Dozens of tips have been compiled in a new booklet called Make Do And Mend, by John Lewis, to help British families ride out the recession blues.


The handy tips and nifty suggestions are a nod towards the 1940s ‘make do and mend’ approach, where money saving tips and living a sustainable lifestyle were vital during and after the World War.

John Lewis’ updated 21st century booklet is a modern take of the 70-year-old version issued by wartime government. It combines old school tips given to you by your grandmother with up-to-date advice on electrical equipment for the modern household.

“The British have always been famous for having a spirit of ‘make do and mend’. Wartime housewives became experts at stretching their scarce resources. Fast forward 65 years and we now understand that resources aren’t infinite, and it is once more a matter of pride to be economical and practical,” Andy Street from John Lewis has explained.

There appears to be a shift towards the MIY (Make It Yourself) way of thinking. John Lewis revealed an increase in haberdashery sales, with fabrics having the strongest sales in five years. Sewing machines have also risen in popularity, with a 30% increase in sales since the recession hit.

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“This guide is designed to help households get the very best out of what they have. Our lives are far more complicated than they were in the 1940s and we’ve forgetten some of the basic principles that can save time and money,” Andy Street concluded.


Here are just a few nuggets of old-fashioned advice for the modern home:

  • Keep ants away with a chalk line. Simply draw a boundary around the forbidden area and see how the ants refuse to cross it.
  • Reinvigorate badly scuffed leather shoes by rubbing them with half a raw potato.
  • Shine your children’s shoes with the inside of a banana skin and see how they sparkle once buffed with a soft cloth!
  • Use car wax to shine up the fronts of tired-looking white goods, such as fridges (not exactly something most mums have time for, but just so you know!)
  • Make your flowers last longer by pouring some lemonade into the solution.