The rules

In my quest for a Make Do and Mend Year, I feel the need to set out some rules, so we all know where we stand! You know what they say about boundaries..

Every non-perishable item that I buy for the next year must be second-hand, pre-owned, vintage, retro, upcycled, re-conditioned… you get the idea. but NOT new!!

So that means, no newspapers, no new clothes, no new toys for the kids. It doesn’t mean we can’t have them, we just can’t buy them new. So we’ll be having to think a bit about how we get the things that we want. E-bay would be the obvious answer to most dilemmas, but I’m aiming for a bit more than that, so car boots, flea markets, vintage fairs, charity shops, freecycle will all be utilised!

Exceptions are:

  • toiletries and cleaning products-although in the spirit of Make Do and Mend, I will be trialling some homemade cleaning and beauty products!
  • shoes for the little people -call me precious but I still religiously shop at Clark’s so I can make sure their little feet are getting squished by ill-fitting shoes-having said that, SmallSmall wears BigSmall’s cast offs and we usually go to the huge Clarks factory shop in Street to try and get new shoes slightly cheaper! Big people must buy second hand shoes if they want ‘new’ ones
  • trainers for running-for me. I know I just said that big people have to but second hand shoes, but I’m really trying to get running again, and I think I will need some new trainers at some point, and I really don’t want to risk my joints etc wearing second hand trainers that don’t fit
  • consumables for ‘upcycling’, mending and making do-eg. glue,  staples, tape etc. I will endeavour to seek out other people’s left overs of paint for projects, but at times, I may need to buy new if I need something specific for a project
  • consumables for my ‘upcycled loveliness’ over at Shouty Cat Makes (my little crafty business). I still need to try and keep this going, and nearly everything I make upcycles something, but some components do need to be bought new, for example, the cufflink bits of my scrabble cufflinks
  • underwear-may be I’m just a bit old fashioned, but the thought of someone else’s pre-used smalls makes me shudder a little
  • bits for the car-see my post re spare tyres! I am assured by the lovely hubby that lots of car parts are re-conditioned, so obviously we would use these, but if we can only get new, or it’s not really safe to go secondhand (like with the tyres) then we will have to suck it up and buy new
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17 Comments

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  • Reply @PermaHeretic April 27, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    Hi
    I bought secondhand shoes for my little people’s feet throughout, and they are now big people (16, 18, 26) and their feet are in perfect condition. Not even smelly.

    Also, about the tyres: I buy secondhand tyres for my Transit from my scrapyard-come-vehicle mechanic’s. They cost £15 each. I normally need one at MoT time, occasionally two. But even if they wear out in a year, there’s really no comparison between the cost of these and new tyres. They have to be safe, as they wouldn’t be able to give me my MoT if they weren’t.

    • Reply Jen April 27, 2013 at 5:49 pm

      That’s great. I appreciate that we are being slightly hypocritical in that we are buying new shoes for BigSmall and then hoping SmallSmall will fit into his hand me downs (!) but we do go and get both their feet measured and get them to check the fit on SmallSmall’s hand-me-downs. We may well decide to try secondhand shoes as they get bigger.
      With regards to the tyres, we made a decision that we would buy new from a safety perspective-just because they have enough grip on them at an MOT, doesn’t mean they still will have in 6 months time. It is just our personal decision, and I realise that there are second hand options, but on this occasion, we have decided tyres are one of the few things we will buy new this year.

  • Reply Laura April 22, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    I would love to (and may) join you on your quest at some point. Like you I have kids and have been intrigued to wonder what rules you gave yourself (shoes in particular). Now that I have found and read your rules, can I ask if you extended them to gifts from friends and family? Actually I really mean the grandparents, were you tough enough to demand that they didn’t buy you new stuff for the kids? Not sure how that would go down with ours…

    • Reply Jen April 23, 2013 at 7:19 am

      Hi Laura. That’s so great that you might join in! would totally recommend it 🙂 We didn’t extend the rule beyond our little family. I personally don’t feel that I am able to dictate to other people what they buy for us and the Smalls. My mother in law often does quite well with secondhand finds though and I think it has made it easier for her to give these to us as presents, whereas previously she may have felt a bit awkward. Now she nows we welcome it with open arms!!

