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Page last updated at 07:43 GMT, Friday, 28 August 2009 08:43 UK
A stitch in time?

Needle and thread

Make Do and Mend was the mantra of much of the last century, whether due to war, economic depression or just good old-fashioned thrift.

Today, in the middle of the credit crunch, John Lewis is publishing a modern reworking of the war-time Make Do and Mend pamphlet, with all the tips provided by its own employees.

As well as covering traditional areas like clothes, furniture and the kitchen, the updated version also includes advice about modern electrical gadgets.

Top tips in the new volume include:

  • Shine up shoes with the inside of a banana skin, allow to dry and then buff off with a soft cloth. Alternatively, reinvigorate badly scuffed leather shoes with half a raw potato, then wipe clean and polish as usual.
  • Make sure the cooling elements on the back of your fridge are free of dust; it prevents them from releasing heat properly.
  • Sprinkle a little bicarbonate of soda into your trainers. It's a chemical-free deodorant.

And a new wave of cookery books is encouraging us to imitate our grandparents and use leftovers to create hearty dishes.


Today would like to hear your top household tips and leftovers recipes. Let us know using the form below.

Look after your clothes by changing when you get in from work, that is if you need to go smartly dressed. Hang them up and change into old clothes that can take a bit of creasing etc. Also cook all meals from fresh ingredients and think about portion control to avoid waste. Ready meals and pre-prepared foods are expensive and not good for your health.
Adrienne Macwilliam, Bolton

When grilling bacon turn the gas off before you turn the bacon over.
J Prince, West Midlands

Get onto the Yahoo group FreeCycle for your area. If you're after something but don't need it brand new, there's a good chance someone's giving away a used one. I've got a filing cabinet and even a piano for free this way. And you can use the site to get rid of things you don't need any more and are cluttering up your place. If it's useable, someone will want it, and it saves space in the landfill.
Steve Hill, Bristol, England

We recycle all our food waste - I add it to a bowl and make a mash in the food processor which is much appreciated by our three hens - who supply us with eggs. Any chicken waste goes to the dog.

Being in a soft water area we use approx half the recommended amounts of washing detergent/fabric conditioner, etc., and it lasts much longer!
Caroline Davies, Mid Wales

Take the batteries out of your alarm clock when you go to work, and also turn off your windscreen wipers when you go under a bridge.
Craig Hughes, Wigan, England

So much knowledge has been lost in the relatively short time between the 70s and the 2000s. For example, this country would not have a binge drinking problem if consumers drank less but drank better quality. Same applies to our daily high street purchases- quality over quantity!

I am still wearing my fathers hand made English brogues handed down to me in the late 90s when he retired, that he bought in 1972, when I was one year old. They are going strong and will no doubt be handed down to my son - and they will still be fashionable! All a bit "Victorian" perhaps, but if sustainability is what you are aiming for, look no further than a Jermyn Street shirt, pair of shoes or a Savile Row suit. Forget the environmentally damaging and false economy of buying cheap at Primark!
Greg Sherwood MW, South Kensington, London

- Cut apples won't turn brown if they're kept dipped in a mixture of lemon juice and water for a few minutes.

- Red fountain pen ink can be removed from clothes by rubbing yoghurt and then rinsing it with water.

- To keep flowers fresh, add one, two pieces of coal to the water in the flower vase.

- To increase shelf life of fruits and vegetables, wrap them in dry newspaper when putting them in the fridge.

- When cooking spinach, add a small quantity of milk (a tablespoon or two) to it to make it smell fresh and get rid of the bitterness.

- Looking at the moon for a few minutes every night gets rid of bags and dark patches below the eyes.

- If you place a metal teaspoon in a cup or bowl before pouring anything very hot in it, it won't crack.

- If a wasp or honey bee stings, rub salt over the sting. The pain goes away as it neutralises the poison.

- Chewing gum on the clothes can be removed by freezing the piece of cloth and then easily pulling the hardened chewing gum off.

All of the above tried and tested and work like a charm!
Syed Saquib Saeed, Karachi, Pakistan

Don't be fooled by the car scrappage scheme! It's an environmental disaster and unbelievably wasteful. If you car's OK, keep it. If not, fix it!
Richard James, Rayleigh, Essex

Go vegan. It's cheap, healthy, tasty food that works with cuisines from England to the Med to Asia. I save pounds per year by making my own soya milk from organic soya beans, which supports non-rainforest agriculture (soya beans grown in the forests are not organic and are used to feed livestock).

Mostly, just shed the rubbish from your life. Buy less stuff in the first place, take more time to enjoy life, slow down your pace.
Kaz, Macclesfield, UK

Add a drop of milk when boiling cauliflower, it keeps the florets nice and white. Add a drop of vinegar or lemon juice when boiling potatoes, it stops them discolouring. Use curdled milk when making scones, it makes them lighter and tastier.
Bob Spary, Liverpool

I drink fresh hot lemon juice each morning and I use the used squeezed lemon to clean/shine my stainless steel kitchen sink
Sheila Conroy, Chesham Bucks UK

A sensible way to save electricity and also help save the environment is to drive on dipped-headlights rather than on main-beam: of course, use of main-beam should always be used where Health and Safety considerations so require.
Nigel Piengiess, Bristol

To get off tight lids and bottle tops simply wrap a rubber band around them before unscrewing. This always works and costs nothing compared to various gadgets
Tony Atkinson, Redditch UK

Save 2 litre milk containers. They make great olive salting containers, just add fresh olives and solution of water with salt at ratio 9-1. Leave for a couple of months, shaking occasionally and presto! Olives for consumption!
Liz, Adelaide, South Australia

My grandparent, who was in service, always told me that the cheapest way to buy clothes was to buy quality not fashion. They told tales of Savile Row tweeds, although expensive, would be handed down across three generations still looking crisp. A £2 tee-shirt and a £50 suit may look a bargain but they'll also look tatty out after being worn a few times. I have a Saville Row suit and a pair of handmade shoes that still look new and crisp after six years wear and are still going strong. Over those six years I have spent far less on clothes than the 'Primark Generation'.
Martin, Henley

Just heard your interview with the Make do and Mend ladies. Thought you might like to check out

- one thing about make do and mend (and the reason we steered clear of that as a name) is it implies sacrifice - we believe in the positive sense of achievement, creativity and wellbeing you get when you make or mend something yourself instead of buying from a shop and chucking stuff away.
Clare Flynn, Chiswick, London, UK

We found an online spares store to supply us with a new bottle rack for our fridge, the old one had become cracked. My husband was about to buy a whole new fridge!
Michaela, London

Use olive oil to remove adhesive from wood. Genius.
C Walton, North Yorks

The speaker this morning was disparaging about clothes donated to charity shops, I like many people am grateful that I can find items I need and also donate to our local charity shops. My grandson was in need of a small dining table I found the perfect one in our charity shop. these provide a perfect way of recycling as also does freecycle on their website for those who have access to computers.
Anne Jones, Burgess Hill

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Friday, 28 August 2009, 08:10 GMT |  Business

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