Do You Really Love It?
Do you really love it?
So, recently it was London Fashion Week, and as I was on my way to a decluttering job I heard an interesting report on the radio about a couple of designers (VIN + OMI) who had made clothes out of recycled plastics – and remarkably, they were raving about how soft they are. Obviously, using recycled plastic for clothing is one (unusual) of producing sustainable fashion, and this got me to thinking about sustainability, (fashion) and clothes.
Loving this pink beauty… but I shouldn’t … but it’s good because it’s recycled – Gaaaagh, what am I to do?
VIN + OMI plastic clothes (clearly magazine.com)
As a professional declutterer, I often help clients with managing their wardrobes and the teetering piles of clothes that they just don’t know how to manage, or plain just don’t want any more. I then become part of the most visible and obvious side of recycling when I help to decide what they want to do with clothes that they don’t want anymore. Most often this is done by giving to charity shops or to their friends and family.
Does this scene look familiar?
The trouble is that apparently, we bought 1.13 million tonnes of clothes in the UK in 2016 (I can’t find figures for last year) but then according to the charity wrap.org.uk, we only keep them for about three years on average! According to hubbub.org.uk we averagely spend £640 on clothes a year. Amazingly, typically only one third of these ‘throw outs’ are only barely worn – so we wear about 13% of our wardrobe – and the rest of the time these clothes are just ‘hanging around’ (arf arf).
So how can we make a dent in our clothes collecting habit? Mebs it’s time to try the Project 333 – the minimalist fashion challenge that invites you to dress with 33 items or less for 3 months! Sounds like a great challenge… really scary, but a great way to knuckle down to some serious decluttering.
The Rules according to Be More With Less….
- When: Every three months (It’s never too late to start so join in anytime!)
- What: 33 items including clothing, accessories, jewellery, outerwear and shoes.
- What not: these items are not counted as part of the 33 items – wedding ring or another sentimental piece of jewellery that you never take off, underwear, sleep wear, in-home lounge wear, and workout clothing (you can only wear your workout clothing to workout*) – *take note of that last bit all you Australian ‘Activewear’ fanatics!!
- How: Choose your 33 items, box up the remainder of your fashion statement (love that), seal it with tape and put it out of sight.
- What else: consider that you are creating a wardrobe that you can live, work and play in for three months. Remember that this is not a project in suffering. If your clothes don’t fit or are in poor condition, replace them.
Check out https://bemorewithless.com/project-333/ for more info.
Or we could –
- Buy fewer but higher quality and more expensive items that will wear well.
- Try to buy locally produced clothing rather than cheap imports – apparently most of the clothes bought in the UK come from Asia.
- Design a ‘strong’ wardrobe that will last for years and then just drop in a few well-chosen fashion items to boost your street cred. All those early morning fashion dilemmas will just melt away when there aren’t so many choices.
- Try before you buy – make sure it fits and it suits you. If you are buying mail order or haven’t got time to try on in the shop, try it on as soon as you can and if it isn’t right – pop it right back in the post the next day/ get it back to the shops for a refund.
- Consider mending worn/damaged items, either yourself or finding someone to do it for you. If you really love whatever it is – check out this great site https://www.loveyourclothes.org.uk – fab ideas to make it happen – super eco and sustainable ideas.
- Try not to Impulse buy – write a list before you go shopping, don’t go shopping when you are pissed off or sad, definitely don’t put it on the plastic if you haven’t got the dosh ready and waiting.
- If you are looking for something for a specific special occasion – consider renting, or ask your friends for a borrow.
- Make clothes last longer by checking care instructions
- Gifts – just because somebody has given you clothing, you don’t have to accept it if it doesn’t suit you/fit you or set you on fire – thank them and say no!
- Overload –– do you really need a fifth pair of jeans/another black jumper/more boots?
- Consider whether you have enough space to store your new clothes/shoes.
Thankfully another way to extend the life of your clothes and the 100,000 tonnes (plus) of unwanted clothing, is reusing them via ‘free exchange’ eg passing to family or friends, local groups or using online websites such as Gumtree, Freecycle or Freegle. Then of course, if you have a wardrobe full of fabulous soon to be Ex Clothes and time on your hands, there’s always Ebay….
There is a whole other darker side to all of this clothing waste and that is the damage done to the environment during the manufacture of clothing that will then be put in the recycling bin– but I won’t go there now.
Back on track – what I really wanted to say was…. it’s great that as professional declutterers and organisers we get to help people to manage and organise their clothing. But, putting aside the fact that it might not be good for business – wouldn’t it be lovely if we didn’t have to?
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