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-   -   How simply do you live? (https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=163801)

Nightshade 03-22-08 04:39 PM

Dumpster foods are all to often just outdated by the date code.
There is not one thing wrong with them if found daily and cooked
or cooled.

America throws away food when we have starving people here
at home due to crazy laws that once ment well but now just
generate waste by the ton.

To cut our food bill I have an arrangment with the local grocery
to call me if they have food go out of date to buy at MUCH reduced
price. I either store/freeze the foods or deliver them to our local
poor pantry. I often get still sealed lunch meat or other cuts
for pennies on the dollar. The store writes off the loss and the
food stay outta the landfill.

As an example.....
Most states forbid the sharing of all food that resturants don't
sell but was fresh cooked near the end of the day. There is
more than one soup kitchen for the poor that would welcome
this bounty that is now legal "garbage" .

Amrican's are so, so very wasteful. :(:(

Machka 03-22-08 07:41 PM

In 2004, I packed, sold, tossed, and gave away all my stuff. I got rid of about half of what I owned then ... and I haven't really added to it (a few textbooks and a few articles of clothing).

My remaining stuff has been in storage since then.

I currently live in two small rooms on the weekend, and 1 room during the week ... in two different cities. I will be down to one place again in a month's time.

And, over the next year, I will be working on getting rid of at least half of my remaining stuff. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it all, but I'll figure it out as I go.

Stuff can be very imprisoning, and although it can hurt to let stuff go, it is very freeing.


BTW - about food ... I can feed myself quite well for about $20/week, buying from the grocery store. That's not bad at all. :)

politicalgeek 03-23-08 09:02 AM

Fun reading through the 17 pages or so. I am in the process of simplifying to my own ideal. My roommate and I are getting to that stage of going our own way and are looking for our own places come fall. I already have a goal of being car free by September, when I would move into my new place, but I want to be as uncluttered as much as possible.

I found a great place in the right location yesterday. Other than a restriction on keeping bikes in the storage/laundry room (out of my apartment) it seems perfect. A small bedroom and a living room/kitchen. I would love to find a good source for the real Japanese style futons and tatami. I love that idea for making the small bedroom as multi-purpose as possible.

C Law 03-24-08 01:07 PM

I don't get how eating discarded food equates to living simply.

politicalgeek 03-24-08 05:51 PM

It depends on the definition. "Dumpster diving" is quite popular in some areas. If your particular philosophy of living simply is to reduce materialism, be frugal and resourceful with what is immediately available, then it could be simple living. Different strokes for different folks.

christina.h 03-25-08 07:04 PM

As far as dumpstering food goes, I have personally been doing it since high school and it is now a large part of both my life and my husband's. I have never gotten ill, because I have never gotten lazy with it! you wash what you find and live by the motto: when in doubt, compost it! (not as catchy as when in doubt throw it out, but hey whatever.)

And C Law, living simply has a different meaning for every person, but this is how "dumpster diving" factors in for us: Our grocery bill has dropped dramatically and when food we have goes bad and ends up in the compost, we don't fret over wasted money. Additionally, because most of what we get is produce, our packaging waste is drastically reduced as well. It removes a lot of plastic from the equation. It also essentially eliminates any need to "work out" because we expend calories on the way to pick up calories. Works out really nicely.

Back to living simply: We haven't gotten rid of our car because we have 6 goats, a bunch of hens and 2 large land tortoises. We require the car to move them all when and if they need moving. I actually don't know how to drive (never learned) so my husband drives and I am complicit. That said, I still use my bike + trailer to go get things like goat feed (50 lbs a bag) and hay bales (100 lbs a bale) enthusiastically. If I could haul my goat ladies with my bike I certainly would, but I can't see how that would happen. Fortunately, our vet is within walking distance and I can just walk them there. If anyone has any ideas about ways to transport the livestock I would love to hear them! good to see so many people committed to simplifying their lives.

seagull.apollo 03-25-08 08:11 PM


Originally Posted by C Law (Post 6395574)
I don't get how eating discarded food equates to living simply.

Simple living to me means salvaging what other people throw away so that things that have already been made aren't wasted. What's your idea of simple living?

Roody 03-25-08 08:28 PM


Originally Posted by christina.h (Post 6404232)
As far as dumpstering food goes, I have personally been doing it since high school and it is now a large part of both my life and my husband's. I have never gotten ill, because I have never gotten lazy with it! you wash what you find and live by the motto: when in doubt, compost it! (not as catchy as when in doubt throw it out, but hey whatever.)

