The ‘Make Do and Mend’ Challenge

xmas trees

We’re all guilty of throwing out old things that are perfectly in tact, or even if they have a mendable fault.
However, one woman who decided to challenge this concept is Jen Gale, from My Make Do and Mend Year.

I caught up with her to find out more…


Why did you start ‘My make do and mend year’? 

I read an article about a lady called Suzy Prince, who was doing a Second-hand Safari, buying nothing new for a year, and I thought it sounded like a great idea!

It started off as a personal challenge for our family, but as the year progressed, and I learned more about the impact of our disposable society on the planet, it became much more about trying to live sustainably.


Have you been converted to the DIY/upcycling lifestyle for good?

YES! Making do and mending is good fun!

We have learned new skills, and become empowered to realise that the small changes really do make a difference. Also, I’ve estimate that we have saved over £2000 during our Buy Nothing year.

The most difficult thing, was the loss of the ‘instant fix’. If something broke, we had to either fix it, make do with something else, or wait until we found a replacement second-hand.


Would you encourage more people to have a go? If so, whats your best advice for the DIY novice?

I would definitely encourage people to give it a go. I found it far easier than I thought I would, and I think it is totally do-able for everyone. You don’t have to do a whole year, but it will make you stop and think before buying.

Start with something simple, and embrace the fact that it might not be quite perfect. Every time you do something, you will be learning how to do it better the next time.


What has been your favourite part of your experience and why?

I have loved all of it. But I think my favourite bit of the whole experience, has been the realisation that what I do makes a difference. I can blog about it, and shout about it on social media, and I might be able to encourage other people to make small changes too.

My favourite quote is from Jane Goodall, and says…
“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make”.


Can you share your favourite project that you have created during your make do and mend year…

The best thing we made was our egg box Christmas tree!
It didn’t look great but it sparked lots of interest, and started a tradition of ‘alternative’ Christmas trees. Since then we have done a lampshade tree, and probably our favourite this year, a pompom tree!



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