Aesthetic of the Mended

In the interest of keeping stuff out of the landfill, I've been trying for some years now to stretch the useful lifetimes of our belongings by repairing things rather than replacing them.

Repairs are time-consuming and sometimes cash-costly, too. My cobbler wanted (and got) $45 to replace the heels and soles of my six-year-old boots. You can buy new (cheap) boots for just a little more.

Jane's clothes routinely fall apart. I suspect most kids' clothing manufacturers assume kids will outgrow their stuff faster than it will disintegrate and they set their production standards accordingly.

Thing is, with all this mending and repairing, we look a little ... mended and repaired. I think, actually, that this is okay. Matt has "work clothes" that look fine. And my work doesn't require me to look like Jackie O.

But I have a new appreciation for my grandmother's insistence on taking obsessive care of one's things. "Keep it nice," she always said. Because fifty years ago, it was Wrong to Throw Things Away if you hadn't worn the hell out of it. Not a bad way to go, if you ask me - but it takes some doing. Including the mental work of resisting the social push for new looking things.