You can expect to see some wear in your couch over the years without being too shocked or dismayed, but finding a tear in your couch can be enough to drive you up the wall. For many people the only option is to start looking for a new couch, but this doesn’t have to be your only recourse. Couches are too expensive to be disposable. If you have to replace your couch every time a cushion or arm rest gets torn, you’re going to be wasting catastrophic amounts of money. Instead, get creative and start repairing your couch’s tears as they crop up. It’s easier than you think.

For standard cloth upholstery, all you’ll need to repair the tear is a circular needle, color-matched thread, and a free afternoon to dedicate to the project. Thread about two feet of thread into your needle so that you can double it up and tie the ends together. Start threading from the inside of the torn area so that the knot will be hidden when you finish your mending. Start sewing up the tear in a tight zig-zagging pattern similar to a shoelace. Keep your stitches as close and tiny as possible. Make a couple of extra stitches at the end and hide the thread inside the upholstery. Voila!

Other materials require a slightly different approach to the mending process. Microfiber couches have been a popular option in recent years due to their extra resilience, resistance to staining, and ease of washing. However, as attractive as these traits are, fixing the occasional tear in a microfiber couch can be a little more difficult. First, you’ll need something called Fray Check, or a similar product. The purpose of this is to seal the edges of the tear and prevent them from fraying and making the tear more difficult to close. Once the edges of a microfiber tear have been sealed, the mending process is essentially the same as for standard fabrics.

Those of you with leather couches in your homes have an entirely different task ahead of you in the event of a tear. The best way to go about this process is to buy a leather repair kit, or simply a leather patch to match the color of your couch, and a high quality tailor’s glue. Use a piece of blank paper to trace the shape of the tear, and draw a circle approximately one inch from each end of the tear. Cut your leather patch to match this shape, and use your glue neatly applied to the back of the patch. Apply the patch and weigh it down with a heavy object such as a large book to ensure even application.

Don’t fall into despair when your couch suffers a tear–be proactive and fix the problem before it grows. Remember that flipping the cushion does not qualify as a solution. You can use these easy guidelines to mend everything from an antique divan to a modern platform bed. Mend your tears before they grow and fray into sloppy messes. It’s really not as difficult as it sounds.