My informant’s mother was raised in the rural American south during the Great Depression. She learned this expression from her mother, as it was a popular phrase at the time.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without”
This proverb essentially teaches about intense resourcefulness in a time of harsh economic recession. It stresses the idea that items should not be thrown away until they are absolutely useless, and not to hold onto things that are not practical. It provides a logical strategy for an emotionally taxing time in American history.