Materials like the one it’s made from make great garden ties for the roses and other climbing plants. It also means I don’t have to fork out for expensive garden string Garden Centres would have me believe I can’t do without!
Tights are another favourite for this job but since I don’t wear them I watch the girls like a predator and as soon as there’s a hole coming; ‘can I have your tights?’ Unfortunately they like holes and wear all their stuff to death anyway so then I move onto my husband’s socks.
Socks are good, in fact, any stretchy fabric’s good for string replacement; strappy tops, T-shirts, stockings. Whenever things get past their original use they get another one. Vests and T-shirts make good cleaning cloths. From the legs of jeans you can make those tubular storage bags for carriers. From the top part my daughter used to make hand bags.
You can grow plants in old boots and shoes and a whole variety of containers. I remember the children made jewellery from old tools and the bits from a dismantled video player. We made bird-scarers from old CDs. And we always kept a multitude of boxes and tubs in all sizes and shapes for model making or covering and making our own storage or shelving.
Once you get your mind working that way the list goes on.
The first advantage of all this is it costs you nothing so you can work less hours and spend more time with your children.
The second advantage is that it stimulates the brain which develops intellect and thinking skills and makes kids resourceful.
The third advantage is that it helps you buy less, so there’s less to tidy away (big advantage!) but more importantly it’s essential for the planet; less industry and less waste and therefore pollution.
And finally it is fundamental to respect. Respect is paramount to living. And education.
We live on this planet, greedily use its resources, yet completely take them for granted. When do we ever consider as we tap away on our laptops and tablets, which we probably discard and replace every few years, that they have cost the earth? And I don’t mean that purse wise, I mean planet wise – in their making, through the materials needed, by their eventual waste.
Every resource we use needs to be respected because basically every time we buy something we pollute something.
And our kids are going to be left with the legacy of that. That’s why respect for every resource needs to be embedded in our children’s education.
Now, how many more uses are there for an old swimming costume!