. Don’t Wear It Out, Use It Up, Make Do, or Do Without …
Recently, I noticed a man taking a hymnbook home from church. I later learned he regularly watched for hymnbooks that showed a bit of tear, wear or dismemberment and carefully mended them before returning them to their place.
I have another neighbor all of us can call on. She never seems to be without the small needs of running a home. Whether it is videos to borrow for a summer cold, or fresh peaches from her trees to fill some empty jars, or an item from her kitchen to complete a meal, she has it in stock.
I have a third acquaintance that has a tidy, well-stocked garage workshop, complete with spare screws, nuts, and bolts for any upcoming project.
All three of these people well understand how to take good care of items before they reach retirement age. They have the sources to replenish when needed. They are careful to be ready before the need for the need. This is a skill that saves time, trouble, and frustration.
A well-known and frugal saying is: Wear it out, use it up, make do or do without. I would like to add some additional, useful words: DON’T wear it out, use it up, make do or do without, WITHOUT also having an alternative plan, a backup tool, or a spare part!
There are many times when I’m simply not prepared for the inevitable challenges that life brings. I think you know what I mean. I run out of plastic line for the lawn trimmer in the middle of Saturday’s work, or use a favorite pair of Levis until an essential seam rips open during the wash cycle, or keep a beloved vacuum and nurse it along hoping that it won’t break anytime soon.
While I am all for duct tape and the miracles of creative repairs after an item has completely broken, I also believe you must be thinking ahead if you are have a more orderly life. There are three useful principles to employ: renew before, repair before, and prepare to replace before.
If you occasionally run out of gas while mowing the lawn, wouldn’t it be smart to have a second, spare container stored and ready? Then the newly emptied gas container can be conveniently filled the next time you’re at the station.
If your shoelace is getting a little thin and close to breaking, what will you do if it wears through when you are in the middle of an important event and can’t divert for a shopping trip?
And if the vacuum is on its last legs, what will be the best next purchase to make? While you might not always replace an item before it actually breaks, when it begins to wheeze, you may want to shop for its replacement sooner than later.
You probably have several of these kind of trusted and treasured tools, clothing and habits in your lives. At least, if you are like many people that I coach, you do. (And as a confession, I’m still working on this skill, too.) So for a few minutes sometime this week, make a written list of where can you better prepare for the eventual “dysfunction or demise” of the somethings that have served you well for a long time and are close to choking.
You see, it is better to get ready now and know what the next step will be instead of waiting and worrying when items run empty, begin to tear or outright break.
Again, having spare gas is good for any lawnmower. Having backup toilet paper is great for any relationship. Keeping a spare printer cartridge is needful for any busy family.
Is your refrigerator starting to make funny sounds? Maybe a session on the Internet regarding refrigerators reviews and upgraded technology would help. Or, maybe an evening date with your spouse shopping for this appliance might be wise. Then, if and when the refrigerator does bite the dust, you are ready to purchase with confidence.
You always want to be “at your leisure” when you make repairs, renew backups, and replace new tools and treasures. You save time and make better decisions using this method.
So this month, as you work through your routines, walk through your daily schedule, and otherwise find items that you regularly rely on, ask, “What if this button falls off completely? How will I handle no printer paper during the conference? What will I do if the griddle doesn’t heat up again?”
It will be easier that way and you will find you’ll feel more in charge of at least one important area of your time and your life.
Have a good week. Find more helpful ideas in the House of Order Handbook.
Photos used with permission of sxc.hu and ozan.