November 7, 2015

10 Ways To Use It Up

I find it an enjoyable challenge to see how much mileage I can get out of things. I have leather hiking boots that I purchased in 1988. I still wear them often.

One way to reduce your environmental footprint is to use everything to its fullest extent.

We live in a disposable world where fashion dictates throwing out the old to be replaced by the latest trends. But a harvest gold or avocado green range in the kitchen heats food as well as a white, black, or stainless steel model.

If you use stuff until it is no longer usable, cleaning, maintaining and repairing along the way, you will find that you don't need to buy things very often.

Whether it is a tube of toothpaste, a pair of boots, or a piece of scrap paper used to write weeks worth of grocery lists, it deserves to be used for as long as possible before repurposing or recycling.

10 Ways to Use It Up

  1. Don't waste food. Eat what needs to be eaten rather than whatever you feel like. Save and use leftovers.
  2. Before throwing anything in the trash or recycling ask, "Is there anything I can use this for?"
  3. Wear clothes longer than fashion tells you to. Quality clothing can last many years.
  4. Squeeze the tube or bottle until empty, then cut it open to get the rest.
  5. Only use as much of something as you need, and no more - it will take longer to use up.
  6. Take good care of things and they will last longer - do as much maintenance yourself as possible.
  7. If you must buy something, look for quality items that will last longer. The lowest price item is not necessarily the best choice.
  8. Ignore advertisers and any person that tells you that you need 'newer' or 'better' stuff. Chances are you don't.
  9. Think about how you can honour Mother Earth by using her gifts as lovingly and efficiently as possible.
  10. Live gently and contentedly and you will find that you end up using less everything. What you do use will last longer.


  1. gretchen11/08/2015

    as an old new england saying goes, 'use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.' that advice has stood me in good stead for decades.

    1. Yes - it was right then, and it is right now. Probably more right now than ever before considering a growing population and rampant consumerism on one hand, and resource depletion and eco-break down on the other.

  2. I grew up with the saying "Waste not want not". I am trying to live by it. I get great pleasure out of ignoring fashions and trends and instead mending my stuff. My husband gave me a beautiful old weave for my birthday. When I get that working I can recycle all old clothing/bedclothes etc. into floormats. Here we call them filleryer. Grew up with them too. My winter boots are ready for their 3 rd. Winter season and will keep on walking until they fall apart. Pam in Norway

    1. Mother Earth loves you, and thanks you. Smart husband.

  3. Carolina11/09/2015

    The Zero waste-movement has been growing alot and people are seeking an alternative to the disposable lifestyle. There are some good blogs on the subject; Zero waste home, Trash is for tossers and No trash project. And many of the Zero wasters see the connection between making less waste and simple living!

    1. Carolina,

      Thank you - I am looking for blogs on this topic to add to my blogroll. Will probably check out "Trash is for tossers" first. Less stuff means less waste - the two groups are working toward the same things in a mutually beneficial relationship.

      The result of taking the disposable world to the extreme is that eventually human life, indeed all life, become disposable. We don't want that. Thanks again for the reference. It is appreciated.

  4. Anonymous11/11/2015

    Ha ha, I thought I was doing well by re-using a grocery list two or three times. Yours takes it to a whole new level.

    1. Some might call me obsessive, but to me it just makes sense. I try to honour the gifts Mother Earth has bestowed upon me, like scraps of paper and things with which to write on it. You are doing great with a two or three time list!

  5. Thought provoking list.

    I'm wearing a pair of tennis shoes that I've glued the soles back on 3 times! I use them for work 3 days a week, most comfortable shoes I own! I'm a part time painter, do yard work, construction and demolition, etc. There's very little tread left on the bottom of shoes. It doesn't seem to matter!

    I've heard runner say they replace their shoes every so many miles run. They actually keep up with how many miles they have on each pair of shoes. I'm sure advertisers came up with the limit so people will keep buying new shoes regularly. One man I know buys a new pair of running shoes every 3 months!

    Love those Zero Waste folks. I've reduced my waste significantly. Not only do I have much less trash for the landfill, I have less recycling items because I'm very mindful of not buying stuff that's over packaged.

    If we use it up, "we" will probably last longer!!


Comments will be printed after moderation to eliminate spam. We are proudly a no buying, no selling website.

We enjoy reading all comments, and respond when time permits.

If you put a name to your comment we can all recognize you for your contribution.

Thank you for visiting and commenting.