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Use it up, Wear it out

Last post 02-04-2012 11:50 AM by MarthaMFI. 50 replies.
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  • 02-15-2008 12:05 PM

    • Edey
    • Top 25 Contributor
      Female
    • Joined on 09-10-2007
    • Los Angeles County, CA
    • Posts 3,869

    Inflation fighter [IF] Use it up, Wear it out

    This is a rhyme from another time: Use it up, Wear it out, Make do, or Do without.

    This is appropriate for our times. In this simple phrase are the ideals of simple living, self control, environmental awareness, recycling, frugality, love and respect for others and contentment with what you have.

    In harder times, when income was minimal and supplies of anything hard to come by, it was a necessity to do over clothing to get the best use of the remaining parts. A woman's dress that had become frayed at the edges and seams would be cut down for a childs' dress. Favorite sweaters that may have become frayed at the elbows had leather or corduroy patches sewn over them, or were unraveled and the yarn re-used. A skirt whose hem had to be let down for a growing child, could have the faded hem line disguised by a strip of lace or ribbon, or a ruffle added for length. Men's shirts got new collars and cuffs. A blouse that may have had a stain in the lapel area could have an applique design or embroidery sewn over it and made into a new looking blouse. Perfectly good socks with a tiny hole were darned, or new feet knitted to the tops, which usually don't wear out for a long time.

    1. Use it up: you work hard for your money, so does your spouse. It shows respect to each other to get the best frugal use of your income. Wasting as little as possible, finding a second or third use before discarding something, puts that respect into play. Respect for each other, It is a very important part of a partnership.

    2. Wear it out: See the above paragraph.

    3. Make do:  Look around and find a use for what you already have before going out and purchasing new. Tell yourself you don't have money to spend (and you probably don't). Cereal boxes can become gift boxes. Or pretty storage boxes covered with fabric. The clear plastic containers that cookies or donuts come in from the grocery store can become a seed starting miniature greenhouse. A mans work shirt, with the sleeves and collar removed, can be sewn into a shopping bag.

    4. Do without: there is a saying that Happiness is wanting what you have. Being content with what you have already accumulated and not wanting more "stuff" in your life, takes away the driving greed that has become so prevalent during the last 2 or 3 decades. It removes the stress of the "gotta haves" and all the maintenance that goes with owning those "haves".  There is peace in owning only what you need and use. E

    Edey's Vintage and Current Needlework Blog

    Life is like a quilt - it is made beautiful from all the little pieces stitched together.

    Use a HandCranked tool, it doesn't need to be plugged in or charged up!

    Treadle sewing machines. Get a workout and save electricity all at the same time. Plus it can go anywhere, even outdoors!

    READ THE ARCHIVES! It'll do you good.
  • 02-15-2008 12:46 PM In reply to

    Re: Use it up, Wear it out

    What a good post! Thank you!

    I think that all of us, in the process of becoming more frugal and thrifty, have had a hard time giving up a particular item or learning to do with less of something. It's different for all of us but equally as difficult.

    For me, it was work clothes. Now, on the weekends I am about as "plain jane" and comfy as you can get: pony tail, jeans/sweats and a t-shirt. But I do like to dress nice for work (I do administrative work at a University). I look very young for my age and therefore dressing in business attire not only gives me a confidenc boost but it also helps me to be taken seriously in the work place rather than being mistaken for a student. I have always been good about shopping sales and I have always stayed away from "fads" and designer labels, opting instead for more plain items that can be mix-matched to create a larger-looking wardrobe. But in the past year or so, I have really cut back BIG TIME on my work clothes. I simply realized that though it is important to "dress to impress" in the workplace, that doesn't mean having enough clothes to last 3 months without washing!

    Thanks for the reminder!

    God bless,

    Julie

  • 02-15-2008 2:31 PM In reply to

    • Kate
    • Top 150 Contributor
    • Joined on 09-26-2007
    • Nebraska
    • Posts 546

    Re: Use it up, Wear it out

    I've had this saying displayed on a sign in my kitchen for years. I'm not sure of the origin. I've read that it came from WWI and the Great Depression, so not sure which is correct. I never looked farther to find out. I even put it on my signature on here when I signed up. Smile I've tried to impress upon my kids that not only do they not need new stuff (as we can't afford it) but that they need to take care of what we do have (as we can't afford to replace alot of it). I think this phrase also applies to food, as well as the 'stuff' we accumilate in our homes.