And C Law, living simply has a different meaning for every person, but this is how "dumpster diving" factors in for us: Our grocery bill has dropped dramatically and when food we have goes bad and ends up in the compost, we don't fret over wasted money. Additionally, because most of what we get is produce, our packaging waste is drastically reduced as well. It removes a lot of plastic from the equation. It also essentially eliminates any need to "work out" because we expend calories on the way to pick up calories. Works out really nicely.

Back to living simply: We haven't gotten rid of our car because we have 6 goats, a bunch of hens and 2 large land tortoises. We require the car to move them all when and if they need moving. I actually don't know how to drive (never learned) so my husband drives and I am complicit. That said, I still use my bike + trailer to go get things like goat feed (50 lbs a bag) and hay bales (100 lbs a bale) enthusiastically. If I could haul my goat ladies with my bike I certainly would, but I can't see how that would happen. Fortunately, our vet is within walking distance and I can just walk them there. If anyone has any ideas about ways to transport the livestock I would love to hear them! good to see so many people committed to simplifying their lives.

Welcome to the forum, christina. :)

It sounds like your lifestyle is an interesting mix of agriculture + hunting/gathering. I admire you for jockeying those bales on your bike trailer. What kind of trailer do you have?

As for moving those critters, tie a leash on them and let them trot behind the bike! Just go slow with the tortoises is my only advice. :D That's a joke, but here's a true story. A co-worker asked me how I got my Thanksgiving turkey home on the bike and I told her it ran along behind me. Her jaw dropped--she really believed me. She asked me if I chopped its head off with an axe! But in your case, I suspect it might be true!

:roflmao:

Roody 03-25-08 08:33 PM


Originally Posted by seagull.apollo (Post 6404645)
Simple living to me means salvaging what other people throw away so that things that have already been made aren't wasted. What's your idea of simple living?

Welcome to you also, seagull.apollo. :)

I like your user name. Is there a story or a myth that goes with it?

I don't salvage food, wouldn't even know how to do it. But to me it's another way of practicing frugality, which is certainly part of living simply. (Maybe the main part?) When you're frugal, you use less energy attaining physical things, so you have more energy for creativity, spirituality, charity, activism, or whatever you believe is more worthy of your energy.

Or maybe you just spend a lot of time on an internet forum. :D

Newspaperguy 03-25-08 11:00 PM

I don't feel the need to do the dumpster diving thing at this point in my life. My food bills are quite modest. I use the bulk foods store for beans and other dry foods and I try to buy fruits and vegetables in season. At times, I've had a small garden as well. Since I don't eat much meat, I can save a lot of money that way. In fall, I do a fair amount of canning so I'm set for the winter.

If my circumstances were to change dramatically, I'd have no problem with dumpster diving.

cutman 03-26-08 10:21 AM


Originally Posted by Tightwad (Post 6386160)
To cut our food bill I have an arrangment with the local grocery
to call me if they have food go out of date to buy at MUCH reduced
price. I either store/freeze the foods or deliver them to our local
poor pantry. I often get still sealed lunch meat or other cuts
for pennies on the dollar. The store writes off the loss and the
food stay outta the landfill.

My girlfriend works at a transitional homeless shelter and they get all sorts of expired food from a local specialty/natural grocery (like a smaller, independent Whole Foods). Problem is, a lot of what they donate (DeCecco pasta, Wasa crackers, Nature's Path cereals, ) the shelter's clients won't eat, so she takes it home. Works for me -- that stuff's delicious and expensive.

Nightshade 03-26-08 10:49 AM

I was talking about the fresh cooked food that all resturants have
at the end of their business day. THOSE foods ,in my state, must
be dumped. One local resturant used to feed the poor in my small
town one meal (a big one!) a day until the state stopped them.
Seems it's ok to sell food but not give it away. Go figure.........

seagull.apollo 03-26-08 12:03 PM


Originally Posted by Roody (Post 6404777)
Welcome to you also, seagull.apollo. :)

I like your user name. Is there a story or a myth that goes with it?

I don't salvage food, wouldn't even know how to do it. But to me it's another way of practicing frugality, which is certainly part of living simply. (Maybe the main part?) When you're frugal, you use less energy attaining physical things, so you have more energy for creativity, spirituality, charity, activism, or whatever you believe is more worthy of your energy.

Or maybe you just spend a lot of time on an internet forum. :D

Apollo as far as Greek gods went was a bit of Renaissance Man and I've always liked the idea of people doing everything themselves. However, I only started researching him after I made the name. The reason I chose this handle is because "seagull.apollo" is really just an abstract of Victoria. You can go for miles around here and see nothing but seagulls and Apollos and seagulls on Apollos.

As far as dumpstering and frugalty goes, exactly. Less spending on food and other goods means less work, and work throughout my life has always been associated with a lack of writing and reading and thinking. If you're tired all the time, or already feel as if you've done your bit for the day then you're less inclined to sit down with pen and paper and more inclined to waste time on the internet.

