Necessity is the Mother of Invention

Research on resilience indicates that bricolage- making something you need from whatever is at hand- is a core competence of resilience. Think about:

  • Medical face masks made out of office supplies or sewn by volunteers
  • Shoelaces made from bits of string and wire collected by inmates of concentration camps in Nazi Germany. These made a life or death difference in the snowy winter months.
  • A tasty dinner made from whatever is on hand. I personally excel at “everything but the kitchen sink” soups.

Every day of the Covid-19 pandemic is a vivid reminder of how much we have to be grateful for. My husband Gordon and I are safe in our little adobe home in the heart of nature.

Every day is also a reminder of how precious a used nail file, a square of toilet paper (unused), a carrot top, a few berries starting to get soft, that old bag of roasted peppers forgotten in the freezer…

We are fortunate to have enough food on hand for a while, but are attaining mastery in the fine art of repurposing left-overs. Waste feels kind of shameful, reminding me of how much we wasted with nary a second thought as recently as a few weeks ago.

Did you know that 72 billion pounds of food goes to waste each year in the U.S., not counting household waste? On top of that, the average household wastes 238 pounds of food annually- 21% of what we buy.

My intention personally? To check the refrigerator every day and eat whatever is getting old first. We’re eating quite well, cooking with unfettered creativity and totally enjoying the sense of mindful efficiency and utter delight that comes from being a good bricoleur.

Making something out of almost nothing is a great high!

BTW. Bricolage is a French word that comes the verb bricer- to tinker. So hail to all you DIYers. It’s fun to use what you have to make what you need.

The bonus in tinkering? It makes you more confident and less anxious. And right now, that’s a huge benefit.

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