One Planet Living

Some Tips for Making Do

January 12, 2017

It’s been so inspiring seeing everyone’s posts in the Facebook community with their plans for Making Do this month, as part of the One Planet Living challenge.
I thought it might be handy to think about some broad, over-view tips for Making Do, and I’ve got another post planned which will include resources and links to useful websites etc.
As I said in my last post, a month of Making Do will mean different things to everyone. Some people are not buying anything at all, some people are resolving to use up all their food leftovers, and others are focussing on their craft stashes and committing to using up what they have before buying anything else.
Whatever your own aim is for the month, some general rules apply pretty much across the board.

So here goes:

  • Work out your Why
    Spend a couple of minutes getting clear about why you are Making Do.
    Is is to save money? To de-clutter? To use up food that has been kicking around for a little too long? Or is it about a wider desire to Make Do and save resources from an environmental prospective? Or maybe it just sounds like fun and you want to join in with what is going on in the community!
  • Set yourself some rules!
    I wrote about goals, goal setting and what makes a good goal a couple of weeks ago, but it bears repeating. Be as specific as you can about any ‘rules’ or boundaries you are setting yourself for this Making Do month. Will you be buying nothing at all, and ‘shopping your home’? Will you be buying nothing except essentials? If so, what are your essentials? Food? Medications? Are you focussing on food and using up those tins that have been lurking at the back of the cupboard, or those frozen meals that you forgot about?
  • Get others on board
    Even if you live on your own, or if you’ve decided that your challenge applies only to you and not the other members of your household, make sure you share your goal and your aims with those closest to you. Make sure you tell them ‘why’ as well to help explain what you are doing. Telling other people is helpful: if you live with these people, then letting them know what you are planning helps to get them on board, or at the very least stops them from sabotaging you (hopefully!). The other reason for telling people is that it helps to keep you accountable…! So even if you just tell us in the Facebook group, make sure you share!
  • Avoid the shops
    This might seem like stating the obvious, but if you are attempting to Make Do with what you already have, then avoiding the temptation of the shops (both bricks and mortar and online) is the easiest option. If you have to visit the shops for food, for example, make a meal plan and go armed with a list (and then stick to it!) Unsubscribe from all those tempting e-mails from your favourite clothing/fabric/yarn sites – if you don’t see it, you can’t buy it.
  • Shop your home
    Whether your goal is to Make Do with regards to food, or clothes, or craft supplies, doing an inventory of what you already have can be quite a liberating (and sometimes a little shocking) experience.
    When I embarked on my year of not buying any clothes, I spent an afternoon going through my drawers and my wardrobe to see exactly what I had. And I had so many more clothes than I thought! I had got into the habit of wearing the same things, day in and day out, and lots of things had got shoved to the back of drawers and squeezed out of view. Getting everything out, and then sorting through out showed me how many more possibilities I had, and also allowed me to de-clutter the stuff I no longer wanted. So go through your clothes, or your kitchen cupboards and freezer, or your craft room – get everything out from the backs of the drawers, and those high shelves that you never bother looking at as it’s too high to reach, and get clear on exactly what you have. Then you can make a plan for Making Do!

As I said, these are really broad, general tips but I hope they are helpful nonetheless.
I’d love to hear your specifics – what are your favourite ways of Making Do with the things you already have? Do you save up envelopes and use these for scrap paper? Do you save your apple cores to make your own apple vinegar? (I thought I had blogged this recipe but I haven’t, I will do shortly!) Do you patch your jeans to within an inch of their life, or save up your fabric scraps to use as stuffing?
Let me know, either in the comments, or over in the Facebook group, and I’ll do a mammoth round-up of everyone’s top tips!

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  • Reply Liz Pearson January 14, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    Your raising the ‘why’ question and the rules have strike a chord with me at the moment. This month, I have returned to an activity that I had abandoned for a while – making use of Christmas cards and wrapping after Christmas to make gift tags and new cards (this could apply to Birthdays too). Card cut-outs, reused envelopes, wrapping paper and packaging tissue are all fair game for making tags or new cards. I have mentioned this in a blog post and aim to follow up with some tips. But, I have asked the question ‘Is it all worthwhile? How much waste does this save?’ Compared to the obvious benefits of husband and I putting more thought into food and cooking, starting this month, I’m not sure what the answer is. There is a staggering amount of card and wrapping waste following Christmas each year. have some startling statistics, and surely giving some of this a second lease of life must be worthwhile? It’s interesting how some time with a pair of craft scissors and a glue stick can make you see cards and packaging in a new light. I keep seeing something new that could come out it. Last night a friend at a craft group meeting showed us how a nifty little trick for turning an old greetings card into a small origami gift box. See It looks complicated, but it’s actually really quick. So to the rules. When do you stop collecting this stuff? When the house is overflowing? The rule I’ve set for myself is: when a large gift bag, in which I am storing it, gets stuffed full. No more can be collected until it gets used!

    • Reply Jen January 17, 2017 at 12:39 pm

      Great to set some boundaries around it Liz!

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