Sustainable Living: What We Can Learn from the Great Depression

At the time of the Great Depression, people used whatever tricks they could to live frugally and not use up their resources.

Today, “Green Living” has been introduced to help the planet as well as save money in today’s economic downturn. But in today’s world of mass production where no one in the millennial generation knows how to darn socks, many have to completely re-learn methods of waste-free living.

We would like to help aid the movement toward sustainable living. Using research on living at the time of the Great Depression, we’ll write a series of articles describing the methods they used at the time of the Great Depression and give helpful suggestions adapted for today’s audience.

A woman with canned fruit for the winter in 1933.

A woman with canned fruit, ready for the winter in 1933.

In an article on Yahoo Voices written by Stewart Lodge, Stewart describes the Depression as a simpler time when nothing was put to waste if anyone could help it. Kids used plastic bread wrappers for lunchboxes, people wore shoes until they fell apart (then fixed the soles themselves), and canned their fruit for the winter.

Times may be different now, but where applicable, we can still learn from the past.

A simple motto to start with is this: Learn to love used stuff.



Does everything you buy really need to be new? Sometimes the hand crafted items that have stood the test of time are the better options. Not to mention the vintage charm and history they contain. (You might find some old items you like scattered throughout our other blog articles!)

And sometimes things you’ve owned for a long time don’t necessarily need to be replaced. Have a couch that’s getting a little shabby? Simply give it a snazzy new couch cover or replace the springs. Rework your thoughts from “I need to get a new one” to “How can I fix this?” That way you can save money and also stop that couch from going to the landfill.

Sometimes the way to start a big change is with small steps, and internalizing small mottos like this one can go a long way.

Make sure to check back regularly for posts on how you can make a difference with sustainable living!

And help us out in the comments: What do you do to live sustainably?

Leave a Reply