C Law 03-26-08 12:28 PM


Originally Posted by seagull.apollo (Post 6404645)
Simple living to me means salvaging what other people throw away so that things that have already been made aren't wasted. What's your idea of simple living?

I guess I am very spoiled regarding food.

I live and work, with my wife and family, on a fruit orchard in New York. We barter with other local farmers or buy pretty much all our food from local farmers, including meat, etc..

no packaging, except wooden boxes that are reused, jars for canning and preserves which are reused, and plastic bags to freeze the meat we get from slaughtering a cow every year, and to freeze a variety of fruits and vegetables.

Our farm is very much a for profit enterprise though, so we also have money to go buy items at the local grocery. When the need arises, I find purchasing food at the local grocery or market much simpler than rummaging through the refuse. that is just me though.

Simpler in this context for me means less time procuring food. I know you need to work in order produce income to buy the food, but producing income to buy food is the least of my concerns as it is about the most inexpensive item in my budget.

I applaud your effort at reducing packaging waste though. It is crazy. Packaging is out of control.

christina.h 03-26-08 05:49 PM

C Law, I am jealous! I also see how your definition makes sense given your lifestyle and family. Less time procuring food=more time with family/ to do leisure stuff. I guess that is where our definitions of simple living diverge. See, to me, a simpler lifestyle means spending more time on simpler things. Sounds like you have sort of my ideal lifestyle, so stuff like dumpstering would only complicate your life.

Though I know it doesn't sound like it what with my livestock, I actually live in the city. Also I am 20 years old, newly married, and poor, so buying local is infrequently cheap. The demand for local artisan food in Portland has allowed the farmers at the farmers market to charge much more for their produce and I just can't afford it on a barista/mechanic's pay.

Oh and Rudy, I have this leggero brand trailer that my bosses at the bike shop gave me as a wedding gift. look here for an article: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2005...ro_shopper.php
It folds into an upright shopping cart for the store. I use the frame only when hauling heavy stuff and old bike tubes as "bungee cords". These are never in short supply, as we pay our mortgage by renting out rooms in our house and each person in the house has at least 2 bikes.

GreenPremier 04-03-08 11:52 AM

My problem is that I'm a drummer/guitar player. So I've got 2 sets of drums, electronic and acoustic. I also have an electric guitar, half stack, etc. Also have recording gear. I have too much stuff...I don't like it, hate it in fact, I'd love to live that much more simply by not having to have so much crap. I like the idea of only using books from the library, sometimes the book you want isn't there, that's annoying.
I don't have a car or credit card. Just don't want to justify buying something with money I don't have with a credit card, that's how almost everyone gets into debt these days...

I admire that some of you guys can live so simply and minimalistic.

swwhite 04-03-08 07:50 PM

Thank you all, this has been quite inspirational. It made me think back to about 35 years ago when I still lived at home about 120 miles from the large city where I now live. I had made arrangements to live in the big city, so I sent on ahead two suitcases of clothes by Greyhound bus, mounted my bicycle with one backpack, and rode out of town to "seek my fortune" in the city. Now I have no fortune, but I do have a house cluttered with an unbelievable amount of stuff, and I wonder how it happened.

I can answer why simple living starts with getting rid of stuff, or being smart enough not to accumulate it in the first place. There have been many times where we have had company, or some event that required cleaning up a bit, perhaps on a weekend, and after it was all over we looked back on that period of time and realize that we spent most of it just moving stuff from one place in our house to another. After realization, and inspiration, perhaps can come some action, and I'll be joining you.

enjoi07 04-11-08 12:34 PM


Originally Posted by seagull.apollo (Post 6359549)
Now I get probably about 3/4 of my food from the trash

yea thats pretty gross.

jan nikolajsen 04-13-08 10:29 AM

we certainly are no angels. our cars see far more use than they should, although i am drifting towards pedal powered transportation.

we built own own cabin and live rurally. here's a website i put together, explaining a little about being off-the-grid and so on:

http://coyotecottage.com/

pic is of my bike, a cannondale bought in chamonix, france, in 1988 and biked back to denmark. when i emmigrated to the US it got boxed up and flew with me. it has literally thousands of miles on it.

http://coyotecottage.com/images/bike.jpg

seagull.apollo 04-14-08 11:43 AM


Originally Posted by enjoi07 (Post 6502799)
yea thats pretty gross.

How so? I eat food that's no worse than the food that you eat, I simply got it at D-Mart instead of Walmart. Every single person I've ever taken out with me has been appalled at the amount of food that needlessly goes to waste. It's bad, really. You should try going diving one time and then tell me it's gross, instead of telling it to me from behind your computer when you've obviously never been in your life.

