Pledges and sustainability.
Although I have had this blog since 2005, only the last 5 or so months have been really productive. It all came down to my challenge 2010, it´s simple: I said to myself in january this year; that I shall restrain myself from buying any new clothes. After making this decision, I discovered the fantastic online sewing community and I got even more inspired. Now, with only three months left of 2010, I thought I´d write down some thoughts on how I am doing.
- Keeping up with no spending. For my challenge, I allowed myself to buy tights, underwear etc., and to get stuff in thrift stores if I wanted to. The only thing I´ve bought so far is some tights (it is after all quite cold here for most of the year) and one wax print wrap-around skirt at the Salvation Army´s thrift store (this is the same skirt I forgot I hadn´t made and that I accidentally wore a couple of hours during September), and another skirt that I am going to refashion (it is part of my grand plan).
- Cleaning out my closet. Now this is the hardest part for me. I love my clothes, both the ones I´ve made myself and the ones that are store- bought. I find it VERY hard to get rid of stuff, and my closets are still crammed. I really need to find a way to be strong and give away stuff. I don´t need it, and I would rather have stuff I LOVE and that has an amazing fit, than have crazy much that is only half- decent. Help me! Please, give me your best advice on kicking out stuff.
- Give more to charity organizations. So, the whole point of my challenge was to help others in need. I want to donate money to charity on a more regular basis, but shamefully, I haven’t got around to setting anything up, yet. I am still researching where my money is most needed. I have been considering some alternatives, though. More on this in a separate post.
As you can clearly see I have only really succeeded in one out of three tasks, and that is to stop spending money on retail clothing. The king of Norway smoked cigarettes for years. At one point, he got cancer and needed to quit. He was then quoted to have said that it was “disappointingly easy to quit”. I must say the same with shopping. It is really not hard at all. It is a liberating feeling, and I know, when the challenge is over, I´ll probably not buy anything from H&M and its likes again. I am looking forward to supporting indie designers, though! There are so many talented folks out there, and they make so many fantastic pieces. Fun!
Some of my thrifty finds. The blue cotton became this and this, the plaid is these shorts. I havn`t used any of the patterns you see yet, but the capris are made out of a bed sheet. Super soft! Ceylon the dress is also made out of a thrifted cotton fabric. Everything is bought at either the Salvation Army or the Red Cross thrift stores in my hometown.
I have started to enjoy thrift shopping this year, and that is frankly the most sustainable way to get “new” things. I really wish that fabric stores would be more aware of where their fabrics come from, so that I as a consumer can make conscious choices there as well as when I buy my Fairtrade and organic foods. I recently stumbled across this interesting site though. It´s called The African Fabric Shop, is UK based, and basically sell fabrics and buttons produced by traceable manufacturers in different african countries. Now, I know, a whole wardrobe can´t only consist of wax print fabric (not mine anyways), but this is one way of trying to make a difference. I am curious if there are some similar projects in India. Must research…
I joined Wardrobe Refashion. It´s really not much to fuzz about, it´s the exact thing I have been doing on my own, only with the support of others in the same situation. I signed up in July for the six months version. I haven’t been very good at posting, as I haven’t refashioned much, but I can off course post stuff I have made from scratch as well, silly me didn’t think of that.
I have also updated my blog design a bit, and added some pages for my finished and upcoming projects. Inspired by creative ladies like Sarah and Alana I came up with a couple of ways for me to keep track of what I am doing. The pages are to be found in the left sidebar and look like this:
I will, when I get back home, go through my closets (again) and really try to get rid of stuff I don´t use. Again, please share if you have some great tips and trick for this purpose.
Thank you for reading.
I’m so glad to have found you through SSS flickr group, what a great blog! I LOVE your grand plan and actually had been thinking about doing something like that myself! Very inspiring work, lady! xxKO
i don’t have any tips for how to get rid of things in your closet, mine is crammed full as well. i find if i’m angry about something or in a random “i need to get rid of everything” mood, then i can cull things for at least 10 or so minutes (until i get out of the mood, try things on to see if they fit etc!). oooh and i love love love the ceylon dress!
Haha, I´ll try getting rid of stuff the next time I´m angry about something. 🙂
my best trick for getting rid of clothes: invite a friend or relative over to help (this is ESSENTIAL), then try on EVERYTHING (not all at once), and have this friend/relation be brutally honest with you (pick someone you’re comfortable with as far as being in your undies, so you can quick-change without leaving the room).
The main rule is: if it doesn’t look fabulous, it goes.
You likely have stuff you know you already love and look fab in, and those things can be set to one side, to help cut down on time.
You are allowed to hold onto some not-so-fab items if all they need is alterations, but they must leave your closet and head for the sewing room right away. If they’re not fixed (or missed) in a month or so, those have to go, too.
If you just can’t stand to get rid of something, because you made it, or you have strong memories, etc, you can keep it, but again, it has to leave the closet and be stored elsewhere. If you haven’t got that sort of space, take a picture, and let it go.
My sisters and mom and I try to do this for each other once a year or so. Sometimes it’s a couple years in between. Can’t be done without the friend/relation, though. You have to have someone else there to help keep you going, and to keep you from rationalizing too many items that really don’t work.
make sure you send it all off to charity/thrift stores, of course (after giving your helper their pick, if they wish). even the stuff that isn’t wearable gets used at those places – one near me bundles up their unsold or unwearable clothes and sends them to Africa (usually), where they are cut into strips and woven into rugs, which helps the impoverished make honest money, etc. Win-win.
Oh, thanks Laurel! That is a great idea to get someone to help me. Come to think of it, my sister IS the best clutter police I know. Only problem is she lives a 100 miles (european miles) away, so I´ll have to wait for her next visit. If I don´t suggest this as an activity for my sewing group.
I love the part you added about the stuff that should be fixed. I have ALOT of stuff in my “ixing bin”, and they´ve been there way much longer than a month. So I´ll probably start there. 🙂
I wrote a similar post yesterday! Last night, I filled two bin bags: one bag has gone into my “storage drawer” and contains my summer clothes; the other contains items for the charity shop. Once I got going, it wasn’t too hard. I still think I need to be more brutal with what’s left and intend to strike again tonight. I also know that I ought to edit the summer bag a bit more, but at least it is out of sight for a few months! One thing I would say: try to do your editing in daylight – then you can identify the items which need to go because they are past saving due to fading / bobbles etc. I feel quite refreshed! P.S. There are some interesting comments appearing on my post you might like to read.
Oh, that´s so funny that you did that too, must be the season?
And the part about daylight, is soo very true.
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