Fixing My Mindset One Mug At A Time

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I did something crazy the other day, I dropped a mug and the handle broke off (that’s not the crazy bit, it’s surprising how often it happens with these clumsy fingers).

Here comes the crazy bit… I fixed it.

Well, I asked Mr T and he fixed it, but it still counts!

The mug is now back in the drawer with it’s cup-colleagues, still doing it’s job only now with a bit of glue around the handle.

I was actually surprised that my initial response to breaking the mug was for it to go straight in the bin. The thing is, I have so many mugs (I have no idea why – where do they all come from?) that one less wasn’t going to make that big a difference. When we ran out, well I’d just buy some more, right?

I often like to think back to my parent’s generation or my grandparent’s generation and wonder what they would have had in their homes and how they would have lived their lives. Chances are they probably made do with one set of mugs, probably given to them on their wedding day, to last them their lifetime. Greater care would have been taken with them and if the worst did happen and they broke one it would need to be fixed, because once they were gone, they were gone.

When did it become the norm to just chuck things out without a second thought to where the item came from or what energy went into producing it?

In the case of my mug, by throwing it out I would have had no respect for the people who worked to get the mug to me.

For example:

  • The person who designed the mug
  • The person who produced the mug
  • The person who packaged the mug
  • The person who transported the mug
  • The person who put the mug on a shelf
  • The person who sold the mug
  • The person who gave me the mug

So many people touched my mug (oooh, sounds a bit rude doesn’t it!) only for me to have a moments clumsiness and flippantly toss it in the bin.

The problem is, I know today I can easily buy a new set of mugs, probably for cheaper than the price of the glue and quicker than it will take the glue to set. But this mindset doesn’t help the fact that broken-things-that-can-be-fixed end up as unnecessary landfill, or that by me buying more mugs puts me back in that consumer loop where I am sending the message that I need more mugs. And trust me, I don’t need more mugs!

Since ‘The Day of The Broken Mug’, I’ve tried to apply this fix-it mentality to other things.

Recently the zip on my boots broke, rather than throw them out I fixed them. A trip to the local shoe repairer took care of the zip. I even went one step further and gave them a polish and shine myself, something I haven’t done since I was in high school – they look like new again! I was really chuffed because not only had I taken the time and a bit of care to look after my boots, I had also saved them from the rubbish bin and saved myself a pretty penny in buying a new pair in the process.

I haven’t stopped there:

  • The kid’s toy bag ripped – I fixed it with the sewing machine.
  • One of our kids favourite books ripped – I fixed it with some sticky tape.
  • Master Mayhem had a hole in his pants – I ironed a patch on it.
  • Miss Logical broke her favourite Princess mug (she has inherited my clumsiness) – Mr T, get the glue!

The thing I loved the most about this little change in thinking is the kids don’t even bat an eyelid at it. They see it as completely normal to have cups with globs of glue on the handle, books with sticky tape and clothes with patches on them and hopefully their first thought for something broken will always be to fix it.

What are some things you have fixed to give a second life to?

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