How to "make do"


I read a fascinating article from the Center for the New American Dream on The Art of "Making Do." The author, in her late 30s, and her family had moved to the U.S. from Barcelona six months ago. Recently, her 8-year-old daughter participated her school's science fair. The daughter chose to research and study ladybugs, and she and the author put together a display for the science fair by using materials they had available in their home.

When the author attended the science fair event at school, she was taken aback by the perfectionism in her daughter's classmates' displays. Raised glitter letters, tri-fold display cases, and professionally illustrated images were utilized on nearly every child's science fair display. It was apparent the students had not been required to "make do" by gathering items from their home - like an empty paper towel roll or cardboard toilet paper roll or a shoe box - and transforming them into a science fair project, but instead were taken to the nearest craft store to purchase bags full of supplies.

Growing up in Spain, the author recalled how the country values a "make do" approach - not having (nor needing to have) everything but, instead, making do with what you DO have. This approach demonstrates the resourceful creativity and imagination required when not everything is available at one's fingertips. Sometimes you have to improvise.

"Making do" can apply to so many areas of one's life, especially when it comes to stuff. If you don't have a closet packed full of clothing, but rather a few edited, classic items of clothing, you must make do with your outfit options and improvise, mixing and matching separates to create a multitude of outfits. If your pantry is filled beyond capacity, consider making do with the food in your house before stepping out for take-out or making a grocery run. Maybe you make do with mismatched glass- and dishware instead of purchasing an additional full set. Maybe you can make do with one sauce pan and one fryer pan as opposed to an entire 24-piece cookware set.

As an organizer, I utilize this make do approach when I'm working with a client. I'd much rather make do with a box or bin the client already owns rather than asking my client to purchase something different. We make do by using boxes bound for the recycling bin as temporary storage containers. A magazine file can become a stand-in for a action file holder. For me it's about being creative and resourceful in order to be mindful of my client's money and time.

Are there areas in your life or your home where you could make do?

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