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Let’s Talk Trash: Do it yourself

There is a deep satisfaction that comes with doing things for ourselves, especially when we didn’t previously know how

Resolutions are usually made in the new year, but fall is also a good time to turn over a new leaf.

Habits come in all shapes and sizes, but habits we wish to change often have this in common: opting to do what is easiest and most familiar.

Like many, you have probably thought of shaking things up a bit by changing your routines and behaviours. Learning how to do something yourself is a great way to do just that. The planet and your wallet may also thank you.

Some of the rewards of doing for ourselves rather than farming out to others are obvious. Making bread, doing an oil change or fixing a broken shelf might seem daunting the first time out of the gate, but soon enough it’s often quite speedy and less costly.

The trick is to stick with what you’ve chosen until it can be done without much thought or YouTube searches. Picking up a new habit is easiest when it is stacked with other things you already do. You could listen to a course lecture while mulching the garden or learn to darn a sock while visiting with a seamstress-savvy friend.

If you’re not sure you’re going to take up the new do-it-yourself habit, avoid the waste and cost of investing in needed tools or equipment and instead see if you might borrow from a friend or neighbour. One of the side benefits, after all, is reducing waste such as packaging, the carbon-heavy transportation of goods, or buying something you may only use a few times.

Have an electrician buddy walk you through how to safely install a plug in the wall using their tools. Take a class in how to make herbal medicine or beauty-care products that includes the use of a kitchen and ingredients.

Quality is sometimes sacrificed when we outsource. Homemade snacks allow for more control of what we nourish ourselves with. The time and attention to detail offered to building our own front stairs might not match what a contractor could budget for. Personalized touches and preferences are brought in when we create for ourselves.

There is a deep satisfaction that comes with doing things for ourselves, especially when we didn’t previously know how. Understanding how something works unravels the mystery and the seemingly impossible task of recreating it ourselves.

It may be that time is what you feel short on, not the will or skill. Multitasking might not be for you, but there are ways to get creative.

Trading your skill set for another’s is one. When we lived in a less virtual and disconnected world, sharing our talents and abilities with others was the norm. No one needed to do everything for themselves, but everyone contributed to the whole in some way.

Within these kinds of exchanges, there is sustainability. The drumbeat of village life is one that we can all revitalize in our own way.

The hubbub of the fall is a kind of reset button. What would you like to (re)start doing for yourself?

Let’s Talk Trash is contracted by qathet Regional District to offer its waste reduction education program. For more information, email [email protected] or go to