Conscious Consumerism – Clothing Challenge Wrap-up

You may remember that back in August I swore off *new* clothing purchases for three months.  Well, last week marked the end of this little challenge. “Challenge” may be misleading, however, as the word generally denotes that something will be difficult and take a great amount of work and focus.  In my case, the only time I even needed a reminder of my goal was when I really wanted to buy a T-shirt from my yoga studio!  Otherwise, this no-new-clothing thing was FUN!  Here’s the round-up:

Total amount of new items: 23. Mostly tops, 2 pants, 2 scarves, 2 dresses.  I feel like I should say first that almost never in my life have I purchased over 20 items of clothing within a three month time period!  In fact, last year I might have purchased 30 items in an entire year.  But this “binge” made barely a dent in my wallet nor did it support an endless production line somewhere across the world.

Total amount spent: $36.  Yes, you read that correctly. Thirty-six big ones for 23 items!  That’s about $1.50 an item, but the truth is that most of what you see was 100% free. The majority of those dollars were spent at Avalon Exchange, and in the interest of full disclosure, that was $31 for about $75 worth of clothes, thanks to their exchange program.  But even 80 bucks for 23 items is a steal!

Give-and-Take Swap in Braddock

Where the clothes came from: second-hand shops and clothing swaps.  Remember that list I posted a while back of local thrift stores?  The only one I ended up visiting during this period was Avalon. These three months happened to be full of clothing swaps – four, to be exact. Two were run by friends, one was a post-30-day-challenge celebration at the yoga studio (I finished the challenge, yay!), and one was a big public swap held by Give-and-Take.

What now?  This was probably the easiest of my multiple “challenges” over the past three months (30 day yoga challenge, and two-month vegan challenge!).  Now that it’s technically over and I realize how simple it was, there’s little chance that I’ll go back to buying new clothes. Sure, a few pairs of new underwear are called for every now and then, and there are other things that I prefer to buy unused (workout clothes, socks), but those purchases will remain few and far between.

How anyone can do this: I know multiple people who rarely, if ever, buy new articles of clothing.  Not only is it cheaper, it’s also more fun, and extremely easy!

1. You know that bag of clothes you drop off at a donation center every few months?  Put a notice out to your pals to save your bags for a swap party!  Make some food, maybe some mimosas, toss your clothes onto a table and start grabbing.  Whatever’s left can be saved for another swap, or go to the local Goodwill, OWS camp, or other donation center.

2. Find your favorite local thrifts.  Each thrift store has it’s own personality and uniqueness, so find a few that suit you and visit often!

3. Yard sales! Yard sale season is pretty much over here in PA, but neighborhood sales are great places to find cool clothes once the weather warms up.

4. Craigslist, Freecycle, and  I haven’t tried the latter since I tend to avoid sending things through the mail (no good reason other than it seems like sort of a hassle), but swapstyle allows you to exchange clothes with people from all over the world, so if you’re not afraid of post offices, it’s worth checking out!

So there it is – the clothing challenge wrap-up! As for my other challenges, there may an update or two about those in the near future. For now, though, I am focused on “No-Buy-November,” an effort to redirect the holiday binge-buying toward more sustainable gifting ideas like making, reusing, and repurposing!  This won’t be too difficult for me, since I’ve never participated in the Black Friday phenomenon and have already decided not to do typical gifts this year. However, I do hope that it gets others thinking about how to save some money and resources this holiday season.

What are your favorite places to find used clothes?  Where does your donation bag go? 

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1 Comment

  1. hi! its my first time on your blog and I really enjoyed this post, especially the pictures. my friend hosts swap parties and they are so fun – she calls them ‘naked lady parties’ which I think is a fabulous touch. happy blogging! 🙂


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