So the week after I began handing over my role as CEO of A Way Out charity, I also completed a purchase on a new house. Some people might have advised against going through two such major changes at the same time, and to be honest, I would probably agree with them. Particularly if the new house was a 1970’s throw back and every wall, floor, cupboard and light needed replacing and probably sending to a museum. But, this is what I did and on top of the extent of the work that needed to be done, I’d decided to make the house a project. (I am really good at making everything I do a project)
The house renovation project was named “My sustainable house.” The idea was that I could renovate my house without buying anything new. That I could source lights, curtains, carpets & even kitchens from second hand websites, skips, charity shops, peoples unwanted stuff, (you know those unused items in the garage that we all have) and car boot sales.
I had three main reasons for doing the project.
Number one, I think recycling is a pretty good thing and is a way of us all playing a small part in protecting the environment. If you don’t know already, all of our waste if not recycled goes into landfill. This eventually rots and gives off harmful methane gas which is really bad for the environment as it acts like a greenhouse, stopping heat from leaving the earth, too many of these gasses = climate change (Think floods, droughts & the ice caps melting) It’s getting worse and if something doesn’t change we will genuinely have destroyed the earth through consumption.
Number two, I think buying second hand is more ethical. I don’t really like putting money into greedy corporations hands. A lot of them steal from working people by not paying their taxes and therefore not contributing what they should into the fabric of our society. £55 Billion pounds a year is lost in tax avoidance in this country, to put this in perspective that is £53 billion more than we lose in benefit fraud. And alongside not paying tax, many big corporations use cheap labour in foreign countries which is often horrendous conditions and can involve child workers. (Think Primark factories in India) Whereas buying second hand can help local charities and even put money back into our local economy, so it’s a no brainer really.
Reason number three, I didn’t have a massive budget. I had £15,000 to renovate the whole house and although I could get credit to buy things on the never, never (as my Grandma would call it) this is also something I don’t really believe in. Debt is expensive and its hard to get rid of. I consider debt similar to the wood rot I found recently in my house. It’s there under the surface destroying the foundations of our homes, but is nicely covered up by carpets & stuff; it’s only when the rot gets so bad and the floor starts falling in, we realise we are in trouble; that we have a massive problem that’s going to be very hard to get rid of. I’ve worked with people who had debt problems and it is a very depressing situation; it brings a lot of misery and is significantly adding to the poverty that many people are finding themselves in, in 2014. So, even though I would love a nice house, full of beautiful things, I decided getting into debt wasn’t worth it.
And so this is how “my sustainable house” was born. I’ll be sharing stories from the project over the coming months so make sure you subscribe to my blog see if I achieved my aim and hear some of the amazing stories how I tried to renovate my house with second hand stuff