Fast & Cheap vs. Less, but Better
We're living in a culture of fast and cheap. It's designed to be addicting. Responding to trend, deals, ease and urge, we find ourselves unable to resist the temptation of those quick and easy fixes looming in the windows of stores like Zara, Target, Top Shop and Amazon.
Clothing was once built to last and bought with intention - today, the average American throws away 80 pounds of clothing a year, mostly because we're buying disposable clothing. The less a consumer spends on an item, the less they value it. This perpetuates unethical labor, landfill crisis, and water pollution with microfibers, insecticides, chemicals and toxic dyes. Not to mention filling up our life with literal garbage that's stealing our space and diluting our daily decision making.
In the move towards "less, but better," we're often faced with the daunting task of THE PURGE - how to get rid of unwanted items. A good place to start is "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondo. The principle is this - we struggle to throw things out because of guilt and attachment - guilt of how much we spent on it and attachment to sentimental value. She suggests picking up each item, deciding whether it brings real joy, and if not, thanking it and letting it go. It works! As for letting go - I find it helpful to work in layers: selling, giving, donating, recycling, upcycling and kickin-it-to-the-curb. I've included some resources below for recycling old clothing!
My experience with essentialism - and fasting, which is kind of the same thing - does NOT feel like sacrifice or deprivation. It feels both spacious and satisfying.
That's all for now! As Johnny Cash says, "One piece at a time..."
Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles: An online platform that will help you find the nearest textile recycling outlets
Wearable Collections: NYC-based clothing recycling pick up service
Council for Textile Recycling: Find clothing donation drop-offs and textile recycling resources all across the US
Green Tree: Free textile recycling drop-offs located at specific NYC farmer's markets