Do you rush out to buy new or have you learned the art of making do? My husband’s hometown is a village where thrift reigns. The people there have long been used to making do. The current trend toward simplicity and frugality is so normal for them, they would ask “Is there any other way?”
I’m often amazed at their makeshift contrivances. And their unusual, often ingenious, ways of reusing and up-cycling. Some of the oddest containers employed as plant pots. The strangest objects joined to form fences.
Nothing is wasted.
Nothing, it seems, goes to waste but gets reused for something. None the less, the way an elderly paesana (townswoman) packaged a gift surprised me.
An old juice bottle filled with wonderful extra, extra virgin olive oil straight from her trees. And home-cured olives ready to eat! And who else but these delightful, thrifty people would present them in a plastic juice bottle and empty cookie bag, tied with a strip cut from durable plastic?
Not me! I’ve always just considered such things trash, not reusable items!
It would undoubtedly mystify her to learn she was being green. She probably didn’t even think of trash problems, or the environment. She just saw something that she could eventually find another use for, and thereby save herself a few pennies.
Make use of what you have.
Unlike that Green Granny, we modern folk often fail to make use of the things we already hold in our hands.
Many people I know, while desiring to be more green, follow fads and trends. And instead of using what they have or making do in some way, often spend money unnecessarily.
I now realize that reusing such things is far better for the planet than recycling them. And it can save a few pennies here and there. Now that’s being green and thrifty – and at no extra cost!
3 Ways to repurpose or reuse:
Try these effortless ways to be like that thrifty, green granny!
1. 🧴 Repurpose Glass, plastic, and cardboard containers
Trying to buy things with little or no packaging is best. But when that’s not possible repurpose those containers to store food items, organize household items, to take food away with you, or even as plant pots!
2. ✉️ Reuse envelopes, paper, or greeting cards
Envelopes or the clean side of used paper make great grocery or to-do lists. And used greeting cards can be made into cute new greeting cards!
3. 🛍️ Reuse Paper and plastic bags
Make the switch to cloth or usable shopping bags. And when you do have to use paper or plastic shopping bags or buy things packaged in them, like the Green Granny reuse them to store food or other items when possible.
I’m grateful for the granny’s lesson of getting back to the old-fashioned ways of our grandparents.
Back to when the adage was: “Make do or do without.” Because it helps us appreciate what we already have, and learn to put to use the things we already have instead of rushing out to buy new.
Perhaps we need to get back to making do, reusing, repurposing, or sometimes even simply doing without. And if people think you’re strange, just tell them you’re protecting God’s creation!Tweet
Now before tossing something I ask, “Is it really trash, or could it be used at least once more?” That empty bread bag? Whether paper or plastic, I stick it to the side. Then pack my husband’s sandwich in it. If coworkers give him funny looks I say, “Tell them you’re protecting God’s creation!”
Actually, we try to buy our food with as little packaging as possible. And I also have my own nifty, homemade sandwich bags that we use over and over. But thanks to Thrifty Granny, I now try to reuse my trash too!
Reusing or repurposing trash is really quite simple. It’s really just a matter of changing our mentality!
Do you repurpose trash, or does the idea seem crazy to you? If you do, share your ideas!
We have forgotten to be good guests, how to walk lightly on the earth as its other creatures do.Barbara Ward