Why my clothes are 2nd hand

Other than my fashionista sister's hand me downs, about 98% of the remaining clothes in my closet came from my favourite charity thrift shop. It's not that I HAVE to shop second hand, I actually prefer it.... and here is why:

#1 It feels good. The thrill of the hunt is exciting when there is only a 1ft long rack of shirts, and on that rack could be every colour, size and style from the last few decades! The mall just doesn't have that same feeling of victory when the "perfect" shirt shows up, AND the colour is great, AND the fabric is nice quality AND it even fits! The mall's endless stores with endless sizing is depressing to me somehow. I can't put my finger on it, but mall shopping leaves me feeling quite literally sick after a couple hours. Choice burn-out maybe?

#2 It feels good in another way too. By shopping at my favourite charity thrift store I am supporting their cause. It's nice to know my fashion choices are helping local causes.

#3 It feels good (again). That is to say, my "new" top did not use any extra resources to make, and it didn't need to get shipped either. I diverted this chunk of cotton (natural yes, but pesticide intensive to grow) from the landfill, and the more wear an item gets the less impact the original growth of that product equals per wear. I have to honest that I don't think about my cotton clothes' source terrible often, but when I do, I am happy that my thrift store gives me the chance to take my own environmental stance.

#4 My wallet feels good too. Finding that perfect shirt is always fun. Finding it at the thrift shop is always affordable - sometimes ridiculously cheap if there is a "sale" on. Name brands even! My wardrobe gets a lift and my wallet doesn't cry.

#5 I can walk away. Sometimes I DON'T find anything (wrong size, wrong material, bad fit, faded, whatever). And that's just fine. If that one rack doesn't have anything that day. Oh well. Maybe next time. The hunt is over and I didn't waste all day at it.

#6 I know what to expect. One of my pet peeves with buying new garments is that I am afraid what will happen when I wash them. Buying 2nd hand is a preview. Since they have already been washed, I know what the shape really will be. I also know if it will be prone to pilling, whether the buttons will stay on, if the seams are going to stand up and whether the zipper will continue working.

#7 If something happens, it's no big deal. Dog prints... cat claws... food stains... every article faces the risks if I'm wearing them. I do try to prevent these mishaps (because who wants to replace that hard-to-find item!) but when they happen I know I haven't wasted a ton of money on them.

#8 My inner minimalist is satisfied. I rarely get "attached" to the clothes (maybe because they are cheap and used to be someone else's?). Even my wedding dress I bought at a consignment shop (I thought it was romantic that another bride had been wed in it) and I consigned it at that same shop less that 6 months later (again I thought it would be romantic that someone else would have a special day in it). I can give up clothes easily! Those pants that no longer fit, that shirt that I no longer love, the dress that isn't my cup of tea anymore and I feel just fine about it. Bags head off to the same charity thrift shop.

I feel like I make a donation when I buy it and then make another donation when I drop the clothes off. Meanwhile I got the fun perk of having choices in my wardrobe. I can change size, cahnge styles, change favourite colurs and not have environmental (or financial) guilt about it. How cool is that?!

There are probably more subtle reasons to add too. Uniqueness of fashion, against the trend shopping, mall-anxiety avoidance, laziness (the charity thrift shop is by far the closest clothing retailer to where I live and right next to my bank and grocery store)... but those are the top 8 reasons.



Still swamped in boxes - 2 months after the move.

What is in all these carboard space-suckers?!

As I make the hard decisions about what will stay and what will be moving on, I find that the density of my stuff is increasing.

My husband put it perfectly, "The house is getting more homey but less roomy".

There has to be a way that we can keep the homey AND the roomy! With every item that is kept, there is a sacrifice of space and the time it takes to clean and maintain that item.

There is progress being made! Stuff is going out by the boxful every weekend. It just doesn't seem fast enough somehow. As this mighty mountain of boxes indicates.

How much of it is sentimental? Have I attached a moment of my life to the object that I am afraid to lose?

How much of it is habit? Am I keeping it because I've always had it?

How much of it is aspirational? Am I keeping it because I think I will read/play with/use it someday? Or that owning it fulfills some wish I had once?

What is certain is that the density of the stuff is getting too much. The spaces between the spaces is getting smaller with every unpacked box and I don't want that. I REALLY DON'T WANT THAT!

Enough is enough. I am drawing the line in the sand.



Finding my feet

Moving has been a challenge. Staging, packing, selling, more packing, moving, NOT unpacking because of renovating! But this delay in unpacking has been a blessing in disguise. It has been more than 2 months now since we got possession of this house. And many more months since decluttering for staging of the old house. That extended time without so much of my stuff has given me lots of time to reflect on my priorities. So much of what I am clinging to in these countless boxes adds no really value to my day to day life. In fact it is a distraction from what I truly love! With that in mind, my culling efforts have really picked up steam. The things that were crammed mercilessly into the old house do not belong in this home we are putting together here. Out of every box I am unpacking this last little while, about 1/2 is going straight into the "donate" pile. I have taken many more boxes to charity and bags of clothes too. (When I got here I was giddy about the walk in closet until it got too full to slide the hangers around... now they move freely, and giving each garment spece, shows more respect for the things I chose to keep. I have not won the war yet, but I feel like each battle brings me closer to success. At this rate I will be able to get a much smaller bookcase than I first thought I needed... and more importantly, my neat freak husband may actually be able to find peace in the living room soon!


Always a learning experience.

Moving is hard.

At least it is when there are 4 creative, active people that are attached to all their cool stuff!

We have been in our new home for more than a month and there have been speedbumps, potholes and fire-breathing dragons hindering our settling in (renovating hiccups and health stuff). There are still loads of boxes that are not unpacked! In my defense there are still areas of the home that aren't "done". Plumbing that needs moving, trim that needs adding, closets needing doors, so I can't put everything away yet and it's driving me nuts. Especially when I KNOW if I had less stuff it wouldn't be this hard so it's very much self inflicted!

I love this house and I want to stay here a very long time.
This is great news for decluttering, because I love the house more than anyof the stuff in it! So it's less difficult to make decisions... if it doesn't fit  then it must be removed.

"When in doubt, cut it out!"
My mom says this used to be the policy for surgery in the 70's but I think it translates wonderfully for this situation.

There are many decorative items that I still like very much that went wonderfully in the old place, but just don't work here... I have already pared down quite a few with no regrets. If something pretty doesn't look pretty in the space then it just isn't doing it's job now is it?!

Primary Problem Areas: TOYS + BOOKS
(not all the toys are the kids, and not all the books are mine)

Books: without bookshelves I'm not sure I want to open those boxes. But if I can live over a month without these books... can I take the plunge and NOT open the boxes? Just let them go?
Toys: are just plain out of control. It will take extreme measures to hack at that mess, but then again I don't want to be insensitive to the amount of stress the move put on the kids already without stripping them of their things too. I will stage the rest of the home to the clutterless level I want and hopefully they will want to follow... with gentle encouragement and the tools they need.