I Am No Island

by Katy on April 29, 2010 · 9 comments

Sometimes I feel as if my non-consumer writings are a bit of a sham. This is because so much of what I’m able to do is based on living in a community where others are constantly helping me out. Not in a poor Katy sort of way, but as part of a general sense of everyone helping each other out.

There’s no way I could do what I do if I didn’t have friends and family to depend on.

For example, today my mother will be bringing her truck over and together we’re going to haul the eight 5-gallon buckets of used oil motor sludge to the hazardous waste dump. (The previous owners of this house had been dumping their used motor oil into the basement sump pump.) And when I stopped by my mother’s house this morning and asked her if she had any extra nice fabric storage bins, she did! (Thanks Mom!)

My mother is an almost never ending source of doo-dads and thingamajigs, plus the woman loves a project and was the sole investigator of free stones for our backyard project.

However, I help her out too. I’m her guest cottage cleaning service, as well as her bossy professional organizer. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve been her airport limo service and I always offer to be the one to host big family gatherings.

I use my mother as an example, but only because she’s such a good example. My family provides vacation cat sitting services for the neighbors, and they in turn make their spice cupboards available to me for last minute cumin emergencies. My friend Sasha has given me her old furniture, and in turn, I have given her plants, quilts, vintage tablecloths, a lampshade and probably some other stuff as well.

My point here is that if I didn’t have friends and family, there simply no way I could live the frugal and Compact friendly life that I do.

It’s the community that surrounds us that makes it all possible.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Melissa April 29, 2010 at 4:27 pm

This is totally true. I know I can call on my neighborhood “wing moms” to help get my kid to school, and they can call on me, too. And my sister loves to babysit the kids, and she’s the first person we ask when we have something to give away.


Jay April 29, 2010 at 5:12 pm

I’d say the phrase, ‘it takes a village’ applies to a lot of things outside of raising children. At least if you want to do things well!


Katy April 29, 2010 at 6:19 pm


Sometimes I feel like it takes a village to do anything around here!



Kristen@TheFrugalGirl April 30, 2010 at 2:23 am

I so agree! I’m big on doing things myself and relying on myself, but the long and short of it is that I also love community. For me, this community consists of my biological family, my church family, and my community.


Carol April 30, 2010 at 6:54 am

I think that’s really much of the heart of trying to live a simpler life-style – no one can do it all. The reason we developed a monetary system in the first place was to have a method of exchange for the goods and services we needed (but couldn’t provide for ourselves) vis-a-vis the goods and services we could provide in more abundance than we ourselves needed. To make these same exchanges without currency trading hands is far simpler and creates and binds community. It also consumes less, because everyone does not have to have the pickup truck, the roto-tiller, the full compliment of tools, the sewing machine, the bread maker, etc. And in the final analysis, we need community for the sake of community as much or more as we need the support each other can provide in living a simpler life. As Barbra Streisand sang in Funny Girl – “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world!”


Karen @ Abundance on a Dime April 30, 2010 at 7:19 am

I think you can build a satisfying, supportive community wherever you are. I’m truly blessed to have fantastic neighbours and we help each other out a lot. We pass around kids’ clothes, etc to whoever has kids younger than us. Everyone knows who has the big extension ladder, who has the snowblower, etc and we share with each other as needed. One of the older ladies on our block is the official “pet sitter” when families go away on vacation.
The other night I discovered my yogurt maker had bit the dust mid-batch, and knocked on doors all down the street to see if anyone had a heating pad I could borrow (another method for incubating yogurt). No one had one, but everyone was interested in the fact that I make my own yogurt, and some people wanted me to teach them how to do it, too – and thus another frugal living skill will be passed through the neighbourhood 🙂


Jane April 30, 2010 at 8:08 pm

Not a sham at all – there is so much good in relying on community rather than currency. It is much better to be swapping services, passing on used goods, borrowing things from our neighbours. It’s a shame so much of this has been lost, but good to see it coming back within simple living circles.


Mary Anne May 1, 2010 at 7:46 am

So glad to see your appreciation for others in print; I have been troubled by your ‘we don’t eat out’ posture when it is really your sons and husband that don’t eat out. You ‘let’ your parents take you out, no wonder you don’t resent ‘not eating out’…. you still do!


Katy May 1, 2010 at 8:35 am

Mary Anne,

Trouble not. My husbands and son get a lovely meal prepared for them seven nights a week. (Okay, my husband cooks dinner occasionally) And I would trade the occasional lunch with my parents for that kind of sweet deal any day of the week. 😉



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