Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Defending Make Do and Mend: A DIY Manifesto

The "Keep Calm and Carry On" poster from World War II era Britain is so popular my eyes burn when I see it. It's even become the subject of tender satire. But I've been thinking a lot lately about it's only slightly less well known cousin "Make Do and Mend".

Our culture of buy, use, and toss has wider implications for our pocket books, the environment and our national ethos. Do It Yourself isn't just about saving money, though that is a wonderful benefit. It's also about taking the time to consider a problem, being resourceful and self reliant. It also forces one to be more thoughtful about how one uses and disposes of things. In my opinion, careful thought is always worth cultivating.

In my office, there are three mirrored closet doors that have stubbornly refused to stay on the sliding tracks. It's been quite hazardous actually. Since I can't stand to look at the clutter of art supplies in my closet, I've had the doors propped against the closet opening. This has created steadily mounting chaos inside the closet, since I toss things in to avoid lifting the doors out of the way. There was also a greusome accident when one of the doors toppled over and cut E's arm.(It could have been much worse, but it was still scary.)

After we examined the doors, we discovered that the wheels on the bottom were snapped off. A trip to Home Depot with the offending parts and some screw driver wielding by E put things right. Admittedly, this is a small thing. But taking the time to asses the problem, find a solution, install it and see the resulting improvement in my daily life was immensely satisfying. I have a feeling I'll see a boost in productivity in my office as a direct result.

So while "Keep Calm and Carry On" has value, (who can't benefit from more deep breathing?) I'd argue that "Make Do and Mend" is even more relevant for my life right this second. Which concept has more relevance for you?


amy said...

It this very moment, "Keep Calm and Carry On" is more relevant, but I appreciate both sentiments very much. I think the media is to blame for so much angst and hype about the current state of affairs.

Lu. Lu. said...

I like what you said about DIY being resourceful and self reliant. Theres always a great sense of accomplishment afterwards.

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