Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Fixing My Mistakes


I once cherished (and accidentally got published in Reader's Digest, but that's another story) a quote that said, "Practice doesn't make perfect, nor is it supposed to. Practice is about increasing your repertoire of ways to recover from your mistakes."  Nowhere is this as true as in homemaking.

See the above towel.  When DH and I were first married, I got distracted doing laundry, and I bleached a towel that should not have been bleached.  I then retired the towel to dirty jobs like highlighting hair, which means that over the years it has taken additional bleach damage.  The results you see above.

Now, the obvious choice is to turn the towel into rags, but I thought I'd see what I could salvage.  I was able to cut seven 12"x12" wash cloths out of the good parts of the towel, still leaving several cleaning rags.  

The raw edges I finished by turning them under a half an inch and sewing with a zig-sag stitch.  Note that not all edges of a cloth need to be finished; the ones that originally were the bottom and sides of the towel are fine as they are.

Did I need to do this?  No.  However, I took some pleasure in saving an item that I had destroyed with my carelessness.  And, when you look at it, I saved a little money:

The Analysis:

Fast:  I tend to sew simple things as thought breaks while I work, so putting these cloths on the pile to be finished didn't really take much additional time out of my schedule.

Cheap:  The least expensive wash cloth of any significant weight I can find in the store is $1, and I have seen heavy ones go for as much as $5 a piece.  Since I was able to get seven cloths out of my destroyed towel, I in effect created $7 worth of value.  I doubt the original towel cost more than $7 (9 years ago at a discount department store), so I have either saved money I would otherwise have spent on new washcloths, or at minimum I have preserved the value of the original towel.

Good:  This one comes down to a philosophy of waste.  If you look at your mistakes and think "how can I recover from that and respect the resource given to me," then you will over time save money and cultivate a more respectful attitude toward the things you work so hard to buy.
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