    ~Kate
    Mum of 3 boys

    "Eat it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without!"

    http://community.webshots.com/user/katestitching
  • 02-15-2008 5:06 PM In reply to

    • gailewis
    • Not Ranked
      Female
    • Joined on 01-24-2008
    • Mountain View, AR
    • Posts 19

    Re: Use it up, Wear it out

    Some thoughts:

    Living on less is a "game" I play.  It seems that the more I have, the more things there are to break and cause stress.  I do love the computer & internet  and the TV (satellite necessary in this little town).  These are my biggest monthly expenses that I could live without but choose not to.  I also have 7 cats, so that gets expensive, but I love them all.  Most everything else is pared down to minimal expense.  I never carry a credit card balance--own my house, cars, everything is paid for.  Don't want to pay to use someone else's money.  Live below my means and don't try to impress others with the things I have.

    Sometimes it is fun to get things, though.  We can also find ways of recycling what others don't want anymore. Many treasures await in the secondhand shop or at yard sales.  Old furniture can be painted and/or fixed up. I have a great $50 (Goodwill) sofa.  I made covers for the cushions.  Pots & pans, appliances, clothing, etc. can be cleaned up, fixed up, used in a new and creative way, etc. Never buy that stuff new.

    Scraps of fabric make quilts.  Scraps of food make a casserole. 

    I think it is more fun to be creative with cheap treasures that I find than going to a mall and paying top dollar for something that will bore me in a little while.  Even if I had the money to waste, I wouldn't.

    Gail,    Mountain View, AR     http://www.freewebs.com/pasthymesfashions

     

    www.pasthymesfashions.webs.com
  • 02-15-2008 5:32 PM In reply to

    • Edey
    • Top 25 Contributor
      Female
    • Joined on 09-10-2007
    • Los Angeles County, CA
    • Posts 3,869

    Re: Use it up, Wear it out

    When my dad was alive he had coffee cans and wash tubs of used nails, screws, bolts, washers, nuts, wire, etc.,  just about anything needed to build something. Every thing was sorted, saved and re-used. Bent nails were hammered out on the anvil. Being as he always had some building project going on he didn't need to spend money on those items. He kept his tools in top shape, even knew how to sharpen saw blades. Shovels, axes, rakes, and hammers got new handles when needed. If he tore down something the wood was saved and re-used into his next project. Wood shingles became fire kindling. Scraps of wood that were too small for anything went into the wood stove.

    This way of thinking is nothing new to most of us here, but it is something that has to be learned in life, and there are several generations out there who have never learned these things, who have never had to do without, always had the availability of new relatively inexpensive things in the stores. With prices on everything increasing now, this is information they will need.

     It is good to put this frugal way of life out there for those to learn from who don't know how. E

    Edey's Vintage and Current Needlework Blog

    Life is like a quilt - it is made beautiful from all the little pieces stitched together.

    Use a HandCranked tool, it doesn't need to be plugged in or charged up!

    Treadle sewing machines. Get a workout and save electricity all at the same time. Plus it can go anywhere, even outdoors!

    READ THE ARCHIVES! It'll do you good.
  • 02-15-2008 6:37 PM In reply to

    Re: Use it up, Wear it out

     

    During the Great Depression, my mother and her sister lived with her grandparents along with one parent (widowed), three uncles and one aunt. The stories she told me of those years living in one of the five boroughs of NYC, were an eclectic mix compared to the typical stories we usually hear and read about. While they happily ate a lot of soup, bought the discounted cracked eggs, repaired shoes with cardboard “kits,” wore hand-me-downs, and made chocolate pudding from the Easter chocolate, they had items that the majority of people would have considered a luxury, such as a car, telephone, and magazine subscriptions. Six of the adults had full time jobs and contributed to the household. What surprises me the most, however, is the lack of skill base. They just “made do.” While her father’s mechanical ability allowed for the car—which was used on special occasions, the extended family group survived, rather than thrived during those years.

     

    Nothing can replace a skill base. If both spouses complement each other’s skills, it is even better. I would rather “make it better” and “not do without,” especially if it is a necessity, through the use of skills. If I create, repair, reinvent, and reassess, then I/we will have the joy of making as well as probably thriving.

