Friday, September 19, 2008

Make Do & Mend

I recently had my TV repaired. A something-or-other tube had blown, and for £60, two nice men collected the TV, took it to their shop, and returned it in working order. Before calling the repair shop, I thought about just buying a new one, but decided it would be frivolous. I'll probably get a few more years out of the set, and it's one less item for the landfill for now.

Having grown up in the overly-consumptive '80s, my first instinct hasn't always been to fix and repair. If something wasn't up to scratch, I'd just throw it out and get a new one. Frugality wasn't really a virtue of mine, but that's changing. I've resolved to waste less, which gives recycling a whole new meaning.

Are there any other frugal mamas out there? I'd love to hear ideas on making do with what you have.

16 comments:

Teresa R said...

I'm not nearly as frugal as I'd like to be, but I try. This reminds me a bit of the question over at Heidi's blog (about things you do to be green - the 3 Rs). We always use both sides of paper. With junk mail, we either make recycled paper, or I use the blank sides for grocery lists. We use old socks, underwear, t-shirts, etc, as rags.

The Frugal Living forum at About.com is a place I've looked to for more ideas.

gracefruit said...

Hi Teresa, I've washed my car with underwear! Maybe I'm doing better than I thought. :)

I'll check out that forum. Thank you!

Heidi said...

I grew up living by the make do and mend motto. I thought it was what poor people did, so when it was my turn to be responsible I shunned that lifestyle...for a while. Some things are ingrained too deep = )

Since having so many kids I find myself being even more frugal, looking for ways to skrimp and save. I decided recently that since I don't have lots of time, any hobbies I have need to benefit the family. Making our body products is my favorite = ) and I'm brushing up on my sewing skills. I hit the remnant bins last week and got 2 pairs of pajamas and more baby wipes for next to nothing...

Sorry, I'm going on and on.... This is one of my favorite subjects lately = ) Its been fun to see what other people come up with and start doing those things too!

Body Natural Soap said...

I Love to use recycled fabric for shopping bags. I also have toyed with the idea of making recycled paper for packaging my soaps.

gracefruit said...

Heidi, I was raised that way as a small child, but rebelled in my teens and twenties. What was I thinking? One thing I've always tried not to waste is food, and even now I can see ways to do better. I need to get a war-time cookbook!

Sha-Marie, that's excellent! Sewing lessons are definitely in my future.

Heidi said...

Oooh, a war time cook book is a fantastic idea! My kids hate hearing "we don't waste food" but they also don't know what its like to feed 6 = ) I have a distant relative who used to collect everyone's ice cubes so she could reuse them...I think that's taking it a little too far, haha.

Lomond Soap said...

The Make do and Mend book is very good for hints and tips. I also use my knickers for dusters, that came from my mum. She used to stuff a sock full of other socks to use a a buffer on the dining room table. Dad's old vest were used for just about everything!?!
The freezer was full of leftovers that she somehow made into lovely meals, not something I have managed yet. Leftovers go in the dogs :-)
You're right we are so wasteful nowadays. Time some of the old tricks came back into fashion.

gracefruit said...

Heidi, I ordered a few war cookery books from Amazon last night. I'll let you know if any of them are worthwhile.

C -- I saw that book last night! And I agree -- it's time this stuff came back into fashion.

charlie said...

I use all mu milk cartons and fruitjuice cartons as soap molds!

gracefruit said...

Hi Charlie, that's an excellent idea. Have you tried Pringles cans? They work well, too.

Teresa R said...

Oh food...yeah, no food ever got wasted in our household when I was growing up. My mom spent a bit of her childhood fleeing from Japanese soldiers during the war, and carries with her those memories of being hungry. My sister and I continue to hold food as sacred. :>

We use fabric bags at the stores too, but sometimes I forget when going to non-food stores and end up with plastic bags. But, they don't get wasted. Dh uses them over and over to harvest things from the garden.

I'll have to see if our library has some war-time cookbooks and the Make-do and Mend book.

gracefruit said...

Having chickens helps with waste food. Mine are like goats with two legs and will eat most anything. That really helps with the guilt!

Teresa R said...

I keep telling dh we need a pig because the chickens will only eat so much of our waste (would you believe they turn up their noses at some of our veggies??). Some day, after we splurge on a tractor, we'll get fencing for a pig.

gracefruit said...

My daughter is keen to have a pig. If the farm behind us would lease us a bit of land, I'd do it.

Teresa R said...

Keep bugging the farm behind you! I'd be very interested to read about your adventures with a pig. :)

gracefruit said...

Pigs are entirely too cute. We'd be attached in no time at all. If I had my choice, we'd have goats or alpacas.