Words about contentment inspired this series that celebrates ingenuity, creativity, and resourcefulness. Join me in the comments and share what you've done with what you have!
When the season's first camping trip is in the works, and all the things are pulled from their tucked-away places and spread out so you can see, it's a good time to take stock and take note. For all the time you spend traveling and setting up camp for a few days or even just overnight, you want to make sure you've got what you need. Fresh air and beautiful scenery won't do much for comfort if you realize, come nightfall, that something important is missing. Some things need washing, some things need organizing, some things may need replacing. But hang on. Before you hop online or run out to the nearest sporting goods store, let your first instinct be to use what you have. Exercise the make-do muscle. Can your things be repaired? Can you do without? Do you already have another option that you haven't thought of? In other words, do you really need that new thing in order for this trip to happen?
Sometimes, the answer is yes. And when it is, there you have an opportunity to do a bit of research, educating yourself on what's out there, what fits your aesthetic, what's ethically made, what will last a lifetime.
But if you realize that you could pull this trip off without a single purchase, all the better. Here's how I'm using what we have on this weekend's trip:
+ One day, this cooler. Right now, the one we have, with frozen half-gallon cartons of milk as ice packs. Did you know milk thaws much slower than water or the solution found in commercial ice packs? True. It will keep your ordinary coolers cold longer, and when it does thaw, you can drink the milk!
+ Except for chocolate bars and marshmallows, I'm combing the freezer, larder, refrigerator, and my neighbor's garden and using the food we already have. On the menu: pancakes & quiche, chicken salad, broccoli salad, roulades, ribs & baked potatoes, brats, kraut & hot dogs.
+ Vintage pillow cases on our pillows (we'll leave the white ones at home) - I've snagged them at thrift stores over the years for just this reason. No need for separate camp pillows.
+ We'll take our motley crew of camp chairs to set up around the campfire, as well as the vintage canvas cot. While a hammock is nice, we serendipitously discovered while camping last year how much we like having the cot to lie on next to the fire in the evening, or under the blue sky during the day, no trees required. And, um, lookes like that cot will be put on the 'to be cleaned' list today! #ohnellie
Do what you can with what you have.