ThisFormIHold 04-15-08 11:24 AM

i love this thread.

apollo, i'm really interested in dumpster diving. enlighten us all how you go about it. do you just hit grocery store dumpsters after hours? any pointers, tips, things to look out for?

thanks.

Nycycle 04-15-08 07:29 PM

No Mold................

seagull.apollo 04-16-08 02:14 PM


Originally Posted by ThisFormIHold (Post 6522540)
i love this thread.

apollo, i'm really interested in dumpster diving. enlighten us all how you go about it. do you just hit grocery store dumpsters after hours? any pointers, tips, things to look out for?

thanks.

Okay, here's how to do it:

1.) Roll in packs. Get a friend or two until you've gone out once or twice. Just makes things easier and less scary if you're in a rough part of town or don't like police.

2.) Hit grocery stores after hours. Big lame chain stores usually have compactors, but those can be worked around (see 4a.) However, just go for your local organic market yuppie store, because they have the best food and the highest quality control.

3.) Scout the area. Look for no trespassing signs or obvious barricades (fences, gates) around the dumpster. It's only trespassing if those are in place (in British Columbia at least). Most of the time cops don't give a **** anyways, unless you're in some small town or happen across a particularly upright member of the constabulary.

4.) Get on up. Wear clothes you don't care about and gumboots or whatever if you've got them. No matter how careful you are you will get dirty (absolutely guaranteed). One person into the dumpster handing out bags to the people on the ground. Watch for guns, needles and other urban myths. People on the ground split the bags, search them for edible food and move them to the 'discard' pile, which will later be thrown back into the dumpster.

4a.) Compact. Most of the time compactors are locked (bad) but when they're not you will get more food than you've ever dreamed could be thrown out (good). You absolutely need a partner for compactor runs, and you can never do them during the day. You can die inside these things so don't be stupid. Same deal as the standard dumpster though, one goes in (you'll need a light; it's dark) and the other one sorts outside).

5.) Clean machine. After you have sorted put everything back in the dumpster that was in it and clean the area up. I'm not trying to be lame here; you need to protect your and everyone else's interests because the store will lock the bin if you make too much of a mess.

6.) Go home, enjoy delicious food that cost nothing and was saved from the landfill.


Stuff to take:

Bad clothes.
Light.
Friend(s).
Knife (seems to come in handy)

Stuff to avoid:

The goddamn meat bag.
Puffed out packages (HELLO FOOD POISONING)
Large lots of highly perishable goods (there's got to be something wrong)

Generally just use your intuition as far as taking things. If it was sitting in your own fridge and you wouldn't eat it then avoid it here too. You'll start out super cautious (no produce, only heavily packaged things) but after a while you'll work your way up the garbage chain (still frozen seafood). What else? I think that's about it. Get in there and get some good food. Every night is like Easter or something.

Oh, and...

Originally Posted by Nycycle (Post 6525644)
No Mold................

GOOD CALL.

Roody 04-16-08 02:30 PM

If you're not ready for dumpster diving, go to the farmer's market at closing time and make offers on perishable food. A lot of times it won't keep another day, or the vendors just don't want to bother packing it up and taking it back to the farm. This won't be free (usually), but you can find some very good deals.

Another thing to ask for is imperfect produce. I've bought a half bushel of "sauce apples" for a dollar. They had bruises but were fine for cooking or canning. Ask for "windfalls" at farm stands too. These are fruits that fell off the tree. They don't look as good but taste fine. Also go to you-pick farms for cheaper produce.

robinthehippie 04-16-08 04:11 PM

This thread is awesome, nice to see so many like-minded people.

I'm an EMT. I don't make a whole lot of money. A lot of people I work with are stressed, burning themselves out on overtime, or having to quit because they can't afford to live. Most of these people live in houses in the suburbs, are paying off new cars, have nice TV's, cable, etc. Very few are actually trying to support a family, pay medical bills, or take care of unavoidable expenses like that.

I found a studio downtown, free WiFi is included in the rent. My friends come over and are amazed to see a single desk with my computer, a futon, a cat apartment, and my fridge in the living room. Not much else. I don't own a car or a TV, thrift store shop almost exclusively on the rare occasion when I buy clothes or housewares, I'm a vegetarian although dairy products and eggs are rare splurges for me, I use Freecycle, and I reuse as much as I can as far as packaging or repurposing items. (I recycle too, but I don't have recycling at my building so it's an extra trip so I try to avoid buying or keeping things I'll have to drag to the recycling center later.)

It's easy to keep my house clean when I don't have a lot of things. Living within my means makes it possible for me to go on vacation when I need it (on my bike, of course!), go out with friends without worrying about my bank account, and spend money when I need to, like on a more reliable bike.


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