Making do

“Make do, do without, use it up, and wear it out.”

My mother was fond of that old saying, and she put it into practice on a daily basis. No scrap of fabric, not one bite of food, no article of clothing or shoes was ever thrown into the trash. Mom even washed the aluminum foil and reused it over and over again, smoothing out each crease and folding it carefully for the next use. Our plates were so clean when we finished eating that I often wondered at the necessity of washing them. I tried voicing that philosophy to her once, and after receiving “the look”, I vowed to keep that particular opinion to myself from then on as I slaved over the sinkful of dishes.

I am my mother’s daughter, and I hold onto things, and reuse things that other people wouldn’t bother washing. There’s always more where that came from seems to be their philosophy. I do have to admit that when things get crazy in the kitchen, especially when I’m cooking a big holiday meal, I tend to not be quite as careful and toss for convenience sake. And I don’t save every butter and yogurt container the way I used to. I do save a few to put used oil and meat drippings for the trash. I have a hard enough time keeping my purchased plastic containers in order. I surely don’t need to add to the chaos.

There are two large containers of cast-off clothing in the basement to be used as rags for cleaning. If I ever cleaned that much, I would be worn to a frazzle. David just cleaned out his t-shirt supply after I told him I was no longer washing the ones with frayed necks. Well, they make great dust cloths. Ummm, I don’t do much of that either. It’s my least favorite housecleaning chore. I enjoy having a clean house. I just don’t enjoy the path that I have to take to get there.

I’m baking bread today. The aroma is wafting over to the island where I’m sitting at the laptop. We had to buy all new appliances for the new house. I thought we would be able to get by with the old oven for a couple of years, but last month it died. The door would no longer close, so it wouldn’t heat properly. It was a double oven—microwave on top, regular oven on bottom. I really wanted a double oven with two baking units like I had in my remodeled kitchen on Bear Swamp, but that kind wouldn’t fit in the space, plus I didn’t want a microwave taking up valuable counter space. I went with the same type, but with a convection oven on the bottom. I was leery of this move, because the one I had installed in the other house didn’t perform the way I had hoped it would. Pizza crusts didn’t brown on the bottom, trays of cookies didn’t bake evenly, etc. It was a GE Profile. I researched, mostly to read reviews, because all of the brands are so similar that one could easily say eeny-meeny-miney-mo, or play pin the tail on the appliance. The oven I chose is a Whirlpool Gold series. The convection feature works perfectly as far as I can tell, at least a lot better than the GE oven did. I especially love the convection roast feature. It beautifully crisps the skin on chicken, but leaves the meat tender and juicy. I can’t wait to try it on my Thanksgiving turkey.

I realize that I didn’t quite have a point here, but I was thinking about my mom and that started a little reminiscing. Hope you don’t mind.

See you soon.


5 thoughts on “Making do

  1. I have the GE profile and I hardly use the convection oven. I do use it to heat the oven because it gets hot quicker on convection. 🙂 will definitely keep the Whirlpool Gold series in mind if it every breaks.

    We are in a disposable world now. My mother used to save foil wrap, too. She used and reused everything. I’ve recently watched the Roosevelt Series; they had to live through so much during the depression. We all grew up hearing about it, but living through it is another thing. It changed them.


    • You’re not just kidding about living in a disposable world. I know a lot of people who don’t bother to recycle anything. We don’t have curbside recycling out here in the country, but we take as much as we can to our county center. There are people in town who don’t do it, and all they have to do is wheel to the curb the nice big container provided by the city. Is it just laziness, or do they just not care? Or is it both? Probably.

      Thanksgiving will definitely be the real test for my new oven. I will probably be using all three racks at once for pie baking, and when I take the turkey out and all the other dishes go in. The dressing, the sweet potatoes, the sprouts. I can just see the electric meter spinning its little heart out. 🙂


      • When I was living with Dad, they had the curbside pickup. I loved it. We were always dragging stuff to the end of the driveway. They picked up on Tuesdays, but we would put it out on the weekend and often everything was gone before Tuesday. People would drive by, stop and load it up in their car/truck. Fine with me. Now we take out stuff to Goodwill. That’s works, too.


  2. If everybody did what you do, the world would be a cleaner, more organised and less wasteful place, that’s for sure. My mother and grandmother’s Depression-era experiences have left their mark on me to some extent, but I throw out more than I should. But on the other hand, my sewing machine is my most valuable tool and I will mend and re-mend until I finally have to concede defeat. Thank goodness for commercial recyclers of clothing!
    I try to hold back on new purchases by determining if it’s actually a duplicate of something I already have, even if a new and improved one. Or I try to do the ‘one in, one out’ thing, although that can just end up as a rationalisation to get something new!
    I live with a keeper of things, and that has had an inverse effect on my own habits of hanging on to stuff, ‘just in case’. But the biggest influence on me was having to clear out my mom’s house of 55 years. When I saw the kinds of things she kept (she wasn’t a hoarder, just kind of a collector) I vowed never to be like that. My friends call me ruthless, and will call on me to do their culling, but what they don’t realise is that it’s way easier to do it for somebody else than for myself.
    Love reading you, Susie.


    • I also live with a keeper of things. I was astounded that he purged as much as he did when we moved, but he really had no choice. I probably was more reluctant to get rid of things than he was. It was like once he started he couldn’t quit. Our plan is to not be here long enough to accumulate the junk that we did on Bear Swamp (we have a five year plan.) It’s just ridiculous.

      I dread the day when we have to do it for his parents. Oh god, it will be bad.


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