Tuesday, March 8, 2011

8 March 1957 “Being Green 1950’s Style: or Common Sense”

solar article 2solar article 1I wanted to share this article again. It is from one of my 1940’s magazines discussing the importance of using the sun to aid in heating. It was written during the war years when we were more conscious of money and spending and saving.

I thought I’d just share a few things that were fairly normal in the past that would be considered green today. Really, just common sense and with the thought of thrift and the future. This idea of ‘saving’ or thinking ahead or even planning for the future often seems an alien idea in modern society.

earlyamericanglass[3]Many people of old saved their glass jars. When one purchased something, it was often washed out and used again. If you were poor or furgal enough, there were many jam jars used as water glasses. In the 1950’s they even packaged things in a specifically reusable package.

Though many things were kept and repurposed rather than thrown out. And almost nothing came in plastic, so a good reusable sturdy glass jar with a good lid was valued.

cinnamonshaker1Here is a vintage spice jar I use to hold my cinnamon sugar. I was surprised to see one can buy throwaway plastic containers of pre-mixed cinnamon sugar. Now, that’s pretty lazy to not be able to scoop your cinnamon and sugar together and give a little shake.  glassjars Here are some modern uses of glass jars. jarsshelf  This lovely craft rooms takes advantage of old rulers as decoration and it is still a usable measure, if one holds things such as fabric up to it.

You can also unify jars by painting the lids a single color, making varying sizes and shapes ‘go together’. Also it is easy enough to make up vintage labels for these using vintage clip art or old cards and magazines. Such as this clever crafter did here using old vintage button cards as labels.buttonjars


 50sfamilyatdinnerSomething as simple as using cloth/linen napkins saves so much waste and saves on the pocket book as well. I use a napkin more than once and they all get laundered on Monday with my other things. I save money and make less garbage AND feel like my dinner is special. Here you can see mother has her cloth napkin on her lap.

clothnapkins Vintage napkins are so beautiful and really come in so many forms are are SO inexpensive, why not try it out.tealfolkteatowel  Even vintage tea towels/kitchen towels are far prettier and can still be used to wipe hands in the kitchen in lieu of napkins. I use old tattered bath towels cut down and hemmed as my ‘hard duty’ wipe up kitchen towels. It is even better if they are white because they bleach easily enough or come clean if put in boiling water with some soda and left to soak overnight.

womanatsink Did you know that boiling water converts baking soda to sodium carbonate? Why do you care? Well, it’s a great old-fashioned way to clean out the drain: Put One cup of baking soda down the drain and then pour Three cups of boiling water after. This is a great drain cleaner. draincleanerad Though many pre-made products were available in the 1950’s many a frugal homemaker knew these ‘old’ tricks from Mother or Grandmother, or gleaned their skills at the now vanished Home Economics classes.

womanwashinghair Washing your hair in the sink was a very standard procedure in the 1950’s. In fact, the old joke was to get out of a date one would say, “Oh, I can’t go out tonight, I am staying in and washing my hair”.  A 10 minute shower uses between 25-50 gallons of water (depending on shower head which ranges from 2.5-5 gallons per minute). Consider how a once a week bath was replaced by daily showering and hair washing.

It actually is better for you hair not to be washed daily. If your hair is more oil, 2-3 times a week is better. I have ‘normal’ hair, in that I wash my hair usually Friday night and set it for the week. When I shower during the week (some days I simply do a ‘sink wash’) I wear a shower cap. This would have been the more usual water consumption in the 1950’s household.

There are so many easy things we can do to live a more vintage life and in so doing have the happy by-product of ‘being green’ or, as they called it, Common sense and purse sense. After all a penny saved IS a penny earned.

Check your pantry/cupboards now and see if you have product that is ready to be emptied and see if the jar/container could be used for another purpose than the garbage.

Happy Homemaking.

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