Perhaps you’ve heard the quote, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without!” This old-fashioned axiom represents an excellent way to save money, help the planet and keep items out of landfills.
The poster below was printed when Americans were united in supporting the Allied troops in the goal of winning World War II, and everyone tried to do their part by being thrifty.
Our ancestors were continually looking for ways to reuse and repurpose things. For example, if they hadn’t been so clever about saving fabric scraps and creatively stitching them together, we would have no patchwork quilts.
Meat scraps were turned into delicious sausage, sour milk was used for baking, and scraps of wool were cut in strips and hooked into rugs.
In our great-grandmother’s day, nearly every household had a rag bag — and they didn’t need jumbo 8-packs of paper towels, either.
Repair Instead of Replacing
Recently our Pop told me that some of the letters had worn off his otherwise-perfectly-good computer keyboard. He used his label maker to create new letters, and voila! The keyboard is fully functional again.
My friend Scott shares, “I fixed some wheels today that had not been greased, ever. They were dry and would not turn. I took them all apart and sanded the bearings and cleaned and greased and now they work, saving a trip to town and paying for new.”
Repurpose and Find a New Use for Something
I always love seeing the creative ways people use items that might be otherwise discarded, like the outdoor chandelier above made from old wine bottles.
Here’s a post from the Happy Simple Living archive that has been shared more than 5,800 times, for a wall decoration I made from, yes, toilet paper tubes:
Instead of throwing away old, worn t-shirts or tube socks, turn them into rags.
Float toasted slices of stale French bread in homemade French Onion Soup. Or use the last few pieces of bread to make croutons or bread crumbs. If you have tortillas that are past their prime, turn them into homemade chips.
“Use it up” by cooking with food you already have. Here are some easy meals you can make from items in your freezer or pantry.
Use newspaper to wash your windows. Don’t throw away the red mesh bag that the onions came in; use it as a Salad Spinner to dry washed salad greens. Or take it with you to the farmers’ market and use it to carry home your produce.
You might enjoy this roundup from Family Handyman with 80 ideas for repurposing household items.
Today’s challenge is to fix or repurpose something.
We’d love to hear your resourceful ideas in the Comments section of this post or over at the Money Diet Community Facebook Group.
P.S. If you use Pinterest to save aticles and ideas, here’s a handy pin: