Tuesday, September 21, 2010

It's the little things in life...

One of the things we're trying to do in our preparedness efforts is make sure we'll have clothing in the future.  To that end, I've been purchasing sheets from thrift stores in suitable colors and fabrics, with the idea of sewing shirts, dresses, skirts, leggings, etc.  Thrift-store sheets are unparalleled sources of large amounts of fabric for incredibly cheap prices.

I've been washing and bagging away cotton, cotton-poly blend, and flannel sheets as I find them.

Sheets are also superb (and inexpensive) fabric sources for kids to learn to sew.  I hate sewing but can do it in a pinch, and one of the things my girls and I are going to start doing is once-a-week sewing lessons.

I've also stocked up on pins, needles, and thread.  Can't forget these little essentials!

Another thing we've been thinking about is personal grooming, specifically razors.  I've long been disgusted with the ridiculous prices for replaceable disposable razor heads for our Gillette razor.  So we decided to look into the old-fashioned metal "butterfly" safety razors, the kind where you unscrew the handle and the top opens like butterfly wings, allowing you to replace the two-sided razor within.  Trouble is, new ones cost anywhere from $20 (for plastic-handled ones) to $40 (for metal), and I just hated to spend that kind of money.

I visited a local antique/junk store recently and found three razors for $5 each.  Duh, why didn't I think of this sooner?  I'd like to find one more (so we each have one) and will keep my eyes peeled.  Double-sided razor blades are a whole lot cheaper than disposables razor heads, last longer, and have a multitude of uses besides personal grooming.

Once we use up the last of our disposable razor heads, I will happily switch to these beauties so we don't have to pay through the nose just to shave.

It's worth pointing out that these razors are a little less "safe" than disposable razors, so caution is necessary to keep from cutting skin.  But these are the types of razors I grew up using when I was a teen, and only as an adult did I switch to the "cooler" and more sophisticated disposables.  Never more!


  1. Two great ideas - thank you!

  2. i frequent the thrift shops, antique stores etc.. myself and i buy up sheets (in good condition), vintage fabrics etc...i do alot of sewing-clothing to quilts and crafts. one thing i noticed in your snapshot..plastic bags. your sheets, blankets and quilts should in fact be stored in cotton not plastic..this will prevent rot, and discoloring. what i do is use old pillowcases to store these things in before putting all on the shelf or chest. cotton sheets are handy to have even if they are a bit raggedy...a few years ago my dog broke open stitches from surgery and a band of sheeting helped keep her intestines from falling out while i rushed her to the vet. also, i make full size fitted sheets out of twin size flat sheets. and a full size flat sheet makes up a really good dust ruffle. another thing that i do is collect old t-shirts (undershirts, polos etc.) and i cut them up and make rag rugs out of them...they are really good, heavy and can take a lot of punishment as well as being quite pretty. the "butterfly" razors are very good, but you gotta be really careful using them...

  3. Good idea on the sheets. I don't do sheets as I have several totes of fabric already. The thrift store in our town often gets yardages and also yarn and other crafting supplies. I check them out regularly. I have also given away a lot of this sort of thing to those who have need.

    I will have to think about your razor idea. Not sure how attached I am to shaving though...LOL

  4. Ditto on the "don't store cotton in plastic" comment. It does rot. Thank you so much for the idea of looking for sheets at Goodwill and consignment stores (earlier blog post). I found a queen size set of very high thread count sheets at Goodwill for $5.99 - and we really needed that. I found a second twin size flat sheet in a flannelized cotton for $1.99 that I am using to make shirts. I was really looking for pillow cases for dresses/skirts for my girls, but they had none this trip. I'll be going back...

    Xa Lynn

  5. I am not going to down grae to that type of razor. I have been looking at thrift shops and such for a decent straight razor. And a strop. I already use a cup and bruxh and have for years.


  6. Sewing supplies is one of the things I have a lot of in my trade/barter goods. I once heard that it was impossible to find sewing needles in Moscow during one of their down-turns. I buy fabric "ends", especially at places like Target and Hobby Lobby. I also have bags of disposable razors, both for my men and for barter. I think they'll be in short supply with a long-term economic shut down.
    Please be sure to disinfect those second-hand razors EXTREMELY well. Nobody needs a second-hand skin nasty!

  7. Razors - And this, your honor, is why I have a full beard. I detest shaving. I clean-up a bit about once a week, but that every morning battle with whatever system.

    I have used an electric shaver, the "safety razor", which is what I believe your "butterfly" razor is properly called, twin track and the Mach Three - more blades means less risk but higher price as you pointed out.

    I was murdering myself with a "safety razor". I don't even want to think about what would happen with a straight razor, the ultimate in cheap, because you can sharpen the thing - and field dress an elk with as well, I think.. B-)

    Yup, full beard. And with my blessing my better half has avoided all that scraping bit as well.

    Live simply so that your skin (my face!!) can simply live! B-)

  8. Patrice,

    Once you start using your safety razors the blades will last about 15% longer if, after use, you store them in a container with enough mineral oil to cover the head. Even after you rinse it off for use some of the oil remains and makes shaving a little bit easier. Its a tip I picked up from my father (before he switched to disposables) and he from his father. Just one more way to be thrifty :)

  9. An incredibly clever tip, Sean - thanks!

    - Patrice

  10. Yikes! I remember starting to shave with those and the blood that poured from above the back of my heel. Seeing those makes me shudder.

  11. I use the new razors 'with the multiple blades' because they work so well, but you are right on the price$. I went on E-bay for the razors I use and I found them in the factory packaging, for about $.10-on-the-dollar, I know how long it takes me to go through one cartridge, so I'm set for about 5yrs. after that I guess I regrow my beard. GOD Bless....

  12. Patrice,

    Would you and/or Enola like fabric scraps? I live in CDA and have been following both of your blogs for a while now. I work at the fabric store on 3rd and I have bags worth of left overs from the costumes and clothing I make. Nice for doll clothes and scrappy projects.


  13. On September 22, at 8;40PM I blogged that I had bought my razors on E-bay, this has been almost 2yrs ago, today I went to look for the deals I received. What a SHOCK! the items I bought 2yrs ago have just about doubled in price, and no one had FREE shipping on those items anymore. Thank GOD! I ordered back when I did, you preppers might want to move on whatever now, 'cause I don't forsee anything coming down in price. I'm not bragging here, just passing along vital info.