I'm into radical frugality because I'm a cheapskate and a tad mentally unstable. This is like my OCD addiction to see how cheaply I do stuff.
My latest project is the mattress for under $40 project. I used to have a cotton futon and I loved it. But I sold it and then found out that one about the same would cost $1,000...shit. About a year ago I was able to get my hands on a large number of alpaca fleeces for nothing off my local version of craigslist. So for about a year my home stank of alpaca's and I never could figure out how to properly clean up the fleece (it was raw with dags and burrs attached), which is a shame because I found an online tutorial about how to make a traditional wool mattress.
In the meantime I've been sleeping on an inflatable mattress....but PVC inflatables and cat claws don't mix and for about the last month I've been having to pump up my bed everynight and then roll out of a half flat bed with a backache in the morning.
Today, I found an online thing that hippy parents do....make a straw mattress. Sounds awful, like mice or something might live in it and what about body sweat....ew! Until you realise that most people are sleeping on industrial foam soaked in body sweat and flame retardants. That's pretty gross too. So I had a hard time finding a bale of straw in the middle of a metro zone, but I did find two. I stuffed one of my old quilt covers with two bales of straw and whacked it on the bed. Actually very comfortable, I like a hard mattress and this one is very similar to my old futon. I pulled the bales apart and then stuffed the loose straw inside. It was ridiculously tall until I rolled all over it and squashed it down again.
I now have to make a tick (mattress cover), and I'm thinking this fabric will give a nice traditional mattress look. It's also very tightly woven and strong.
EMMIE RAND Fabric - IKEA
Next week I'll make a box sided cover with a velcro opening on one end so the straw can be stuffed in and taken out easily. Apparently you should be able to get 6 months use out of the straw before you need to mulch your garden with it and put new stuff in. I like this idea because....
I hate sprung mattresses, they are never firm enough for me
I hate the idea of a mattress that can't be cleaned. This one you just tip the insides out, throw the cover in the wash and restuff it with clean straw.
I hate having to move a bulky and heavy mattress when I move home. This one will be easy to transport empty and fill at the other end.