Warminster family takes on challenge to mend or buy second hand rather than new

This Is Wiltshire: Jen Gale with son William, four, playing in a fire engine made from a cardboard box, while Samuel, one, wears hand-me-down clothes Jen Gale with son William, four, playing in a fire engine made from a cardboard box, while Samuel, one, wears hand-me-down clothes

A Warminster family has decided not to buy anything new for a year, instead opting to buy second-hand goods and where possible to fix anything that breaks.

Jen Gale, who lives with her husband Ben and sons William, four, and Samuel, one, convinced her husband to take up the challenge in September and has been running a blog to catalogue the experience ever since.

The 35-year-old had been considering the idea for a while, but decided to go ahead with it after being inspired by Suzy Prince, who was blogging her own attempt at buying only second-hand goods for a year.

The family is now half way through the challenge, buying every non-perishable item either second-hand, pre-owned, vintage, retro, upcycled or re-conditioned.

Mrs Gale, of Hillwood Lane, said: “It’s been going really well so far. I wasn’t sure what to expect initially, but generally we have equipped ourselves well and managed to fix anything that has broken or find an alternative solution.

“It has really changed the way we look at lots of things. We also signed up to the Wiltshire Wildlife Waste Watchers campaign, which is an eight-week project looking at what we put in our bins.

“My husband was quite hesitant about the idea at first, but he came around eventually and has proved very useful at fixing things, including our washing basket, which now has pretty much every sort of adhesive you can think of holding it together.

“Christmas was quite hard, but our family were supportive and it actually was quite nice to put more effort into making something that they would like. It made the presents a lot more personal.”

There are exceptions to Mrs Gale’s make do and mend year, with toiletries, cleaning products, underwear, shoes for the children and car tyres not included in the challenge.

“The whole experience has been a big eye-opener, but not only is the make do and mend idea good for the planet, it also helps the bank balance.

“There have obviously been times when it’s been difficult, especially with two young boys, but it’s something anyone can do and I hope more will be inspired to do something similar.”

To follow the progress of the family, visit http://mymakedoandmendyear.wordpress.com

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