After I gave birth to my son I bought a brown printed dress to accommodate my size at the time. I loved the dress but now it just feels too big and frumpy on me. So I hauled out my old portable Sears/Kenmore circa 1960 sewing machine and fashioned the dress into a skirt. And I made a hair scarf with the extra fabric. My, I am pleased with myself for doing that. Don’t you love it when you make something new out of something you were going to give away? And the smell of the old sewing machine! How I have missed that smell, it brought me back to summers at the cottage with my mom sewing up new green jumpsuits for my sister and I.
We’ve been having a lot of conversations on the disposability of our current culture and how people don’t really (or aren’t able) to repair things anymore. This issue comes up as we pack our things and ask the question “what do we really need/use?” So in our house we are making an attempt to only purchase items that will last for years and years and are capable of being repaired (hopefully by us), and that we love.
This may sound easy, but it can be challenging given that many items are now designed to be disposable (razors, appliances, technology to name a few). It can take a bit of work to seek out items that will last a lifetime, but I feel it is an important and worthy endeavor. My husband is currently researching the old fashioned razors, which are $65 at the low end, but the replacement blades run around 15 cents (as opposed to paying over 10 dollars for a package of 6 replacement blades for the modern day versions). The handle itself will last for the rest of your life. The simplicity of this is a beautiful thing.
Other items that we have acquired that can last for many years and/or be repaired, leather shoes, wool mattresses, wool bedding, hemp clothing, bicycles, canvas quilts, cast iron pans/pots, canvas bags, the 1960′s sewing machine, guitars, amplifier, wooden furniture and more. Interestingly these are all things that we love and care for on a regular basis and in turn we enjoy using them so much more than things that are not designed to last. There is a solidity to them, they are often more tactile (feel good in the hand), and the necessary process of caring for them (oiling them, or cleaning them) causes us to be mindful and appreciate them on a regular basis. This leads to greater enjoyment in the long run.
If only the technology realm would get into this. What about making wooden “cases” that hold laptop components, so you could keep the same case for years and just replace the innards? Or some kind of permanent “shells” for cell phone parts.
If you have any experiences with objects that last, or some suggestions for alternatives to disposablity please feel free to share them in the comments above.