Living simply means trying to make use out of all and any objects that you may have. Being resourceful is a way of life, and learning to make do with what you have is a skill that sometimes we as Americans don't necessarily develop. With access to stores literally at our fingertips, we oftentimes will purchase what we want rather than try to find ways to make what we already have work. This type of consumerism isn't good for us or our planet, and often it leads to an overabundance of "stuff" that we just really don't need.
All you need is a little creativity to make do with what you have. If you run out of an ingredient to make the meal you were planning, look instead in your pantry and refrigerator for foods you already have and be creative with a new meal. Missing an item you need to complete a project? How can you still complete the project's goal without that part? These are challenges that our ancestors were faced with on a daily basis. It was a necessity to develop a mindset of resourcefulness and a skillset of adaptation for survival. The modern conveniences that we have today just simply didn't exist!
Let me help you get started with some ways to "make do" with things you already probably have laying around your house, while simplifying your life (and saving you money!) along the way!
When life rots your bananas, bake.
Our family loves bananas. Each week, I buy 3 big bunches of bananas, and almost every week they are completely eaten up by Day 3 or 4. However, of course there are some weeks when we don't eat them all, and I'm left with sad, brown-speckled bananas staring at me. Because I also really want to feed my family food from scratch that's made with real ingredients, I also don't buy a lot of the traditional snack foods. Or any, really...but that's ok, because I almost always have something else for them to snack on that has been baked from the kitchen. Banana bread, banana muffins, banana cake, banana sourdough pancakes....any of these might be a snack ready to fill a hungry belly- all from bananas that may have been thrown away!
And, if you don't have time to bake with those brown bananas, have no fear! They freeze beautifully and are easy to keep for another day when you might have more time.
Save those bones!
Saving bones after cooking meat is an excellent way to get more bang for your buck from something that's oftentimes wasted. Just recently, I was able to purchase a whole chicken on sale at the store. On day one, I roasted the chicken in the crockpot and served it with potatoes and carrots. After I'd cleaned off as much of the meat that I could, I simply placed the carcass back into the crockpot with the vegetable scraps, added enough water to cover it, and cooked it again overnight. In the morning, it was strained, and I was left with a beautiful chicken broth for soup for another day! From the carcass of that chicken, I was able to get 2 quarts of chicken broth- all from bones that too often are thrown straight into the garbage. If we're going to take a life, we should probably use as much as we can from the life that was given! Making broth is a great way to do that.
One man's trash is a homesteader's treasure
Before you throw ANYTHING away, stop and think about whether or not you could use it again. Sometimes the answer is no, but other times, with a little creative thinking, the answer is yes and you'll find yourself pleased with the outcome.
Here are some commonly used-once-and-thrown-away items that you should keep and reuse today!
Before you buy, see if you can substitute
Did you know you can use these things for substitutions in the kitchen?
These are great substitutions in the home:
Swap, don't buy!
Odds are you may not need something new, but instead are bored with what you have. Rather than going out and purchasing something you don't need, consider removing the items that you're bored with and swapping them with something "new" from a friend. Some items you might consider swapping include:
Think of it as a challenge.
When you're presented with a situation in which you are missing something you need or you are wanting something you really don't need, think of it as a challenge on how you could make do with what you have. Is there something you could substitute? There are so many recipes for how to make your own you-name-it online that you really can find substitutions for a lot of things. Taking that time to simplify your belongings is good for you, and it's good for the earth too. It really is a win, win!
What substitutions do you make in order to "make do"?
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