Sometimes people try to argue that the point of gardening, making your own detergents and things is cheaper, and that's why we should do it. Or that it's healthier, and that's the point.
And those things are the point, but there's also something magic in not being branded, packaged and bought. There's something to being out of the loop and feeling self-sufficient.
Something about life is that pretty much everything can be bought, but that doesn't mean that it should.
I bake my own bread. You can read all about in a guest post I wrote for Good Cheap Eats, here.
I have a garden. I wrote about it, here. Growing food is interesting and fun. I love the learning curve. I love that, when I started, my results were pitiful, but that every year I get better and better. I love that I have an ongoing supply of lettuce and kale out in the yard. Gardening is also relaxing, like everybody says. It's also functional. It's all of those things, but mostly, it's important.
It's important to me that my kids know what food is and what food isn't. It isn't created out of chemicals and processed according to the study of what people biologically crave. It isn't mashed up and mixed with science and rearranged at the genetic level so that it can serve an economic function. It isn't business. It isn't a hassle or a chore. Food is life. We're obsessed with it because we need it to live, but we also need it to love ourselves, and to love being alive. There are even studies that show how dieting women are unhappy, how women who restrict their food are miserable.
The point of eating isn't carbs and protein and calories. The point of eating isn't mindlessly buying and stuffing as much food as we can into our bodies, like our bodies aren't connected to our happiness. The point of eating is being alive. The point of food is being a human being.
I make freezer jam and salsa so that we have farm and garden produce in the middle of winter.
I make our own laundry detergent. (This is an easy, good recipe.) I can't tell you how good it feels to stick it to Tide.
I even make my own deodorant. Chemicals in antiperspirant are found in an overwhelming number of samples of breast cancer tumors. Other chemicals have been linked to Altzheimer's disease. Plus, making my own is so easy. Here's how I do it:
Mix a few tablespoons of baking soda
with a few tablespoons of corn starch
with a few spoonfuls of coconut oil
and add a few drops of tea tree oil.
I sew clothing and stuffed animals and other things. This skill comes in handy when attempting to make gift holidays less commercial and plastic.
I make an all purpose cleaning product by putting dried citrus peels in a big bottle of vinegar. When I peel an orange, I just let the peels dry on the windowsill for a day or two, and then stuff them into the bottle. Vinegar kills bacteria, and kitchen smells like orange, and nobody has to be careful not to touch the counter until it dries so as not to get caustic chemicals on our skin.
Making these things on my own has definitely become a fun hobby. Educating myself about how shitty assholes are trying to sell me shitty products has also become a fun hobby. I definitely save money (and calories) by doing these things, but mostly, I feel good about myself. I feel like a grown up who can make my own choices. I feel like I'm not helpless. I'm not doing everything mindlessly and without intention, the way it can feel, sometimes, waking up every day to feed and dress and clean up after other people without tending to any of my own desires. I feel like not buying everything that can be bought helps me to be human.