Monday, June 3, 2013

The Consumption Cycle

I decided to do a "Buy Nothing New" year (just personally; my husband and kids didn't want to join me) in 2013 (confession time: I have "cheated" and bought a new pair of shorts and a new sundress for my vacation, and half-cheated by giving my husband such strong hints about my desire for new slippers that he bought me a pair), and I've also been very moved by the Bangladeshi factory collapse to look more closely at where our stuff comes from.  Consumption and "stuff" just seems to happen in our culture, far too easily.

But what to do when your daughter's favorite pair of shoes looks like this?  I really wanted to throw these out and get her some new shoes (that she would actually wear).  Finding fair trade or Made in the USA shoes for kids (that she would like and wear) turned out to be very difficult.


Trips to the local thrift shops turned up nothing.  Research into shoe companies that at least tried to be ethical in some way led me to lean toward Keens or Toms as being slightly better options (although not perfect).  I finally ended up getting her a pair of used Toms on ebay, and then she was willing to throw away these old purple shoes.  Although I hate to add things to the land fill, these were beyond repair or repurposing that I could think of.

We also sorted through her clothing, and filled two large bags for donation with stuff she has outgrown.  Some of that was replaced when I went to the 50% off sale at the Value Village, and came home with three bags of clothing for the four of us.  I feel pretty good about the thrift store cycling of clothing.

But sometimes things can't just keep going around and around forever.  I had a sweater that I bought from the thrift store for myself two or three years ago, and it has seen pretty heavy wear in the last few years because I liked it a lot.  Now it is just worn out, too misshapen and thread bare in places to go back to the thrift store for another go-around.


But before I threw it away I snipped off the buttons and added them to my button box, and I salvaged two hats out of it.

I used another hat as a pattern (another hat I made a few years ago also from an old sweater).


And just cut around it, then stitch right-sides together.  Easy as can be.


"Use it Up, Wear it Out, Make it Do, or Do Without".  I'm trying.

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