Monday, May 12, 2014

Make it Do, or Do WIthout

Have you ever heard this old saying?

"Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without."

I think in America, because of our affluence, we have become a "throw away" culture.  It's always amazing to me to see what kinds of things people throw away.  Many of them are perfectly good, it's just that the owners got tired of them, or wanted a newer, more stylish model.  In some cases, even thrift stores are picky and won't accept anything that isn't in pristine condition, even if it still has a lot of life left in it.  But often, just a coat of paint, or a good cleaning can make something usable again.

I have a neighbor who has a talent for fixing things up.  I think part of the reason she is good at this is because she is a very detail oriented person.  But she also grew up in a family where she was taught how to repair things.  I think this is a dying art.  I remember one time we went to a garage sale together and she saw a rocking horse.  It was the kind that is suspended from springs; do you know that kind?  She has a little boy, and thought he would really like playing with it.  But the problem was that it was made for a little girl.  It was purple and pink with girly details.  So my neighbor got to work with some spray paint.  Not only did she spray the frame, but she used newspaper to mask certain areas of the horse and sprayed it like a paint pony!  Honestly, I don't think a factory could have made it nicer!  She even found a small gold star that she glued to the halter.  Being a horse person herself, she knew that if a horse has a white leg, then the hoof of that leg will be a lighter color.  So she painted the hoofs according to the color of the leg.

At one point we had a bed at our house that had an ugly headboard.  It was that really blackish color of wood, and I just didn't like it.  I gave it to my neighbor.  She repainted it a different color, and made it look like a ship captain's bed!  See, I could have done the same thing, I just didn't have the vision.  I'm not sorry I gave her the bed, I'm just sorry I didn't have her vision.

So what do you do with things you don't want anymore?  How about turning old clothes in to a quilt, or a braided rug?  Or how about using the fabric to make children's clothes?  I'm not saying we should hoard everything, but think before you throw.

And in addition to thinking before throwing, think about how you might give a second life to things.  Can it be repaired?  How much money will you save if you repair it instead of buying new?  There is a lot of charm in things that are used.  Don't fall prey to worldly covetousness that tells you that if it isn't new, it isn't good enough.  Learn to recognize that there is charm in something that has been used.

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