Many people believe that ‘make do and mend’ is a smart strategy. They feel that rather than discarding items when we’re finished with them, we should find new and creative ways to use these items. But is keeping clutter smart or selfish? 

Bursting With Clutter

Typically, if you are one of these people, you will have an attic, a garage and possibly even a storage locker, full of clutter. This clutter will very rarely, if ever, get used but will sit there due to your expectation that one day it will be useful. You feel that to discard it would be callous and just plain wrong, because these items have nothing wrong with them and someone took the trouble to make them.

However, the chances of this clutter seeing the light of day and actually getting used is very remote. Typically people with the ‘make do and mend’ philosophy are the generation that experienced the Second World War and the lean years that followed. Products were scarce and things got used until they fell apart. Nothing useful was ever discarded.

One Life Isn’t Enough

Nowadays, though, things are very different. The scale of manufacturing and the availability of cheap imports means that our lives are overflowing with cheap products. One lifetime could never be enough to use all the possessions we have in our lives. So it is really smart to keep it all?

Are You Selfish?

A different viewpoint to consider is that keeping vast amounts of clutter that you don’t use, and realistically never will use, is selfish!

That camera you never use could benefit a young budding photographer. That lamp you don’t need could be a perfect fit for the decor of some newlyweds, who are setting up home on a budget. That old bicycle could benefit someone who wants to get a bit fitter, but can’t afford a new one.

A New Lease of Life

Getting rid of clutter doesn’t mean throwing an item onto the rubbish heap and adding to our landfill problems. It means giving it a new lease of life by allowing someone else to utilise it. Most items nowadays are not lovingly crafted by a skilled artisan, but are mass produced in factories. They really have very little intrinsic value except in their usefulness to someone.

Are You Smart?

Take another look at all of your clutter and ask yourself “Am I smart to keep all these things I never use? Or am I selfish? Wouldn’t it be more valuable it it was being used by someone else, rather than gathering dust in my basement?”

‘Make do and mend’ has a tendency to become ‘keep and clutter’, so make some changes in your thinking. Gather up all those unused items and donate them to a charity shop, or ask around to see who might benefit from them.

Now that is smart, and it definitely isn’t selfish!