Looking around this cluttered house, I see a lot of things in a state of limbo. Some are recyclables, waiting in heaps to be taken to various holding zones (the cellar, the porch) before heading off to the local council or supermarket recycling facilities. Others are waiting (often in vain) to find their way back to their rightful homes… carefully folded clothes balanced on a chair back, not-quite-finished- and- yet-abandoned art projects & games, stuff waiting hopefully on the bottom stair (ignored & sidestepped by my family whenever they head upstairs.) An even sadder sub-group of dispossessed stuff is the weird & wonderful collection of items waiting patiently to be fixed.
I don’t chuck out broken things. I know that holes can be sewn up, cracks can be glued, and lost screws replaced. It might be a generational thing. Having experienced the hardship of the war years, my parents knew how to make things last. Theirs was a world of hand-me-downs, make do and mend. Consequently, the next generation also grew up knowing how to care for and value their stuff. At Christmas time, we would open our presents very, very carefully so the wrapping paper could be saved and reused the following December (and this didn’t even seem odd to us.) Nowadays, it is far too easy not to fix and reuse. Things can be replaced on a whim, with little thought to the consequences.
It was with a sigh of relief that I read about Mend It May. Across twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and numerous blogs, #menditmay stories and pictures have entertained & inspired me; people demonstrating their ingenuity, artistic flair & determination to revamp a well-loved cardi, kick-start a grumpy appliance, or fix that wonky whatever. Here was the timely nudge I needed to sort out all those mending chores!
Well, I didn’t exactly go to town on the long list… but I’ve made a start! My first job was fixing a favourite rucksack which I’d stopped using because the front pocket was hanging off. Once the needle and thread was located, this really didn’t take long. On a bit of a high, I also sewed up a big hole in the pocket of my favourite jacket. No more struggling to remove a ringing phone from the hidden depths of my coat! Finally, looking down at the skirt I was wearing (a clothes swap fave) I fixed the three small holes which I’d been ignoring. An hour of tackling these jobs seems nothing compared to the hours of irritation saved.
When my son arrived home from work, I asked for his coat so I could sew up the holes in his pockets too…. but he was horrified at the thought. Apparently, he prefers to have a mega pocket which goes all the way round his coat!