Wednesday, January 27, 2010

waste not, want not...or something like that

I find myself really torn between opposing ideologies lately. Part of me desperately wants to buy new clothes now now now! while the other part of me spends far too much time considering the impact new shoes have on the world, the misuse of resources (my personal resources and in the broader sense too) and the waste generated by a constant stream of new clothes, and my general contempt for disposable culture. These feelings are causing me to re-evaluate many decisions I used to take for granted. Namely, it has added a massive amount of guilt to any and every shopping trip.
I've been the same size (more or less) sense high school. With that in mind, I haven't physically outgrown anything for quite some time, but rather have changed my fashion and had to acquire new clothes to accommodate my new style. Fine and dandy, I don't really want to be trotting around in those overalls and flannels any more than you want to see me in them. But aside from that, I've given away more clothes and shoes to the Salvation Army that I HAD to own a year or two earlier and thrown away clothes and tennis shoes that were spent after less than a year of wear. Looking at that waste, I've concluded that I am a rather foolish and impulsive shopper.
If you think about it, how is it that so many clothes are produced each season, each DAY for people to consume? How can we possibly use that much? Stores can't sell all of those clothes generated in wasteful quantities, but that doesn't mean the clothes are going to areas or people of need. Instead, they just generate more and more waste.
With that in mind, I need to make some changes: I need to be smarter with the clothes I already have by taking better care of said clothes, make repairs when possible, make wiser new purchases, and remind myself that we didn't always need so much. Part of this is poverty-induced, I'll give you that--another part of it is wanting to wear things that I can't always find in stores (vintage patterns, eee!). But the other part of me thinks I could better direct that money spent on new (disposable) clothes; like towards travel, owning another dog, good times at the bar with friends, my retirement, bike repairs, transit passes, really awesome food, pictures from my wedding, thrift store clothes that I will magically transform into something awesome, and a general sense of well-being. Oh, and tea. mmm, tea.
Don't worry, I will still shop, just in a less frenzied and ill-advised fashion. I hope.


  1. good for you miss. Scott's sister Carrie decided to make last year her year of only buying second hand clothing - nothing from a store that hasn't already been worn or owned by someone else and I think she saved a bunch of money and really found some great things too - without wasting other resources. :)
    hope you have a great day! 2 days til your closer to 30 than me!!!!

  2. Michelle (quite astutely) observed that I could still just sew an a-load of clothing as she watched troll around five sewing blogs one evening. This is all too true. If I get really good at sewing my own clothes, is that such a horrible thing?