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  • Reply homemadekids March 7, 2013 at 11:21 am

    One of my problems is to do with being 48 – everything I’ve upcycled (on my own, with the kids, or sometimes with groups of kids) now crowds out my house. It is sooooo hard to get rid of stuff, and so much harder to get rid of things that you’ve spent time making uniquely gorgeous. Sometimes I think about doing a give and get stall outside my front gate and then I get nervous that passers by will think I am truly eccentric if i start trying to pass on, say, floral covered magnetic tin boards! Nice to meet you yesterday in london btw. nicola http://homemadekids.wordpress.com

    • Reply Jen March 7, 2013 at 11:23 am

      Hi Nicola. Great to meet you too! I agree, it is very hard to get rid of stuff-hubby thinks I am on the verge of becoming a hoarder, as I keep lots of stuff just because in looks like it could be useful..A give and get stall sounds fab-who cares what the neighbours think..!!

  • Reply Esther January 13, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    What about food? Where do you stand on that, or does it not even come into the equation? I think it’s a mighty fine thing you are doing, I might even have to try it / suggest it to my friends and family. In terms of the underwear, have you tried making your own, out of old material / t-shirts? (I know it sounds wierd, but I have just read a tutorial on how to do it and it looks so easy and you end up with unique stuff).

    • Reply Jen January 14, 2013 at 8:14 am

      Definitely give it a go! You don’t have to go the whole hog, the beauty of it is that you can make up your own rules, so that it is achievable for you.
      I try and make as much as possible food wise. The Smalls have never had a ready meal or even a jar of baby food! I make our bread, and other than the odd takeaway, our meals are all made from scratch. I am also going to try and start to do more of our shopping locally to support the town. Have seen some blog posts on making pants, and do want to try, but need to carve out some time! Thanks for reading 🙂

  • Reply Pam Hill December 30, 2012 at 12:13 am

    Can I just note that you can safely buy part-used car tyres as they come off cars involved in an accident or scrapped before the tyres life has ended, so will still have a lot of (safe) wear left in them. Otherwise they wouldnt be sold legally. Also reconditioned tyres are those that have had new tread put on older tyres, again safely and legally. The only point is that its not recommended for cars that do a lot of high speed and distance work ie motorway journeys or travelling salespeople who do above-average milage. Otherwise they are safe especially if its short-distance or about-town driving that you do. So dont dismiss these tyres as unsafe.
    As for your issue about your children wearing Clarks shoes, well you may as well buy secondhand for them if you give the youngest the oldests shoes, as they were fitted for your oldest child ie its size and width were measured and calculated for that particular child, the groves on the shoe linning correspond to your eldests feet, and your second child will not be likely to be the same size and width at a similar milestone to the first childs. Suck it in and buy them BOTH new Clarks/measured shoes until they are old enough to wiggle their own toes and tell you if they hurt or rub. Some things you shouldnt skimp on.

    • Reply Jen December 30, 2012 at 8:30 am

      Hi Pam
      I think hubby and I just decided that it would be a false economy buying part used tyres as they obviously then wear out sooner, and we want the piece of mind that the tyres are as safe as can be.
      Must admit I had’t thought about the grooves etc that would be worn into the shoes, but agree with you, we probably should just suck it up and buy new for both of them!
      Thanks for reading-hope you are enjoying!

  • Reply So what did Santa bring..? « My Make Do and Mend Year December 28, 2012 at 7:21 am

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  • Reply Mizz Winkens November 22, 2012 at 10:28 am

    You are SO brave….. Maybe I will be braver after completing the Sewing Challenge! (which, hard as it is, should be a cinch compared to your challenge) : )

    • Reply Jen November 22, 2012 at 10:48 am

      Brave, or stupid…?!! Sometimes I think the latter! Great to have so many people on board with the Love What You Wear Project-we can all support each other!

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