Environment minister Lord de Mauley says we send too much to landfill and should make do and recycle more. What would get you to make do, mend and sell on eBay?
I see nothing wrong with a bit of ‘make do and mend’. In fact I have a reputation for doing so – but I needed the knowledge and confidence to take that first step.
For instance, my first few eBay transactions only took place because I was reassured that the site was safe and protected. However, as we’ve found, there are still fakes out there. Similarly, I was sceptical of joining ZipCar – an example of ‘making do’ rather than having my own vehicle – until I was reassured it’d be worth it.
Getting the know-how
The knowledge that something is actually possible is also needed. I used to throw out stale bread and bones until Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall showed me that making croutons, breadcrumbs and stock was quick and simple. Now we have some very tasty meals. I’m sure many of you have families who pass down this knowledge, but others, like me, had to be shown it was possible and how to do it.
Friends can help too. We recently bought a house and had an old dining table and chairs donated. The chairs were a bit tatty, but we didn’t realise that it was fairly painless to recover them until friends told us that they’d done the same before. In the end it only cost us about £10 a chair.
Something for nothing
Knowing that quality can come for nothing was also worth discovering. It’s something that Kirstie Allsopp has been championing on Channel 4 in her show Fill Your House for Free. Even demanding people like me can still get good freebies. I wanted an extra bookshelf and had very particular demands (it had to be the right size and made from solid wood). Yet, after only three weeks of keeping an eye on Gumtree, I found one. And I could only collect it because I had a ZipCar van.
Of course, I can’t do everything myself. I have a solid mahogany desk that was tatty and in pieces when I saw it in the restorer’s yard. But, thanks to the expert restorer, it now looks as good as when it was first built two centuries ago.
Despite this, I wonder what else I’m missing out on due to a lack of awareness of either the expert who can fix something up for a good price, the seller who’s keen to shift something, or the simple skills needed to do it myself.