     

    The situation was not much different with my father’s side of the family as well as each side of my husband’s family. We have learned from history, so it will not be repeated.
    Create! Repair! Reinvent! Reassess!
  • 02-15-2008 7:00 PM In reply to

    Re: Use it up, Wear it out

    I am about to embark on a spending spree: my black leather loafers (which still LOOK decent on the outside) have a hole in the sole; I think this is my second full winter to wear them everyday, and I wore them on occassion the year before that!  They're just $20-$25 Grasshoppers.  I've also got to replace my cheap leather tennis shoes as the plastic heel cup has broken down in both shoes, I've had to pull the torn-up lining out of one, and the lace is about to break on one (already replaced the lace on the other one).  Did I mention they are now rather red-clay colored???  Also have to find a bra, as the only one that I like has almost more holes in the back strap than it has material; the seams are all that's holding it together!

    I think I have accomplished "wear it out!"  I also have to replace the sheets for our camp bed because they got holey and so I cut them up (around the holes) to make my husband some plain medieval tunics that he wanted for doing rough work, like cleaning up the kitchen and setting up camp and building fires.  So they both got worn out and recycled! 

     <<I would rather “make it better” and “not do without,” especially if it is a necessity, through the use of skills. If I create, repair, reinvent, and reassess, then I/we will have the joy of making as well as probably thriving.>>

    I SO agree with you on this one!  It's the thing I love about historic re-enacting: you are really encouraged to learn to make things for yourself.  As my husband and I like to point out, people are more impressed by what you can DO than what you can BUY.  Although there is some material status too: in the form of material (literally).  You can drive a car held together by duct tape, but if you have nice fabric, you are very nearly worshipped, LOL.  And how cheap can you get it becomes a quest.

    I finally came up with my personal motto: There is nothing which I cannot do, there are only things which I have not yet tried to do.

    I came up with this one weekend after I marched myself into the garage and came back out with a pair of wooden-soled sandals (you wear them over your regular shoes to act as galoshes), despite the fact that I had never used a power saw before or done leatherworking of that kind.  My husband, who does both, was very impressed when he came home and saw them, and I have worn them in very wet, muddy conditions and they survived.  So, if I can learn to use a jigsaw (and, really, I don't like/kind of fear power tools, especially saws), I can learn to do anything, dang it. 

    When you feel that you could live self-suffciently if the government collapsed and all of the basic services we are used to went away, it gives you a lot of confidence and self-esteem. 

  • 02-15-2008 9:35 PM In reply to

    • Edey
    • Top 25 Contributor
      Female
    • Joined on 09-10-2007
    • Los Angeles County, CA
    • Posts 3,869

    Re: Use it up, Wear it out

    Keriamon:

    When you feel that you could live self-suffciently if the government collapsed and all of the basic services we are used to went away, it gives you a lot of confidence and self-esteem. 

    And that is one of the main points of the little rhyme. Self-reliance. Good post. E

    Edey's Vintage and Current Needlework Blog

    Life is like a quilt - it is made beautiful from all the little pieces stitched together.

    Use a HandCranked tool, it doesn't need to be plugged in or charged up!

    Treadle sewing machines. Get a workout and save electricity all at the same time. Plus it can go anywhere, even outdoors!

    READ THE ARCHIVES! It'll do you good.
  • 02-15-2008 10:47 PM In reply to

    • gailewis
    • Not Ranked
      Female
    • Joined on 01-24-2008
    • Mountain View, AR
    • Posts 19

    Re: Use it up, Wear it out

    Having just gone through 6 days without power due to a tornado that took out the east side of town (Mountain View, AR) I realized how heavily dependent upon municipal utilities most of us are.  We were so thankful that we had water.  Do you realize, though, that for all of our rhetoric about a simple lifestyle we are all using the internet right now?  I felt very detached and isolated for the 6 days without internet & TV.

     

    www.pasthymesfashions.webs.com
  • 02-16-2008 12:11 AM In reply to

    • Edey
    • Top 25 Contributor
      Female
    • Joined on 09-10-2007
    • Los Angeles County, CA
    • Posts 3,869

    Re: Use it up, Wear it out

    The internet has become very ingrained in our every day lives. I wouldn't want to give it up if I didn't have to. It opened up too many sources of information and services and communication that were out of reach before. A year ago our computer was out service for 11 days, and I constantly found myself thinking I could look up something, but couldn't. I was in withdrawal. E

    Edey's Vintage and Current Needlework Blog

    Life is like a quilt - it is made beautiful from all the little pieces stitched together.

    Use a HandCranked tool, it doesn't need to be plugged in or charged up!

    Treadle sewing machines. Get a workout and save electricity all at the same time. Plus it can go anywhere, even outdoors!

    READ THE ARCHIVES! It'll do you good.
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