Make do and mend

We’ve been giving the house a good clean today. The sun has shone and the windows are wide open. We’re both out for hours every day and the house is shut up with the pets in it. It gets a bit……you know…….funky! Our sofas are nearly ten years old and they too are getting a bit………..well, dare I say it? Fusty. I use upholstery cleaner every so often and it freshens them up but they are showing signs of age.

Everything else in our house is second hand and looking a bit faded. I’m shopping around the car boot sales and second hand shops for a few bits and pieces to snazz the place up. I’m bidding on an arm chair on ebay (max price £8!) and I’ll keep my eyes open for bits and pieces to make the place more homely. Nonetheless, if you’ve ever seen ‘How clean is your house?’ with Kim and Aggie, you will know that a good old clean up can make a house look brand new.

Today, I’ve cleaned out the Dyson with warm soapy water and that smells sweeter. I’ve washed the broom, the dust pan and brush and fitted a new mop head. We’ve mended the curtains, where the hem had come down and the curtain hooks were missing. We’ve tidied out the utility room and sorted all of the recycling. We’ve washed the cushion covers and they are blowing in the breeze.

We are making do with everything we have even though I could happily replace the lot of it! I could easily get on the Internet and order new covers for my sofas, a nice rug, some paint for the walls and a few pictures and they in time will need replacing. I know this all sounds stoical and self righteous but it’s too easy to live for what you can buy and too easy to live for what is just momentary and transient. I stopped shopping in 2008 and the second anniversary of not buying anything new has passed (other than underwear, toiletries and essentials for work) and I’ve not looked back. What started as a social experiment has now become a way of life.

I was not so honest in my blog yesterday. I had a hard time in Tavistock. Wealth, conspicuous consumerism, wall to wall posh cars and four by fours were every where. There are truly fantastic local businesses selling food and needed goods but there was a proliferation of kitch, ‘shabby-chic’ and ‘design’ for self and homes. Other than what I saw in the grocers window, I couldn’t see the need for any of it. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed mooching around the charity shops and the pannier market and the scenery and architecture of the place was just beautiful, but the trinkets and tit bits just made me feel giddy with its ‘plushness’.

At heart, I’m just a simply country girl who knows the most beautiful thing in my house is the view of the countryside from my windows. The greatest treasures I have can’t be bought. My furniture may have seen better day and the house might be a bit fusty and out of date but it’s what I have and I’m glad I’m making do and mending. I got off the consumer merry go round and I never want to get back on it again.


10 thoughts on “Make do and mend

  1. I have that book! Really though I had a house like a show home. I worked full time and had two children and would be up in the middle off the night cleaning (I kid you not)! I was in a long and unhappy marriage where I was made to feel worthless and my striving for perfection was all related to my need for some sort of control. Fast forward I now live with my lovely partner in a state of what can only be described as chaos most of the time and loads of things need replacing and repairing and sorting out. The difference is I'm happy! Stuff doesn't make you happy – people do!


  2. Well said Frugal Queen !(and VC)
    I would rather put up with a bit of shabbyness than get new stuff and have to work all hours to pay for it. It's hard when all the boys friends seem to have posher homes, but we make sure they don't go without. Just hope they will realize “things” don't make you happy.
    Jacquie x


  3. Oh ,forgot to say thankyou for the homemade mincmeat link .I made your frugal version and have just tested a bit .Made a few pies with some left over pastry. Delicious.
    Thanks again :0)
    Jacquie x


  4. I know what you mean. I get a little down when I look around the house, but then, when I think about the bliss of beating down debt and retiring, I can do without new carpet, etc. Pays to limit spending to the things that help me actually stretch the paycheck further. Blessings, dear!


  5. While I totally agree with you, I guess we need the people who have money to spend, in order to provide jobs for all those who produce the goods and the shops in small towns are often providing a lot of part-time and full time employment.


  6. i'm never offended but I think I've been misunderstood. Read the post again and you will see that I don't advocate living the way I do. It's a blog and not a politcal braodcast, merely my anti consumerist thoughts. No one has to do what I do. It's a free world and if you read back through my blog you will see that I believe in freedom and democracy so people can live as they please.


  7. Growing up in the late 50's in a small terrace house in Manchester no one had posh houses or cars, no keeping up with the Joneses required back then:) They were the best years of my life♥ My car is 12 years old and yes I would like a new, smaller and more economical car but hate the idea of parting with 'Henry' and then having to pay off a new car. Like you our sofas are only 9 years old but they will last for a few more years. I loved shopping but around 10 years ago I began to really dislike going to shopping centres. When I do have to go you are surrounded by so many lovely things that you do start to think oh wouldn't that be lovely, I'd love that etc. etc. I now say to myself but do I really need that:)

    We spend a lot of money going to visit my family back home in the UK. Yes I could have bought a new car outright, sofas etc but seeing my family is worth every penny we spend. As VC said “stuff doesn't make you happy – people do”♥ Linda xx


  8. I stopped purchasing “new” at the begining of this year (except for undies, hair/tooth brushes, and some gifts).
    It was a challenge to be more eco that has grown to a frugal lifestyle too. And I love living like this. No more stress of buying expensive unneeded new stuff. Everything is though out more carefully now.
    I talk about my eco-frugalistic ways on my Frugal Down Under Blog. I get a lot out of your blog and feel inspired by you.
    I would like to make soap but very daunted by it.


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