Grandma's Depression Era Survival Tips
Waste Not Want Not
Both of my grandmother's lived through the great depression. They were strong hard working women who wanted the best for their families. They did not believe in wasting anything. Clothing was passed down from one child to the next. If the clothes needed mended they would mend them. If mending wasn't an option the garment would be cut up for rags to be used for cleaning or as fabric for a quilt. Sometimes they would tear the fabric in strips to make a woven or crocheted rug.
During the depression era nothing was ever discarded. If one family member couldn't use it another one could. They also never bought anything that wasn't needed.
When Grandma peeled apples or potatoes the skin was pared so thin you could almost see through it. She thought it a waste if it was done any other way.
When staying at Grandma's house you learned to turn lights out when nobody was in the room to use them. If you wanted paper to draw a picture on, you used both sides of the paper. If you poured yourself a glass of milk it was expected to be drank. And at meal times your plate was to be emptied of what ever you put on it. So wasting anything was not allowed no matter what it was.
The fresh smell of homemade baked goods, such as bread, biscuits, pies, cakes or cookies filled the air of the old farmhouse Grandma called home. Homemade was not only cheaper to prepare but the taste was mouth watering.
Grandma always made pickles or canned fruits and vegetables. Often the vegetables she canned came from her own vegetable garden and the fruit from her own trees. Homemade jam or jelly on a slice of homemade bread warm from her oven was delicious.
Both of my grandmothers made homemade gifts for their family. Maybe a quilt or a crocheted rug would be worked on for months before an event such as a birthday, wedding, baby shower, or Christmas. They took pride in what ever gift they made for you. Fancy sugar cookies, chocolate or peanut butter fudge, with handcrafted potholders would be placed in a large basket or decorated box for Easter or Christmas giving.
The Old Ways Never Left
Grandma survived the great depression, but as many people that lived in those hard times the ways they did things back then stayed with them. Many of the old ways can be very useful for people that are facing hardships today.
Grandma always said keep a bag of flour and dried beans on hand so at least you can have bean soup and biscuits if you have nothing else. This is a good idea for not only being down and out but also if there is a storm coming, making it impossible to get to a store.
Grandma was also a great believer in keeping a stash of money hid somewheres were you could use it for an emergency if needed. Even coins tossed in a jar can add up.
There was a lot of edible wild plants that people ate back in the old days. I remember eating dandelion greens, milkweed plants, and wild leeks. A lot of country folks still enjoy that still today. I'm sure there are a lot more and a Google search could help identify them.
Grandma also used vinegar for washing windows sparkling clean. She dried them with an old newspaper. She would use vinegar and baking soda to unclog a drain. Grandma had many uses for both of them. It saved money on high priced cleaners.
Grandma never used her clothes dryer on a nice day. She saved energy by hanging them outside on a clothes line. A warm breeze made her wash smell very fresh.
Here is some more ways to be prepared.
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