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Make-do-and-repair

To make-do-and- was part of every day life for our grandparents between the wars, and even well into the fifties after WWII. Indeed, I remember my grandmother relating tales of items she had to sew or stick, because to replace was simply not an option. Thankfully for property owners these days, Plastic Surgeon is on hand to take care of almost anything that gets damaged, but there is always value in learning from the past.

For example steel was in short supply after the war, as this valuable resource had been used for tanks, ships and other armaments. Hence, my grandpa welded the handle back on to granny’s old kettle, while she made good the by adding a heatproof string whipping or covering. She turned defunct silk parachutes (ask no questions) into nightdresses and underwear for her family; while I still have her wooden sock mushroom, which I remember her using to do darning, repairing countless pairs of socks – a habit she could never break, even when it became cheaper to replace them in the seventies.

Interestingly, though, after around four decades of being a throw away society, research from insurance specialist, swiftcover.com, has revealed that we are once again returning to the make-do-and-mend mindset – perhaps due to the fact that our economic future has never been so uncertain, thanks to recession and the Eurozone. The reality is that families are having to make their incomes stretch further due to the Government’s austerity measures, and the increasing cost of living coupled with crippling energy bills.

Indeed, our motto at Plastic Surgeon is ‘don’t skip it – fix it!’ Thus our repair expertise built up over a quarter of a century has saved the construction industry a fortune, as it is obviously more economically viable to repair a small scratch in a door, for example, than to replace the whole thing.

According to the home insurance provider’s survey of 2,000UK adults, we spend £700 million replacing broken household items every year instead of treating ourselves to something new. Apparently, a frugal one in seven of us, or approximately 15%, would rather repair a broken household item than replace it.

Surprisingly, 1.2 million households prefer to use plastic cups and plates as an alternative to replacing broken crockery – assuming they aren’t expecting the Queen for tea. And one fifth of us will carry on using a broken item until it’s completely unusable.

There is some real indication that the current economic climate is changing our behaviour, as 10% of us are attempting to repair broken crockery, whereas we wouldn’t have bothered before. And 6.9 million people spent at least £100 replacing broken items, while 300,000 spent over £1,000 on replacing broken items in their homes this past year.

While money is tight, many of us are prepared to make-do-and-mend, although some things will never change – 17% of breakages are still ‘unexplained’ and close to one in ten will blame an accident on their pet…

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