Updated: Nov 24, 2020
In spite of the insanity and current tension we are all living through that is 2020 I just felt like writing a pleasant little ramble today.
I was burying some compost in my backyard the other day and remembered an old American Proverb that I love, “Get all you can. Can all you get. Then guard the can.” I’ve read the saying originates from the era of the Great Depression when people were canning fruits and vegetables left and right to keep from starving. Makes sense.
I love this saying; it means to value your resources and use them wisely. I find valuing resources sorely lacking in the world. I see so many people wasting food. So many people just throwing away clothes and shoes that could easily be reused by someone else. It kills me how many times I see people wasting paper that could easily be used for printing on the back of or at least used for scrap notes.
I reuse everything and waste nothing. By the time trash day comes, I usually have only one or two plastic grocery bags of trash to throw away. If that.
In part because of my penchant for reusing anything and everything, I love going to garage sales. Garage sales, estate sales, rummage sales, even the occasional second-hand shop, they all hold a certain allure for me. Each sale is like a little treasure hunt. I never know what I’ll find, a lovely decoration, a dish that completes a set, a useful piece of office or lawn equipment, a useful household contraption that makes laundry easier. Whatever.
I go out, “Garage saleing”, nearly every weekend with my mom. Sometimes we hit pay dirt, sometimes we don’t. But the search is usually interesting. I’ve written a previous post about how I once found a lost pet chicken at a yard sale. (That was an awesome answer to prayer! See the post, His eye is on the Chicken.)
I love making old things new. I love seeing some old piece of furniture that I can reuse or upscale. I love seeing some new to me appliance I can give a few more years of life to, some piece of equipment I can get a few more years of use out of. And writer/ artist that I am, I get the biggest charge out of finding stray art supplies.
Awhile back I found a set of soft pastels and some charcoal squares. Sometimes I even find a nice paintbrush. The set of drawing pencils and charcoals and map pencils I’ve used for all of my drawings so far are all items I’ve recovered from various garage, estate and rummage sales. Even the paper I’ve used for practice is mostly bits of old pads I’ve found that had a few sheets left that I rescued.
Yes, I said it, I rescue paper.
Especially if it’s something thick and strong and heavy that I think it can stand up to the weight of artwork.
I know a lot of people who are cleaning house right now and getting rid of stuff they don’t need, so look around, what can you sell or give away that might be useful to someone else? What can you get rid of that might lighten your load of care?
There’s another old American proverb that I live by, “Use it up, wear it out, make it due or do without.” I live by this proverb, for though I am artsy, I am also practical. Really stop and break down that saying, don’t just skim it over;
“Use it up…”: to get every last bit of use out of every resource and commodity you have.
“…Wear it out…”: Use every piece of equipment to the point that it is beyond repair or further use before replacing it.
“…Make it do…”: Work with what you have for as long as you have to, to do what you need to do.
“…Or do without…”: If you can’t afford or can’t procure something, deal with the lack and do the best work you can, with what you have, where you are- because you have to.
If you don’t, “Do Without”, the only other option is to give up.
And giving up is NEVER an option.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”