It’s The End Of The Month…Where To Now?

by Alison Gerber

calendar kids room

It’s the end of the month, my month of less factory made clothes. What have I learnt?

First, that fashion is not worth hurting someone else. It’s wonderful to be able to express myself through clothing, but when it comes in conflict my desire to put the needs of others before my own, fashion needs to step aside.

It’s completely possible to stop relying on factory-made clothes for me and my family. There are so many options for finding perfectly good, used clothes in the world: our local thrift stores, consignment sales, eBay, Etsy, ThredUp – why do I need to buy new? My friend Aimee even sent me a link to fair trade underwear! (www.wearpact.com if you’re interested). I feel confident now to stop buying at the mall and online, and instead save a bunch of stuff from landfill and reuse it for my family. I’m still not entirely sure this is the best way forward for the people of Bangladesh, but for now I can’t send my money into the pockets of people who oppress the poor.

Sometimes I forget to make the most of the things I already own. When I was digging through my closet for the post on “loving what you already have”, I realized “there’s a lot of great stuff in here I hardly wear!” Which leads to…

It’s possible to wear “fair” clothing but still be bound by consumerism. I haven’t really posted about this over the course of the month, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about the last couple of days.

Like I said at the beginning of this blog, I do enjoy fashion. I enjoy the expressive, creative, visual and tactile aspects of it. But fashion gets tainted easily, both when the clothing we wear is made unethically, but also when it is driven by a desire to buy, acquire, buy something new, buy something better.

Just because I’ve been buying my clothing this month at thrift stores doesn’t mean I have felt free from the drive to consume. I’ve still thought a lot about, written a lot about, buying stuff. “If only I had something new to wear today,” I’ve thought. “This room would look so much better if I just had…” “I’m so dying to get that…” “The kids would so love that…” Does anyone else out there feel that those thoughts go through their mind way more than they wish they did?

So for September, I’m going to shift the focus of this blog just slightly onto Buying Less. I’m not perfect at doing that, so I’m going to enlist the help of a couple of friends who are great at it. I’ll share my portion of the household budget with you, and track how I spend it (or, hopefully, don’t spend it). And I’d love to hear your thoughts too: How can I help you buy less? How have you learnt to overcome the drive to consume in your life?

As always, thanks for reading
x Al

(Image: Apartment Therapy)

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