Living Sustainably Helped With the Property Investor Credit Crunch

This is a blog topic I thought would never be covered on my sustainability ‘GreenerMe’ blog.

However last week it happened – the correlation between living sustainably and a property investing benefit.

The media has been so focused on the Sydney property boom that little is reported about the current property investor credit crunch.  Combank, NAB, ANZ and Bankwest have announced that they are tightening lending criteria for property investors and raising interest rates on variable investment loans (new and existing).  AMP have even announced that they will stop lending to all property investors indefinitely. 

This post is not about why this is happening but about our own experience with the restrictions in seeking a loan. 

One way lenders are tightening their  lending criteria, is by asking investors to prove their monthly, personal spending.

We were given a budget form, to fill out what we spend on food, clothing and household items etc. We filled the form accurately however once completed we were concerned. My husband stated what we were both thinking “they are going to question the small amount we spend in these areas”.  Therefore after discussion we decided we would add notes on the form explaining that we value sustainable practices i.e. buying 2nd hand, recycling, reusing and restoring.  These practises not only save the Earth’s resoures but also our savings.

Having a public blog of my sustainable living journey since 2008, certainly backed up our personal spending claims.

Despite the credit crunch our loan was approved and I am sure our sustainable living helped – even if just a little.


Organic home grown mandarins - the joys of sustainable living.

Flowering Mini Succulents in Winter


Snow is predicted to fall today and over the next few days (which is nuts for our location).  Yesterday I had my jumper off while working in the garden – what a difference a day makes.  Today I doubt we will leave the house.

Thought I would share an updated photograph of my upcycled security door screen.  The tiny planted succulents are flowering.  Not sure if flowering in Winter is normal for these succulents or if they were confused with the stint of warm weather we have had.  Poor flowers are in for a rude shock today.

Finally my Upcycled Security Door, Garden Feature is Finished



My friend and neighbour Janine, gave me clippings from her gorgeous ‘ground cover like’ succulent plant.

I felt the tiny, yet hardy succulent will grow well in these old recycled coffee mugs.

The coffee mugs now hang on an old security screen door that I upcycled – painted racing car red and mounted outside, on our back verandah frame.

Finally my upcycled, garden pot plant hanger is completed.  I will post an update  in a couple of months time with photos – it will be interesting to see how the plants grow.

Reduce, Reuse, Restore, Recycled and RESCUED


Reduce – to limit the amount of our consumer purchases or to buy 2nd hand.

Reuse – finding other uses for items we no longer need, limiting the need to throw out those items.

Restored – old stuff becomes new again with a coat of paint, glue etc and some love.

Recycled – turning unwanted items into new items that we do need.

Rescued – my new ‘R’ word. Rescuing items, other people throw out and giving them a ‘second life’.

These children’s toys where left on the curb, destined for the tip – for landfill.  I still intend to give them a new coat of paint and love (to restore them).  In the meantime they are outside but under cover, near our clothes line.  Our Little One now plays with these rescued toys, as her Mummy hangs out the washing.

Brand new is rarely better. Our belief that new is ‘king’ is robbing our Earth of natural resources, our back pockets of funds and our minds of fun and creative solutions.

Do you get what I mean?

Upcycling a Security Door to a Pot Plant Hanger Garden Feature

When my family first heard these words from me “don’t throw it out as I will use it for something”, they were concerned.

Concerned that perhaps I’ll become a hoarder.  However this isn’t their concern today.  Now when I mention my intentions for saving ‘junk’ there is total support.

Why the change? I have ensured that they have witnessed numerous finished projects – giving them comfort and confidence that ‘junk’ won’t be filling our home.

It is another reminder that ‘doing’ rather than ‘talking’ is more influential.

Several months ago I removed a broken security screen door, from an unused section of our verandah.  You may recall I renovated and decorated this area to become a children’s cubby play space. The removed security screen door was to become a future upcycling project – which I have just completed.


I have painted it racing car red, secured it to the outside of our house (adjacent to the kid’s cubby space). Small ‘S hooks’ have been added so old, unused tea cups can hang.

Soon I’ll drill small drainage holes in the cups, fill with soil and plant herbs, flowers or succulents – anything my heart desires.  I will of course share photos when plants are growing.

I am in two minds regarding the design of the cups.  Should I paint them all silver or leave them in situ?

Children’s Verandah Cubby Play Area – a Birthday Present

I had grand plans for our Little One’s cubby house, so despite a month of bad health, I am proud to say I finished (just in time for her birthday as this was to be her present).

The cubby house is positioned in an enclosed section of our verandah that we don’t use, as it was in desperate need of renovating and repairing.  So before any cubby decorating could commence, I had a lot of renovating to do.

Even though the cubby is finished, I still have more ideas and hence will continue to add fun items in the coming weeks.

Everything used, has been recycled, restored or upcycled, with a good dash of healthy creativity and imagination.


Upcycled an ugly picture frame into a chalk board. Paint tin upcycled to a chalk holder. Paint brush upcycled to a decoration.


Kid's arm chair picked up from a curb side clean up and restored.


Cubby has a wonderful view of the East side garden. Lamp shades upcycled to fun chandeliers.


Hand painted fairy tree mural as a special cubby backdrop.


A section of our special birthday message for our Little One - as part of the painted mural

The only new items purchased was skirting board, black board paint, red gloss paint and chalk.

Take a look back at what this area looked like before the renovation and cubby decorating started.

May our Little One have many fun, creative and happy years playing in her cubby with her friends.

Where to Buy Second Hand, Disco Balls

On a recent trip to Sydney for work, I decided to pop into Reverse Garbage at Marrickville.

For 40 years, Reverse Garbage has been committed to diverting useable resources from landfill.  Apparently they are the largest creative reuse centre in the world.

I’m a ‘pig in mud’ when searching through this store.  As you can see, our little one’s first visit to the centre has not failed to delight – as photographed donning a pair of children’s 3D glasses found in the store (incognito toddler).

Searching particularly for items to decorate the kid’s cubby house, I am currently working on.

A large framed painting, numerous silver stars and a handful of tiny disco balls were acquired.

The cubby house grand reveal is drawing closer!