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Our thrifty parents

(86 Posts)
mrsmopp Thu 25-Aug-16 13:32:02

Money was tight, things were rationed so our parents had to be thrifty compared to today's throw away culture. Mum saved string, brown paper was smoothed and folded to be used again. She would scrape with a knife every scrap of butter from the paper it was wrapped in, then used the paper to line her cake tins.
Outgrown knitted clothes were unpicked and knitted into something else. Dad had jam jars full of screws and rusty nails. He fixed Phillips stick on soles to all the shoes. When my sandals were to small he cut out the toes and I wore them for playing in.
Do you have similar memories? They would be shocked at today's waste.

Mumsy Thu 25-Aug-16 14:00:02

still do most of that mrsmop, I dont waste anything.

Synonymous Thu 25-Aug-16 14:15:15

Us too!

PRINTMISS Thu 25-Aug-16 14:39:29

And us - old habits die hard, and we still have jars of nails, screws, buts, bolts, together with some odd knives, forks and spoons, no idea why.

Stansgran Thu 25-Aug-16 14:44:16

Mrs mopp I think we had the same parents.

Izabella Thu 25-Aug-16 15:37:06

Do all of that myself!!!!! Common sense I say. Also save seeds and make plant labels from yoghurt pots, etc., I could go on ...............

TriciaF Thu 25-Aug-16 15:47:49

I recognise most of those things, mrsmopp. Except for the knitting, Mum couldn't knit. But she gave old woollens to my Dad's Mum, who could.
She never wasted any food. She put breadcrusts in the base of the oven to dry out when it was on, then flattened them with a rolling pin and used for crumbing fishcakes and meat rissoles. Both made from leftovers. She was an excellent cook.
New clothes were a rarity, but always bought 'too big', then hems takenup etc to be let down again as we grew.

Charleygirl Thu 25-Aug-16 15:54:50

My house is so cluttered because I also save stuff- brown paper in case I need to use it again and clothes, just in case. I think we all had very similar parents. My new clothes drowned me because I wore them for years. My school clothes were bought when I was 11 and I was still wearing the same when I left school aged 17 in the July, to be 18 in September. Some were a tad tight, especially my tunic!

Synonymous Thu 25-Aug-16 16:26:38

I have been learning the 'new reality' as in 'it is all in your mind and is never going to happen and you will never do xyz' and 'enough is enough'! grin

When we decided to move I started down-sizing, passing things on to the family or friends, recycled, gave to charity shops and took other stuff to the tip. I thought we had done really well but have continued clearing since the move and can see a very organised and clutter free home emerging now.

DH has been severely challenged in his man-cave, garage and shed and has started to clear these areas himself as he sees the time coming when his are the only areas which need attention. He knows what might happen then! grin

I just want everything to be organised, although still a comfy home, so that when we shuffle off the DC have the minimum to do.

There is clearly a line between being a careful manager and a hoarder. If you keep things too long they become of no use to man nor beast and just become tip fodder.
I had a friend who kept everything which just might be useful to the point that her home was a danger for her to live in and she needed help to make it liveable again. She no longer had a choice and it was very difficult for her, I think it hastened her end. sad

LullyDully Thu 25-Aug-16 16:45:19

As grew my mum sewed strips on the bottom of my dresses to make them longer......and all of the above including ironed Xmas paper.

Anniebach Thu 25-Aug-16 16:50:12

I do much of those things, why throw away what one can use

mrsmopp Thu 25-Aug-16 17:08:08

It is ingrained in us isn't it and I cannot change my ways either. We are financially much better off now but the old habits stick. Recycling is nothing new, we have been doing it for years haven't we?
Like Charleygirl, my gabardine mac came down to my feet and I did envy my class mates whose clothes actually fitted! 'You have to leave room to grow into it' said my mum, 'I can't be buying you one of these things every year!' It worked because she never had to buy me another one.
My school dresses were home made and the hem of the skirt must have been about 8 inches deep, so it could be let down each year as I grew. Imagine trying that one today! Proper hems don't exist any more.

