Daily Non-Consumerism

by Katy on October 2, 2015 · 24 comments

Life goes on at Casa Wolk-Stanley, even while the other end of the state aches and mourns their losses. I remember thinking on September 11th that it really didn’t matter whether or not I switched the laundry. But of course it did. My little boys needed clean pajamas, and in their world, this mattered as much as anything else. They needed the safety and security that comes from routine, and I guess I did as well.

I didn’t get a lot done yesterday, as it was hard to step away from the computer with its up to date news on the Umpqua Community College shooting. But my messy dining room table and soiled towels weren’t going to take care of themselves, so today I wrote out a long to-do list, pulled on my big girl pants and got to work.

  • I fixed a school lunch for my son. (A 33¢ Grocery Outlet yogurt, a PB&J and carrots.)
  • I swapped my pajama pants for jeans so I could batch errands and bought two 12-packs of 100% recycled content toilet paper from Trader Joe’s after dropping my son at school. I drank a tiny free coffee and bought nothing else. I glanced through the cute 99¢ greeting cards with the thought that I need to put my son’s gift certificates in the mail for his birthday, but instead decided to make my own card. I already own everything I need for a homemade card, which saves me 99¢. From the parking lot asphalt I pick up a pony-tail holder and a nickel.
  • I added the $9.98 I spent on toilet paper into EveryDollar.com as part of my October budget. (I’ve budgeted $400 for a month of groceries, which includes toiletries.)
  • I recall last night’s phone conversation with my older son, where he complained about having to pay $80 for access to a website to submit his math homework. I reminded him that he is to pay for his own college books and expenses. We chat for a bit and it’s good to hear his strong young voice.
  • I noticed the elderly people who troll 39th Avenue looking for edible chestnuts, and remember that there’s an edible chestnut tree in my neighborhood that no one seems to visit. I post something on The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group asking for tips on home roasting.
  • I wrote out a check to my mother. We borrowed $1000 from her in the Spring, as we didn’t have quite enough cash on hand to pay for our Prius. We’d already paid back half of it, but were waiting until tuition was sent in to pay the rest. She kept saying that we didn’t need to worry about paying it back, but I don’t want to be that kind of daughter.

The rest of my to-do list includes:

  • Figure out dinner. (Oven fried chicken with mashed potatoes and peas?)
  • Floss/brush/shower. (I’m sure to floss when I put it on the to-do list.)
  • Mop all the hardwood floors.
  • Relist Craigslist listings.
  • Water the plants.
  • Wash the towels.

You know . . . the activities of daily life. My non-consumer life. I’m scheduled to work all weekend, so I want to leave the house in order. To gift the comfort of order and routine to my husband and younger son. I may not be able to undo senseless violence, but I can make sure everyone has clean pajamas.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Brenda October 2, 2015 at 11:12 am

You made me tear up with that last part! It is true, though. Sometimes the drudgery of laundry, cooking, cleaning seem so incredibly boring and I think I’ll scream if I have to do it one more time, but then I step back and think that it is really an honor or be able to do these things for my family. Not every child has a clean house, a home cooked meal, and clean clothes. If I look at it this way, it doesn’t seem so dreaded any more. I also have to think how fortunate I am to have a spouse that values what I do in the home to make it a home, and to have a career where I can work part time. Some moms would love to have this arrangement, so I have to remind myself how privileged I am! Laundry, here I come!


Katy October 2, 2015 at 11:32 am

Well said, Brenda.


Elizabeth B October 3, 2015 at 11:29 pm

This is a lovely perspective; thank you for sharing it.


Sarah October 2, 2015 at 11:22 am

Thank you for this post. My productivity hit a wall yesterday when I read the news from Roseburg. Today is a new day and my littles need comfort and a familiar routine.


Bobbi October 2, 2015 at 11:34 am

Thanks for this, Katy. It helped. I live in Portland too, with one daughter in college and one in high school. The UCC massacre has me reeling, like most other people.


K D October 2, 2015 at 11:42 am

Thank you for this today, it is worth the reminder that the job of the living is to go on living, while we continue to pray that the craziness ends.

Made my husband lunch

Showered and brushed my teeth

Attended a yoga class

Helped a new friend with delivering meals for Meals on Wheels.

Sent a note to a friend in rehab.

Attended a volunteer thank you lunch.

I still need to:

Use very ripe bananas

Start a load of laundry

Figure out how to get a walk in on this cold and very rainy day.


Betty Winslow October 2, 2015 at 11:53 am

When life has knocked you down and sat on you, getting up and doing the next thing, one at a time, will help you keep going.


Kim from Philadelphia October 2, 2015 at 12:05 pm

I have such a difficult time moving past senseless tragedy- yesterday’s shooting being just the most recent. People should be save in their homes, schools, and churches, if no place else. Violence that happens in a “safe haven” is especially difficult for me to process.
Like you said- we continue to offer our loved ones security and consistency- as best we can manage. Small acts of love, even when it’s preparing a meal or making home a comfortable place- make a difference. I wish I could wrap up those suffering families in a healing balm- but all I can offer is compassion and prayers for healing- as best they can heal from such tragedy.


