Waste not, want not!
I remember first hearing/reading that phrase as a child, when I was reading the Little House on the Prairie series of books, and obsessed with all things "homesteady/pioneer." At the time, I didn't quite understand the meaning, yet the phrase always stuck with me.
Now, as an adult, I know the meaning of that phrase all too well. And luckily, so do our friends and family! We are forever receiving bags and boxes of clothes, cups, pots, and other household items. In fact, except to purchase a specific item for say, the holidays, I think I've gone shopping for the little one's clothes a grand total of perhaps two or three times. It's wonderful.
The same thing happened when we first moved into our house. It seemed like everyday for weeks (it still happens!) someone or another was showing up with a kettle they didn't need, or some pots, or a food processor: more kitchen gadgets than you can shake a stick at! Not only did this save us so much money, but it probably prevented a good portion of those items from just ending up in the garbage. This happened so much that now when I'm given a box of household items (or clothes!) I can afford to be choosy, and decide which one of a given item I want to keep, and which one I'll be giving away. I love freecycling!
And yet even in your own possessions, you can still find unexpected treasures. About four years ago, Chris received some sweaters from my mom that she had accumulated over the years. Most he like and wears, but there was one, a fair isle knitted sweater, that he didn't care for. At the time, though I thought it was beautiful, I couldn't see a use for it, so I just packed in up in the thought that one day we'd find a new home for it.
However, now that I am more versed in knitted and fibre arts, I can truly appreciate what a work of art it is (and it's 100% wool to boot!), and instead of just giving it away as is (plus it has a few little holes starting in it), I have decided to try my hand at steeking; and use it to make a purse, neck warmer, and whatever other small gifts I can get out of it (perhaps some coffee cup holders!). I love the idea that something so beautiful and yet previously unloved will get a breathe of new life as someone else's beloved object. I can't wait to start!