Let’s be honest at the outset about this. Who has the time to do everything on our own? With the lockdown still continuing, most of us are at home not just managing home chores but also office work and if you are a family with children, you are feeling the burn. Trust me. I too am sailing in the same boat. If you are in India, you are anyway spending 60% of your awake time cleaning and cooking. The rest are unequally distributed between work, children, pets, spouse and whoever else needs any attention. But here’s the thing about doing everything ourselves… it gives us more control over what we want to do and how we want to design our lives, families, living spaces and also the lifestyle we want to adopt.

While talking to my girlfriends yesterday, what emerged was that while the lockdown has been tough, it has definitely reiterated the difference between need and wants. With essentials and other items going out of stock or with restricted movements, people have found ways of fulfilling their everyday home and personal care needs with things they can easily find at home. DIY has been peaking.

Make, mend and maintain are three practises that hold a zero-waste home in good stead. Since most things are made at home, whatever is available is put to good use and if broken it is repaired instead of being chucked. A household automatically starts to generate less waste. The value of the effort and the of knowing of the process and materials combined give us confidence and a deep sense of satisfaction.

Here are a few things I make at home and am self-reliant:

Home care: Floor cleaner, dish wash detergent, laundry detergent, laundry softner, air fresher, wardrobe fresheners, mosquito repellents, surface cleaner

Personal care: Tooth paste, body scrub and cleanser, body butter. Waiting to try my hands on recipes I found for body mist and deodorant.

Making a body butter in my kitchen

Food: Home cooked meals, syrups, sauces etc… I think this might be once area that most of us are self-reliant in. However, this also happens to be one segment that produces the most packaging waste — the snacks, biscuits, cereals, oils etc., everything is packed for supplied to consumers for use. It’ll be great if package free alternatives can be found for food as well. Wouldn’t that be great?

Due to the lockdown, we haven’t been able to visit our farm which happens to be in a different district. However, our balcony has given us the space to grow and maintain a small garden where we are currently growing several varieties of tomatoes, 2 varieties of basil, mint, roses, mogra, hibiscus, aloe vera, okra, curry leaves, some beans which we are yet to identify and hopefully moringa, lemongrass and zucchini in a few days. Ofcourse there are a few other ornamental plants too 🙂

Currently, about 2.01 billion metric tons of municipal solid waste are produced annually worldwide. And, if we continue to practise our current lifestyles, the waste would increase by upto 70% by 2050.

In this time of unlimited content, make and mend shouldn’t be a challenge for anyone in any sphere of housekeeping or self care. I hope we are able to unlearn our ways to buy our way through life and start appreciating the impact that Make, Mend and Maintain bring to our lives.

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