Our Frugal Lifestyle

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Passionate about eco-frugality. I used to party hard, clubbing my way from pay-packet to pay-packet. Never getting ahead, just getting by. Then came our much wanted baby with no savings in the bank - only an old car. Changes were made to our lifestyle and we didn't turn back. In the past 6yrs we purchased a flat, found employment, lived below our means, built an emergency fund, purchased a reliable car and saw the financial benefits of our frugal lifestyle. Our only debt is our mortgage. Our aim is to manage our cash flow wisely, pay off our home quickly and eventually work for pleasure, not necessity. Join us on our journey, share insights, tips and tricks to help us and others to get ahead while having a good time.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Hoarders Treasures

When my friend came around and told me of a house that a wonderful elderly eccentric and artistic man recently lived in was about to be demolished with all his collections, I had to go and see... before it all disappeared for another "glossy apartment block".

I put on my sturdy Doc Martens and took a nice big torch. And off I went with my old buddy from my teenage years. He, like I has become Eco-Frugal so a perfect partnership in foraging and hunting for treasures. I also hoped that I could get a glimpse of this interesting mans life.

We were bad - very bad... We secretly jumped the fence and searched through the house for a few hours. While we did so my emotions were mixed. I felt sadness for the invasion of privacy that and elderly man could no longer control. Anger and disgust at the system that had not respected this mans wishes. My heart was thumping with fear of rats jumping onto my face as I opened cupboard doors. And a HUGE ANGER that of all of this; will now go into LANDFILL! No sorting... no recycling... just bulldozed into large skip bins and tossed into the earth.

The gentleman who lived in the house was an interesting hoarder. There were books everywhere on art, philosophy, electronics, animals, countries, history, cultures and religions. His bathroom had toiletries from the 1960's. I found a pile of new American shoes, women's and men's from the 60's and 70's still in their original boxes, unworn. Vintage heaven but too damaged by the years of tropical weather to be wearable.

Letters and photos strewn on the floor. Clothes and fabric. Hundreds of broken watches and test tubes. He was a thinker, tinker and experimenter. My eyes told me he was a very interesting man and that I would have liked him. I kept a few small items but I was overwhelmed by it all. Now with a refreshed mind I wish I could go again and pick some parts off his old pushbikes that would have made our pushbikes more charming, quirky and original. I would love to look at his books again and salvage some of his letters. Mementos of him - but would that make me a hoarder?

I did gather a few small items in moments of calm when i wasn't overwhelmed with emotion and fear. Here is my list:
Dirty and scratched camera lenses from the 60s, 70's and 80's for The Rambling Expat.
"Cereal" toys from the 70's but far too damaged from the tropical heat.
A lovely small portrait photo of a lady in the 1950's and 2 other interesting photo's.
A cinema ticket for the Darwin Film Society in 1968 (which I should donate to a public institution that collects NT history).
I gathered 2 books from the 60s, 5 Aboriginal Flints, 1 fossil and a couple of old maps.

For my friend's wife who loves beautiful historical elegant things; I kept boxes of slide photographs, 2 boxes of artist pencils, a couple of art pads from the 1960's (gorgeous thick paper) and a vintage box of porcelain dishes filled with dried cracked Japanese inks. She is artistic and creative. So I thought she might use them.

Such an interesting adventure. I felt young again, taking risks, being naughty, breaking rules, spending quality time with my friend and celebrating a mans life. Best of all it made me reflect deeply about our lives, our interests and what we leave behind when we die.

Treasure or hoarding - it an interesting world we live in with many different people and their personal stories.

Stephanie @ Frugal Down Under.


  1. it's cold here, so I can see trucks full of fire wood! what a waste

  2. My buddy loves wood. So he salvaged a few special pieces to make things with.

  3. How interesting! To most people it would look like a pile of rubbish but to you treasure. Love your blog and the way you make me look at things from a different view.

  4. What a sad sight! A man's life into the landfill. I guess what got me emptying out my stuff was the thought that when we die what will happen to our precious treasures? So I started selling on ebay and now on Bonanza. I saw what happened when my MIL passed away. All her things, nobody really wanted.

  5. What a fantastic post. Such an insight into the way our lives unfold, how we treat others, sad and touching. My mother would have been right at home, getting right on in there, salvaging. Me too on a good day. I'm sure the old guy would appreciate some of his treasures being put to good use. I'm off to follow a minimalist path myself. Well, I'll try.
    Many thanks for your good wishes. Hoping your trip to France is groovy darling;)
    pamela xxx

  6. Just popped back to say have been thinking about this post all day today too. Really made me think about a lot of stuff (haha a lot of stuff!). Mainly about how my old man reminds me of that old man...or is it the other way round, sigh. A lot of sorting out to be done here.
    pamela xxx

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  9. I refuse to live without things I love because someday, someone, somewhere will not cherish them as I do. They are mine when I am here, and I will enjoy them. It looks like something actually happened in that house. Some of those rooms did not look like a hoarder's place, not a truly stacked up place. I suspect someone ransacked the place, looking for money or valuable items. I could be wrong.


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