Image from Daily Mail
John Lewis, the department store beloved by the UK, is publishing a booklet filled with thrifty tips to help customers ride out the recession. That's very nice, but department stores are supposed to be trying to sell us things, not load us up with money-saving tips.
Shockingly, they say " We are witnessing a reawakening of interest in traditional skills... there has been a sea change in our attitude toward possessions." And that's a quote from the managing director of the company. So what's in the book and where can we get one...
The 1943 war-time version
It's called Make Do And Mend, the same title that was used by the government during the war 63 years ago for its own booklet full of money-saving advice. This new one has been put together by the store's 28,000 employees and contains old and new tips. These include ideas such as how to use the inside of a banana skin as a substitute for shoe polish, using bicarbonate of soda to de-odourise smelly shoes and using tooth paste to clean jewellery.
Sounding positively TreeHugger-ish, the store says that the booklet "taps into a desire by families to return to a more sustainable way of life, getting full use out of products rather than dumping them in the bin and buying new."
Tellingly, the sale of notions at the store has increased by 17% this year. Fabrics, yarn, wool, buttons and sewing machines have been flying off the shelves. The store is also offering classes in sewing, darning, applying patches and updating older clothes.
The new version
Here are just a few nuggets of old-fashioned advice for the modern home:
* Keep ants away with a chalk line. Simply draw a boundary around the forbidden area and the ants refuse to cross it.
* Reinvigorate badly scuffed leather shoes by rubbing them with half a raw potato.
* Shine your children's shoes with the inside of a banana skin and see how they sparkle once buffed with a soft cloth.
* Use car wax to shine up the fronts of tired-looking stoves and fridges
* Make your flowers last longer by pouring some lemonade into the solution.
* Make sure the cooling elements on the back of your fridge are free of dust; it prevents them from releasing heat properly
* Runs in tights can be stopped in their tracks with a dab of clear nail varnish.