It didn’t hit me until just now. So many of my ideas about recycling stemmed from two very resourceful parents who raised our family on a budget. As an adult I learned that sometimes my parents cut costs during the lean years to make ends meet. As a child I didn’t notice any difference between what my parents provide in our household and what other kids may have had. I always thought that the things my parents did in some case were pretty nifty.
My father was in construction and my mother was an accounting manager they with a couple of best friends built our house that I grew up in. I also spent my school days with my grandparents who lived behind my elementary school, so I spent many days watching my grandfather build shelves, make chairs and tables or anything as he needed. One year he needed to update his front door, with a modern one, but he didn’t throw out the old front door, instead he put putty in the nicks and scratches and also filled in the space where the doorknob and deadbolt holes were, sanded it down and primed and painted it. He turned the old front door into an in-ground back yard table. Perhaps my grandfather who grew up on a chicken farm in rural utah which eventually became part of BYU also learned resourcefulness growing up there. His family were beekeepers and sold hens and eggs. They definitely knew about recycling as I recall in my grandfather’s autobiography how his grandfather converted a farmhouse into a dwelling for their whole family and bartered to make a hen house with other locals in the neighborhood using reclaimed fence wood and siding.
My mother learned how to sew and taught both myself and my brother how to sew. I have never made any outfits, but my mom was very savvy. She would buy modern shirt patterns from the local sewing supplies store and sewed our shirts growing up. No one knew any different between our school outfits and popular outfits available at Gemco, Sears, and other clothing department stores like Mervyn’s.
One of the fondest memories for me was noticing when my mom washed dishes that she would put the dishwashing sponge in a little strawberry green basket. She was so clever she cut a whole the same diameter of the round stainless steel dishwasher vent/overflow valve that sits to the right of the sink. She put the strawberry basket over the vent and it hung there where she would store the sponge. It was perfect. The plastic green basket would drain and hold the sponge so it could dry out and not get molding. I like the concept even better than the one my husband at a craft booth one year mead of ceramic with a slot for the sponge. With that you still have to drain and clean the ceramic holder. Some things are not always better than repurposed items.
See the stenciled cut-out diagram in the strawberry basket above. This is where you cut out the hole for the vent. Its smaller than you think. Just one little basket can sit and hold a sponge and a nail scrubber too.