A. Marie October 2, 2015 at 12:18 pm

What *really* bothers me about the current series of shootings is that they’re so frequent now they’re starting to get blurred in the public mind–unless, of course, you happened to be there for one of them. I’ve got a good friend who teaches at Delta State and was holding a class in the next building over from the shooting there. Lockdown, SWAT team, the whole nine yards. And now it seems that everyone except those who were present has already forgotten that one. We should not and MUST not forget. “Attention must be paid.”

Meanwhile, as you say, we nonconsumerists continue to hang laundry, make minestrone out of leftovers and late garden veggies (which is what I’m doing at the moment for therapy), and do what we can to hang on to a bit of order in the midst of chaos. It may seem like not much, but it’s as much as any of us can do, it appears.


debra October 2, 2015 at 12:52 pm

As a psych nurse, i wait with trepidation the shooter’s stats- mental illness, bizarre behavior, prior acts.
As a mom I’m glad my DIL is doing online classes.
As a human in an increasingly inhumane world, i cry for the tragedy and senselessness of it all.
As a pragmatist, i dry my tears and continue my work- this weekend taking care of my 81 year old mom; then back to work on Sunday.


Greta October 2, 2015 at 1:36 pm



tonya October 2, 2015 at 2:57 pm

Great post, Katy.


Anne October 2, 2015 at 3:52 pm

Katy, has it occurred to you that at the rate you are finding pony tail holders on the ground, that soon you might well have the market cornered? All the people who were not careful with their holders will find that have to turn to you to purchase the ability to keep hair out of their eyes.

Think of the power. Think of the money. Think of all the tuition that can be paid off. (Insert evil laugh here, that I do not know how to spell.)


Beth October 2, 2015 at 4:05 pm

Great post Katy and a gentle reminder to me to find the time to make our home a priority, things are way out of control and lately the bare minimum is all I have been able to do. My daughter and I deserve a home we enjoy living in and it will also bring us comfort to come home to a safe, warm, cozy place when the world is not.


Diane October 3, 2015 at 4:19 am

Times like this give me great pause and then I found this quote:

“So what can we do?

We can love ourselves, love our friends, our families, and put positivity out into the world. Every day is an opportunity to be a living example of the world you want to live in.”

I posted it on my facebook and received and angry reply from someone that said this just wasn’t enough anymore. Well, it’s enough for me. It’s all I can really do in my small way to make the world a better place. I have to live on a very personal level, given my circumstances. And I do believe small efforts have a ripple effect in the world.

My heart goes out to all Oregonians.


Monica October 3, 2015 at 6:43 am

If everyone conciously took these small steps with each other each day, the world would slowly become a better place to live in.


tami October 3, 2015 at 10:15 am

Katy – Can you talk a bit about Everydollar.com and why you use it? Did you compare it to other apps/sites and what do you like about it?


Katy October 5, 2015 at 1:24 pm

I did not compare it to other sites. I am a full believer in jumping right into the deep end without overthinking decisions. (“Paralysis of the analysis” when over thinking means nothing gets done!) It was free so I had nothing to lose.


Vickie October 3, 2015 at 3:49 pm

I agree. Everyone has made good points, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

I had lunch with a friend yesterday. She had a coupon for an appetizer at our favorite BBQ place, so we ate that and I had a salad. Brought the leftovers home and at that for dinner.
Today I left for church but didn’t make it. My tire lost tread, so I drove over to my neighbors house, spent four hours watching the O.U. game, eating pizza and having fun with him, his daughter and son-in-law. He & his SIL changed my tire for me and I came on home around 3:30.
I took the dogs for a walk, vacuumed the living-room, stripped the bed and washed the sheets and now I’m enjoying a break before I put the next load in the washer.
The weather is beautiful this weekend and I’m going to treasure my time at home.


Sherry October 4, 2015 at 11:31 am

Your last paragraph is beautiful. What a lovely statement about caring for the family you love.


Katy October 5, 2015 at 1:13 pm

Thank you.


Isabelle October 4, 2015 at 3:36 pm

As the saying goes : “Life goes on”, with all that implies (small and big tasks). That said, for a lot of people, and their families, life stopped a couple days ago… This is a reminder to be grateful, everyday, to still be alive and to have my little girls with me. I never take this for granted.


MamaMinou October 4, 2015 at 5:59 pm

I came to Portland with my husband and we walked the marathon together today to celebrate 20 years of marriage and being in it for ” the long haul”. We were moved by the number of walkers and runnerswearing signs of support for UCC.

Not an exceptionally frugal outing because of entrance fees and a hotel, but we are keeping costs down by having groceries from home and post-marathon giveaway snacks for dinner. Plus, we are both too sore to walk anywhere and do anything that involves spending.


Rose October 9, 2015 at 7:39 am

My grandfather worked for Georgia Pacific paper mill – all of their toilet paper is made from recycled material as it’s cheaper for them to source than wood fiber is 🙂 (they sell Angel Soft and Quilted Norther, but I know they are the source for many store brands as well). Hopefully that helps save a little bit more of your budget.


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