‘Make do and mend’ is a concept that has roots in World War II. During the war, many shops, factories and businesses were closed. All of a sudden there was a shortage of essential everyday items- sound familiar?
Brits are lucky enough to be able to access essential supplies, like food and medicine, but the pandemic is the perfect time to upcycle your home and save some money while you are at it.
Express.co.uk spoke to Nicola Lewis, also known as @ThisGirlCanOrganise on Instagram, to find out her ‘make do and mend’ suggestions for you to try at home.
Nicola’s book ‘Mind Over Clutter’ talks you through the process of cleaning your way to a calm and happy home.
It’s the ultimate guide to eco-cleaning and arranging your home in a practical, sustainable and meaningful way.
The book is packed with step-by-step and room-by-room plans, with the end-goal being a decluttered and organised home.
At the moment, it’s tricky to declutter because can’t donate things to the charity shop or sell them on.
Nicola suggests Brits ‘Make do and mend’ while in lockdown.
She said: “This process does not only save you money but keeps your mind occupied and your hands busy.”
Read on to find out her top tips.
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Make do and mend: Fancy saving some money? Read these tips
Make do and mend: Growing your own veg is a money saver and eco-friendly
Grow your own veg
Can’t find the vegetables you’re looking for in the supermarket, or wanting to avoid the shops as much as possible?
Growing your own veg and herbs is the way around this.
Nicola said: “Growing your own vegetables can be so rewarding.
“It’s great for the mind allowing you to escape from the routine, and it’s good exercise with all that digging.
“Growing veg yourself will save you money, and reduce your plastic usage.
“If you are lucky enough to have a garden, use the space you have to make your own produce.
“If you live in a flat try, you can still grow vegetables.”
Nicola suggested: “Try using some pots or window boxes and plant tomatoes, peppers and herbs.
“After a couple of months, you’ll have pasta sauce ingredients for all year round!”
Make do and mend: Use newspaper to clean the mirrors and windows
Make your own cleaning products
Eager to keep your house squeaky-clean but don’t want to spend more money?
Nicola recommends making your own products from scratch.
She said: “If you add up the prices of the items under your kitchen sink, you will find it costs you a fortune.
“I personally like to make my own eco-cleaners as I know it’s safe for my home, everyone in my household, and the environment.
“All you need is some bicarbonate of soda, white vinegar and either some essential oils or citrus peels.”
You can make your own disinfectant from a few drops of tea tree oil, 50ml of cooled boiled water, and 50ml of vinegar.
Tired of forking out for cloths and sponges? Newspaper will do the trick.
Nicola explained: “Newspaper is great for cleaning mirrors and windows.
“Simply spray a mixture of water and vinegar to the area and wipe them down with the newspaper for a streak-free result.”
Lemon is your new best friend.
Nicola said: “Lemon is a natural mild disinfectant that fits into the palm of your hand. “It’s great for cleaning most thing around the house such as your microwave, wooden cutting boards and copper cookware.”
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Make your own beauty products
If, like Nicola, you are missing your trips to the beauty salon or spa, why not bring these treatments to your home?
Nicola said: “Now is the time to embrace and make do with the items we have at home while enjoying some self-care pamper sessions.”
If you have run out of your favourite lotions and potions, you could rummage through your kitchen cupboards and try making your own.
One ingredient that is great for your skin is natural yoghurt, Nicola said.
She explained: “Just smother some natural yoghurt on your face and use it as a mask.
“Wipe it off with a flannel and warm water when you want to take it off.”
Another beauty hack is a concoction of olive oil and sea salt.
Nicola said: “This mixture makes an invigorating and nourishing body scrub.
“If you have any essentials oils then add a few drops into your scrub for added scent.”
Who could forget about coconut oil?
Nicola advises using the stuff on your hair.
She commented: “Coconut oil adds shine and softens your hair!
“It is great for all hair types and also helps to reduce dandruff.”
Make do and mend: Make your own beauty products with ingredients at home
Learn to sew
We all have that piece of clothing that we love but can’t quite squeeze into anymore.
Nicola advises fixing them up before buying new garments.
She said: “If you have clothes that you love but no longer fit, now is a great time to get alternating them.
“There’s loads of YouTube tutorials that teach you how to sew step-by-step, so slot in a time during the day to give it a try.”
If you are considering throwing a piece of clothing away, Nicola would normally suggest donating it to charity.
Since you can’t get to the charity shop during the pandemic, you should up-cycle this item.
Nicola advised: “If you have an item of clothing that you’re not loving anymore, consider updating it or reuse the fabric by cutting it up.
“You could turn clothing into a new hair bandana or reusable fabric gift wrap.”
Make do and mend: No good at sewing? Learn the skill through Youtube videos
Nicola is a pioneer for reusable packaging.
She said: “I always like to reuse packaging whenever it comes into our home.
“You can turn packaging into handy storage solutions.
“Gift boxes and shoeboxes are a fabulous way to store and organise your bedside table, underwear drawers, or crafts cupboard.”
She suggested: “Take away containers are great for junk drawers in the kitchen.
“They also make great organisers for your beauty drawers, as they are perfect for containing smaller items.”