NBC 5 Responds

How to Start Buying Less and Reusing More

NBCUniversal, Inc.

In uncertain economic times, North Texans are sharing ways they extend the use of what they have so they can buy less


In Addie Fisher’s home, a pair of her young son’s pants with a tear at the knees, get a second look.

“They still have to last longer and we're going to get the full use out of them,” Fisher said.

Fisher ironed on a few patches in a kid-approved design.

“He's into Transformers so the geometric shapes got his attention,” Fisher said.

It’s not just clothes. Fisher pointed to toys and even a metal watering can she repaired herself. Fisher writes a blog called Old World New, chronicling the ways her family buys less and reuses more.

“It’s possible to be sustainable without spending hundreds and thousands of dollars,” Fisher said. “You can make small changes in your everyday life.”


Gary Cocke, Sustainability Director in the Office of Sustainability at the University of Texas at Dallas, explained families can start with a simple inventory around the home.

“As you think about something that’s ready for the landfill, give it a second look. Is it something you can mend? Can you extend the life of it?” Cocke explained. “There's a lot that you can do by referencing YouTube and rolling up your sleeves.”

In his home, Cocke said planting drought-tolerant plants help reduce water usage. Consider smart irrigation controls or drip irrigation to supplement rainfall. Only water when needed, following municipal water restrictions.

Indoors, look for drafts coming through the edges of doors and windows. Make repairs to trim energy costs.

“We need to understand how things work, we need to know how to be good stewards of them, we need to maintain them and take care of them. It's true for our appliances at home as it is for our environment,” said Cocke.


Fisher said one small way to start saving money is by cutting back on paper towel use at home. Fisher said her family hasn’t purchased paper towels in seven years and hasn’t looked back.

When it comes to mending the things you have, Fisher said it takes a shift in mindset. Instead of automatically replacing items, try mending them.

“You see how quick you used to just hop in the car, go to the store and find something else to replace it when you could fix it and make it even more unique than what it was,” said Fisher.

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