KatyK Thu 25-Aug-16 17:49:27

We were poorer than most families in our area due to my feckless father. If our shoes got holes in them, our mum would cut out shoe shapes from pieces of cardboard and put them inside the shoe. Can you imagine how long that lasted when it rained! Oversized school uniforms for those of us who passed the 11+, as many have said above, bought with Co-op of Provident cheques (checks). My mother was an excellent cook and could make a meal for 8 of us for next to nothing when my father decided he didn't fancy working and had no money to give her to feed us (plenty for the pub though). Twisted newspapers for the fire when we couldn't afford coal and oh the shame I felt if one of my school friends saw me taking an old pram to collect coke from the local gas works. Coats on the bed when it was really cold.

Liaise Thu 25-Aug-16 19:27:08

I had jumpers knitted out of odd pieces of wool. The stripes looked very nice. My mother's version of fair isle.. My aunt made us knickers and nightdresses out of silk parachutes. I don't know where she found them!

I still keep bits of string for tying up in the garden and my shopping lists are always written on the backs of envelopes. I feel a bit mean doing this but last week I was in a supermarket with my old envelope in my hand and the man standing next to me had his shopping list written on a cardboard box.

Old habits , learnt from our parents, die hard.

Jalima Thu 25-Aug-16 20:15:00

LullyDully I think they were called 'false hems', the dress had been let down as far as it could, then a strip of fabric sewn on, turned inside with about an eighth of an inch of dress fabric, then hemmed.
Sheets were 'sides to middled' (I never like sleeping on those!)
Yes, I had good Clark's sandals, but the toes were cut out at the end of the summer to make them last until the end of the holidays.
Dad used to mend our shoes, and he used to use those quarter bits on the heels where the heels wore down on the outside.

We still keep string, brown paper, old envelopes, icecream cartons, lots of things 'just in case' and it does just clutter up the house and the garage is full of old jars full of screws and goodness' knows what else.

Stansgran Thu 25-Aug-16 20:40:20

Lace or crochet inserts in dresses to make them longer. Yes
Old clothes cut down. yes
Sweaters re knitted as Fair Isle . Yes
Old towels cut down for face flannels. Yes
Wall paper left overs to cover school books
Coal fire cinders to fill in holes in un adopted roads

cornergran Thu 25-Aug-16 20:42:26

All so familiar. It was just 'normal - and some of it still is smile.

whitewave Thu 25-Aug-16 21:12:18

Sheets that were thinning in the middle cut up and sewn edge to edge. Shirt collars turned.

Maggymay Thu 25-Aug-16 22:11:33

Oranges used to be sold wrapped in tissue paper Mum would save this to be used for toilet paper!

Jalima Thu 25-Aug-16 23:08:24

Sheets that were thinning in the middle cut up and sewn edge to edge
Sides to Middle.
DM used to French seam the middle, it was tidier and didn't fray but you could always feel it!

Jalima Thu 25-Aug-16 23:09:28

DH has a very nice soft flannel shirt which has frayed at the collar, I was just wondering whether I could turn the collar. The rest of it is fine (M&S, not cheap).

Bbnan Thu 25-Aug-16 23:11:57

Newspaper cut up for toilet paper...
My father had his own last to repair shoes...
My communion dress made from my sisters wedding dress......
I was the youngest of 11 and my siblings think I had it easy

Jalima Thu 25-Aug-16 23:21:04

Old towels were cut up for floorcloths

Nelliemoser Thu 25-Aug-16 23:40:21

I was astonished when I discovered that my daughter had been tearing up the little boys old t shirts, vests etc for floor cloths. That is something I never did.

Jalima Thu 25-Aug-16 23:41:45

I cut old t shirts up for using to polish shoes, use once then throw away.