i am well aware that (my new) old thing did not happen this past sunday!! apologies, apologies. truth be told, i have been so focused on packing and sorting for our upcoming house move that i completely forgot about it.
i have actually been doing the ‘other side’ of thrifting the past few weeks. to date, i think we have given over 5 bags of clothes and housewares to charity shops throughout bedford. today, i am going to take a car load of old papers and bits and bobs to the recycling centre and then, this weekend, i will drop even more unwanted housewares at emmaus village in carlton.
(digression: emmaus village is freaking awesome. i love it there. they are a homeless charity offering active support to formerly homeless people by providing real workable alternatives to homelessness. to read more about them click here!)
the sorting is so unbelievably cathartic. there was so much stuff in my house that i either did not use, did not fit, or i did not want anymore. it’s so funny isn’t it? in our consumer culture, we amass all this stuff. and then we get rid of it a few weeks, months, years later. usually because it isn’t ‘cool’ or ‘in’ anymore, or we just got bored with it.
it can be incredibly wasteful but (and this may be controversial) i do not think that i can live completely counter-cultural. it is not practical. i live here, i must contribute in some way and i will not be able to relate to any of my friends/neighbors if i don’t.
however, i had a great idea, that was spawned off of my love for old finds. i might not be able to live completely counter-consumer culture. but i can consume responsibly and respectfully! like, instead of just throwing out all my old stuff that i don’t want anymore. i can freecycle it, or ebay it, or give it to a charity shop. this is not careless, it is reusing, usually benefitting the people in your area, or a worthy charity. it takes a bit more time and organisation, but the benefits are worth it! likewise, when we want new things, instead of just going to the shop and buying it new, why not check on ebay, freecycle or the charity shop first? again, it takes a bit more time and organisation, but we will be reusing, instead of creating more demand for production AND it’s usually a lot cheaper!
check out one of my favourite blogs, great smitten, for some fab ideas on how to get started with the art of ‘thrifting’!
another idea i had, that i want to teach my kids, is that i do not want to just amass a lot of stuff. fair enough, if i want a new dress, and i can afford it, great. but i probably have lots of great dresses already. so i am bringing in a ‘one in, one out’ policy for myself and the kids. if we want a new toy or new item of clothing, that is fine. it is one of the benefits of our culture. but out of respect for the rest of the world, who doesn’t have that luxury, and to not be wasteful, we will get rid of one thing too. i don’t know about you, but that feels awesome to me. i am not living with a mentality that all consumption is bad, because it’s not. but i am also not being careless and unaware of the rest of the world and the effect that consumption/production has on the environment.
i go to emmaus village and other charity/thrift stores all the time and find ‘treasures’ that i find fun enough to blog about. but someone threw them out. i would love to spur on a movement of people who realise that their trash might be material for someone else’s blog post. we can reduce landfills and support charities like emmaus village that are doing a world of good.