Non-Consumer Mish-Mash — CreatiVE Problem Solving & A Washington D.C. Meetup!

by Katy on March 20, 2014 · 15 comments

eBay globe

It’s time for another Non-Consumer Mish-Mash, where I write a little bit about this and a little bit about that.

The Luxury of Time Allows For Creative Problem Solving

It may seem as if I’m able to come up with frugal hacks without batting an eye, but that’s simply not the case. Each wheel that I invent requires lengthy periods of watching The Walking Dead, contemplation and rumination. (Okay, okay, maybe I’m not always inventing the wheel, but some days sure feel like it.)

Two recent examples come to mind.

I just sold a uber-cool vintage black globe on eBay. I normally try and stay away from selling large items, as they’re a pain in the tuchus to ship, but I figured the relative lightness of the globe would negate the size. Of course, I didn’t have a big enough box in my packaging stash. Resignedly, I realized I would have to buy a box, so I took some measurements and began walking to The UPS Store in my neighborhood. Halfway there I decided I would check at the art supply store where my son works to see if they could spare a big ol’ box. They did have one, and although it was big, it was too short to fit the globe.

I brought it home anyway.

I recut and re-bent the box until it met my needs, and then I taped it within an inch of its life. Not pretty, but it was functional, zero waste and free. (To buy a box would have been around five bucks!)

My other example is shoe related. I’m somehow currently down to just a couple pair of shoes, which normally is a non-issue as last time I checked I’m only able to wear one pair of shoes at a time. However, I specifically lack non-boots, no-sandals, non-sneakers, which is a problem for our upcoming trip to the east coast. I’ve been trolling the thrift shops, but since I wear a size-10, the supply is limited.

I was perusing the shoe racks at Goodwill today when I realized that I could just wear my work shoes, which are black patent leather Danskos. (After first wiping them down with antiseptic wipes. Shoes from a labor and delivery unit are, umm . . . body-fluid-tastic.)

Bam. Done. Problem solved!

Both of these non-consumer challenges took time to figure out. I had the answers all along, but they took awhile to float to the surface. If I were to buy stuff the second I realized a need, there would be no time for creative problem solving.

Give it time, people. Give it time.

Washington D.C. Meetup!

I have arranged a Washington D.C. meetup for Non-Consumer Advocate readers at the Library of Congress for Tuesday, March 25th at 10:45 A.M. We will meet at the main information desk next to the entrance security. This is all thanks to “Katie” who is a blog reader, and Library of Congress docent. She’ll be giving us our own personal tour!

Please let me know if you’re able to attend, so I can have a sense of how many people to anticipate.

Meet me *and* my teenagers who are likely to be both bored and embarrassed!

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Jackie March 20, 2014 at 8:55 am

My recent frugal hack involves a suit for nursing job interviews. Living in Austin, working as a nurse and a doula I don’t have much need for fancy business clothes. However my sister (a CPA) and my mother (high school principle) both wear suits weekly. I was able to borrow a complete outfit including dress shoes for free! My only expense was $5 for some new stockings! It just took some planning on my part and not running to Macy’s in desperation.


Deborah C Williams March 20, 2014 at 10:38 am

I live in VA and wish I could get to DC to wee you!! Enjoy your trip to the east!! Just a reminder of what Jackie posted we should always try to borrow things before buying. My sister has to attend a wadding for her stepdaughter in October and she is borro. wing a dress from me complete with shoes and jewelry that I wore at my daughters wedding. I have had two daughters marry so she had choice of two outfits and it is on her husbands side of the family so nobody has seen these outfits before! How often do we wear things like this and I kept them for that reason because we are the same size. I used the same neutral colored shoes for both my daughters weddings. I am a nurse also so I think using your work shoes is smart as they are already comfy and broke in for walking!!


Diane C March 20, 2014 at 10:44 am

Ooh, an insider’s peek at the LOC! Color me green with envy. I know you will love it. Thanks to “Katie” for being so nice…


Maureen March 20, 2014 at 12:14 pm

This is about my favorite of all your tips. One reason, is that it not only challenges me, but I’ve put the challenge to my family, also. Give it time and come up with a better solution than running out and buying. They are all excited about this. Challenges like this don’t feel like deprivation, instead it’s an exciting, fun game. Great post!


Deborah C. Williams March 20, 2014 at 9:07 pm

Wish I could see you in DC as I am in VA…enjoy the trip east. I agree with Jackie about borrowing people used to do this all the time!! My sisters stepdaughter is getting married and she is borrowing a dress from me for the wedding as I have two daughters who have married hence two dresses only worn once. I also have the shoes and jewelry..I wore the same neutral pumps and jewelry for both and would hardly ever wear these anywhere again. I am a nurse also and I don t think you could have found a better pair of tourist walking shoes than your already comfy/broken in nursing shoes!!


Martha March 21, 2014 at 4:42 am

Oh – I wish I could meet you in DC. I only live 2 hours away!!! Have a great time!!!


Lisa March 21, 2014 at 7:49 am

Your comment on body fluid tastic cracked me up…my husband did exactly one delivery as a resident in tennis shoes…which then hit the garbage…before the wipable clogs were purchased. They were expensive but they do last a long time! His are on year 13!


Katy March 21, 2014 at 10:52 am

Our providers always wear booties that come up to the knee and tuck under a gown for this very reason.



Maureen March 21, 2014 at 11:07 am

Yesterday, I made a reply,m tried to upload a number of times and as Very often happens, it never posts. I’m hoping this will eventually, because I think it may be true for others, we’re reading and trying to comment but they’re not posting. Yesterdays was a favorite post, my family feels up to the exciting challenge of waiting… to come up with great alternative solutions. It feels like a game instead of deprivation. Thanks!


Bree March 21, 2014 at 2:26 pm

Just for future reference, if you need a decent sized box at a better price, Home Depot has small moving boxes for around a dollar that would fit something like the globe. Much more reasonable pricing than shipping places!


Jo@simplybeingmum March 21, 2014 at 11:50 pm

There’s always a way round everything. I believe the more you flex your flexibility/creative muscle in the brain, the easier it comes.

I adore the black globe!

Enjoy your meet up. I’d love to pop along, but I can’t figure out how to get 3,500 miles without paying £500 for a plane ticket 🙂 Have Fun!


Jo@simplybeingmum March 21, 2014 at 11:52 pm

Still keeping my eye out for that teleporter.


Tracy Stone March 22, 2014 at 10:22 am

You need a Tardis.


Shelagh March 25, 2014 at 3:00 am

Thinking of you as you head to your DC meetup today – as a fan and a librarian,I wish I could be there! Living in Ontario, I didn’t think our paths would ever come close to crossing, but we drove by DC 48 hours ago,on our way back from visiting family in the US. Got the chance to visit Mecca (LOC) last year, so I have an idea of the treat you’re in for today – hope it’s a great event!


Maureen March 26, 2014 at 5:15 pm

I’ve been trying to post a comment every day since the 20th hoping one will actually post, 1st because I LOVED your thoughts on waiting and it’s a challenge my whole family is excited about, trying to find an alternative to buying new….and waiting for the lightbulb if needed. 2nd because I wanted you to know I often have a problem with posting comments and maybe theres more like me, reading, enjoying, but not able to get through with comments.


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