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Back in May we packed quite nearly everything we own, at least all the good stuff as far as I can see, and put it in storage.  We were headed for a stay at a supposedly furnished apartment during Husband’s six month stint of training before we head to Japan.  Well, we found out that “furnished” means different things to different people, hence the “supposedly” back there.  We are also finding out just how much we can do without. 

Use it up

I had heard and enjoyed the phase before: Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without!  Turns out, it comes from a WWII poster, when times were truly dire and conservation was absolutely vital.  Sewing on a patch while he’s fixing a birdcage-type-thingy?  Husband and I have never been that productive.  Nowadays resources are abundant and it’s easy enough to go out and buy a new one rather than to take care of what you have or simply doing without. 

You’d be surprised at the amount of superfluous items in your kitchen.  For example, did you know that you can get by with just one large pot and one large pan?  It’s not fun, but it can be done.  How many of your t-shirts do you actually wear (according to Husband, all of them)?  What is filling up your bookshelves?  Your linen closets?  When we do get our stuff back, we will not be giving it all away, because, frankly, we like it.  It’s just interesting to consider which stuff enhances our lives and homes and which clutters and complicates.

Now, there are things that are just necessary.  Like a shower curtain.  Or a pan to catch the drippings from your meatloaf (picture lots of smoke).  At first we approached these items from the cheapest standpoint possible.  Well, do you have any idea how quickly a three dollar shower curtain will rip?  Did you know that those one dollar disposable pans do not stand up to multiple uses?  I was shocked too.  So, for these types of items we bit the bullet and bought better quality that we can be proud to donate to Goodwill when we are finished. 


How we’re making it do:

Sold one car

I’ve had a bike since high school that had barely been ridden until now (Husband may love his more than he loves my meatloaf).  We are saving money on gas and insurance and rekindling love for riding in circles around empty parking lots. 

Took the computer to the shop

We were both avoiding it.  But when the blue screen of death appeared multiple times, it was time to talk to a professional.  Best $79 dollars I ever spent; that computer runs better than when we first got it and we don’t have to spend $1,000+ on a new one.

Had Husband’s boots repaired

I guess I really didn’t know that people did this anymore.  But when you only have to pay $10 for a repair instead of $100+ for a new pair that you have to break in, it’s win-win-win.

Bought a DVD-tutorial for my camera

Ok, this one may seem a bit exorbitant and irrelevant by WWII standards, but hear me out.  I had already had this brand new camera for about three months and still hadn’t the slightest idea how to do anything but turn it on.  Why have all of this STUFF if you aren’t going to use it?  I figured not using it was equivalent to wasting it, and those people on the WWII poster would be having none of that.


Photo Credit: National Archives


Visit the National Archive site above for more intriguing money saving propaganda.  Find out why riding alone in your car is like riding with Hitler…