Living for Free

Dumpster Diving – and Squatting, maybe

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The idea of stepping out and leaving everything behind like Katharine Hibbert, author of “Free: Adventures on the margins of a wasteful society”, did is definitely not something for the fainthearted and not for everyone.

That does not say that, even while keeping a job or being self-employed, whatever the case may be, and living in a home that you own or rent, you cannot adopt some of the ways and practices of this “marginal” living.

There are ways, I am sure, in which you can imitate and emulate the author of “Free”, even if going the whole hog may not be up your alley. It would not be up mine either, I hasten to add.

You do not have to go the “whole hog” but you can still implement a fair number of those ideas without dropping out and living in a squat.

Even living an otherwise more or less ordinary life in a home you own or that you rent many of what those that live an alternative lifestyle do can be made use.

In the 1970s and 1980s it was fashionable for younger people to furnish their homes with furniture from dumpsters and by making use of many other things discarded with which to furnish your home and many a car seat became an easy chair, for instance.

Also in decades before this tine and during it this was standard practice and desks were made, for instance, from orange crates, then still real nice wood, and doors.

This was, in fact, a great way to make use of those things that otherwise would be sent into the waste stream and would, inevitably, end up in landfill sites, and those desks were real good.

The truth is that I wish that I'd still have mine from those days. It was better and sturdier than many of the ones that I have had after that and have today.

There are a multitude of ways that you can employ to lessen your impact on Mother Earth and your wallet, and you do not – necessarily – have to live in a squat to do it.

Freeganism, where possible, is not, nor should it be, the exclusive domain of squatters and living in a home you own or rent should not exclude you from participation in this environmentally beneficial activity.

During the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, nigh on every student's home was furnished from things salvaged from dumpsters and reused or upcycled.

Car seats became easy chairs, milk crates seats, pallets to beds, etc., and this is still possible today in a home that you own or rent as much as in a squat.

Let's see whether we cannot change things this way and really make a difference by challenging consumerism.

Copyright © 2010