bedroom. A few more items were bought second-hand, and the rest we got for free. The result: we have a happy household that lacks nothing, and for very little money, too! All it takes is just a bit of creativity.
Look at stuff that people are throwing out. Yes, I mean things that are labeled "trash". Sometimes the items that are thrown out are in perfectly good condition. Just one example: a family in our village downsized their household by moving into a smaller home. As a result, they had quite a few bits of furniture they simply had nowhere to put. We got some free bookcases which I love, and a closet very cheaply.
Use your network. Don't be ashamed to let people know you will accept old furniture (or whatever it is that you need). Many will be more than happy to let you have items they no longer use, if you are willing to come and pick them up. Also, let your friends and family know what you are looking for. Who knows, maybe one of them will spot precisely what you need. Our fabulous dining set was noticed and reserved for us by my sister-in-law.
Join a website, forum, or group for swapping and recycling. In Israel, we have http://www.agora.co.il/, I know similar sites exist for other countries. Give away what you don't need anymore, and take what other people are giving away. During my years in the university, once in a while we had a day on campus when people would bring old clothes, books, jewelry, decorative items and more, and anyone could take what they wanted/needed.
Of course, passing items down and "inheriting" old items is much easier in close-knit communities. If you never say hello to your neighbours, how will you know they have a lovely antique-looking coffee table they want to give away because they bought a new one? Just one more reason why a strong community is good for you!
Be creative; look for stuff people are giving away. Give away what you don't need. Reuse, recycle, and restore. Fight consumerism.
I do hope to visit with you again soon, but I can't know for sure when it will happen. At least, if I disappear for a while, you will know why. Having no computer is a blessing in many ways, such as saving time and getting more done, but internet is a useful tool that allows me to research different topics and connect with friends easily. I will miss it until we have it back. I will certainly be back, though!