Growing an Indoor Jungle with Freecycle
Since moving house in December, we’ve been slowly working out how best to arrange our things, put our own mark on the place and make everything cosy. The moving process inevitably sapped us of money, but fortunately I am a HUGE lover of all things second-hand. An afternoon spent wandering around charity shops and bric-a-brac stores is my idea of heaven, especially because it’s such an ethical way of finding the things you need. Nothing beats the Four R’s - Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - and buying second-hand is an amazing way to find local treasures that might otherwise go to landfill.
For our new house, I’ve managed to find a beautiful collection of second-hand furniture, including the loveliest antique cabinet to store my cards and zines in! Freecycle has also been incredibly useful - if you haven’t heard of it before, it’s a UK-based online forum where you can find things for free in your local area. Rather than throwing away an item when it’s no longer needed, it can be posted on Freecycle and find a new place to be useful.
One of the things I’ve always tried to surround myself with is house plants - they brighten up any room, freshen the air and generally feel healthy to be around - plus they look cool. Flick through a Habitat catalogue and every corner is filled with a snazzy succulent. I won’t have the money for shopping in Habitat for several decades, but that’s ok - second-hand is so much better! One afternoon I posted a little ‘Wanted’ note in my local Freecycle group for house plants. ‘Any plants will do!’ I wrote, ‘The more, the better!’ I received loads of generous replies to my message from Freecyclers all over town, each one offering me boxes of beautiful plants that had outgrown their old homes. I tootled off in the Skoda to collect my treasure trove, and by the time I had returned, repotted a few and found a space for them all, our house had completely transformed into a 1960s-bungalow-jungle.
When there’s something you want or need, it’s so easy to give into consumer culture and buy things instantly to gratify our desires. It’s not our fault we do this - our capitalist society has brainwashed us into thinking we can improve our happiness through buying new things, even though we know it’s just a short-lived thrill. The excitement fades, something new catches our eye, and we scuttle off to buy something else - just as we are told to do. Since embracing minimalism I’ve started to analyse my relationship with the world around me, taking note of how my actions effect the environment and other people. If you fancy reducing your demand on the planet’s resources and making use of what is already in your local community, I really recommend joining your local Freecycle group - there may be the odd bit of junk on there, but I’ve gained an entire jungle of preloved plants without spending a penny!