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Less waste and being less consumeristic often go hand in hand. But unless you live on your own acreage, off the grid homestead, it’s often impossible to never buy anything every again. So what do you do when it’s time to buy, and how do you do so while keeping to your minimal waste ideologies?
I’m not going to lie, it’s not always easy, but I’ve compiled a few tips that I have learned that do make it possible. Sometimes you just have to be a little creative, patient, and be willing to do a little bit of research.
When you buy something used you are not only saving a garment from the landfill but you are also saving energy. The more you buy second hand makes the energy used to make your clothing go farther. Buying used is also good for your budget, because second hand clothing often comes with a big discount. I try to find second hand items from good quality brands that will last me for years to come.
There are some items like bras and panties that I just don’t want to buy used, period. With items like these I choose the buy once mentality. I am willing to pay more money once for an item that will last me years. Sure those 14.99 bras from Target and Wal-Mart are tempting, but when they fall apart in six months it makes them not very practical for my budget or the planet. I have yet to find a bra that is both long lasting and eco friendly, so long lasting wins on this one. I’m still on the hunt, but for now Victoria’s Secret has me in their pocket. I had one bra last through six years and two pregnancies so I’d say they are definitely worth their money although they do have some questionable ethics issues.
Buy With Green in Mind:
Whether I am buying used or new I first try to buy with green in mind. As often as I can I try to buy pieces that are made with 100% biodegradable materials such as cotton, silk, linen, or bamboo. So when I am done with these items years down the road (after I’m done wearing them, and if they are not in a condition where I can donate them, I turn them into rags) I can throw them directly into the compost. Buy buying with green in mind I am able to send a lot less items to the landfill from my closet.
At 28 years old I think I am just now starting to figure out this style thing. I’ve stopped looking at what is in right now, and I’m focused more on me. What I like, what looks good on me, what feels comfortable and still looks halfway decent while I’m chasing around three kids each day. I’ve also found certain brands and styles that both fit my ethics and the way I want to dress. While I’m open to trying out other brands, I won’t settle for less than what my favorites give me. Like my J.crew tee’s that are made with 100% linen or cotton (so I can compost them when I am done) and provide me with a great fit. But at 39.50 brand new they don’t really fit well into my budget.
Which brings me to my last tip…
Patience Is a Virtue:
Ah patience, definitely not a virtue that I was born with. That being said, there’s definitely something to say about it though. Now don’t get me wrong, I will always feel the urge to buy that cute cardigan at Target, but I’ve learned to be patient and wait. If after a few days I still really want the sweater I’ll search thrift stores for a similar item, and then Poshmark and eBay if I can’t it locally. It doesn’t always happen instantly, but if I check weekly I can usually find the items I am wanting fairly soon. Nine times out of ten I can find a similar item of great quality (sometimes even better) gently used for at least half off.
Both my budget, and the planet thank me for it.