Back by popular request, the 30 day Makeover continues … at least as long as I can keep it going. As I have explained before, it mostly comes down to housing, transportation, and food. There are really no magic tricks other than discovering that you will be just as happy — but probably more motivated — if you spend 20% of what you’re currently spending while saving the rest.

For any new readers, you will find a summary of the first 14 days on day 15, where I used the pro-blogging trick of saving time while gaining stickiness at the same time :-D .

Today, I’m going to talk about repairing and maintaining things. As a society of “use and throw away” these skills and habits have entirely fallen into disrepair. What’s the point of maintaining something when it will be replaced by a newer and more fashionable item next year? Often items are not even built to be repaired as they use either sophisticated electronics or molded plastic.

The challenge thus comes in two parts — and I can empathetically state that this is the area that I find to be the most challenging.

  1. You must acquire things that have been constructed to be repairable(*).
  2. You must learn to do some or most of these repairs yourself.

For the first item, I’m not and I’m never suggesting that you toss a functional object just to buy another object. That is just wrong! You wouldn’t toss a pet either just because you lost interest or found something cuter, right? Ownership implies responsibility: You were responsible for digging raw resources out of the ground and now you’re responsible for getting the maximum use out of the object, so there … [rant over]. Such items are often built using “traditional” methods dating back to the era before chip electronics and plastics. In other words, if it’s built of metal, wood, or natural fibers, it is typically repairable.
For the second item, you must get in the habit of maintaining your stuff. This usually means cleaning after use, storing things well (something I’m not very good at), and replacing or repairing breaking parts before they start breaking down other parts.

The easiest way to get into this “repair-business” is to darn socks and other clothes with holes in them (this reminds me, I have three socks with holes in them). Typically you use a thread comparable in type with whatever you’re darning the hole in e.g. for wool socks, use wool, otherwise the thread might cut the sock, say, and result in a bigger hole. Such repairs will significantly extend the lifetime of your clothing.

After this, you can move onto warped pots, hinges, drawers, backpacks … and advanced repairmen might want to tackle their own engine repair, etc.

(*) If you’re really really good, what you do is to build the things yourself rather than buy them, That way you know you can fix any problem that might occur. It is the ultimate insurance and one of the main reasons for doing it yourself.