Sarah’s Six Items Challenge
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I spent a lot of time thinking (possibly too much thinking) about my 6 item challenge before it started. I have a lot of thoughts that I’m going to try and make sense of in this in post, so here goes!
It was an interesting week to be doing the challenge. I had four days at work, three days at home with my toddler, had a play date with other mums on Saturday and on Sunday a family meal for early Easter celebrations. It was also a really hot week. Plus, I started working on the Brent Household Recycling and Re-use Centre and waste transfer station. All this meant I had to accommodate lots of different environments and sources of dirt!
I initially thought it would be hard to choose my six items but it turned out to be quite easy. If I’m being truthful I tend to wear the same items week in week out anyway. Our Get Swishing messages often say that we wear 20% of our wardrobe 80% of the time. But for me I’m pretty sure I wear less than 10% over 95% of the time. You can see a picture of my wardrobe in this post. As someone who describes themselves as not being interested in fashion I have a frightening number of clothes. Especially since I wear very few of them.
What I wore
I opted for a work outfit which could be worn in both the office and on the site (black trousers, purple top and black cardigan) when teamed with safety clothing. Then one outfit for everything else (black jeans, green t-shirt and green hoodie). I ended up washing the t-shirt on Friday with a full load of other darks generated by the rest of the family to help me get through the weekend on only the six items. I then wore it on Sunday to the family party with an interesting food stain on it from where my little one wiped her hands and mouth on the sleeve – thank goodness for the hoodie covering that one up!
So, I did manage with six items for the week as per the rules of the challenge. I’m so happy however, that coats, safety gear, sports wear and underwear are excluded from the count. There’s no way I could have managed with just six items for the whole week and having to wash things everyday.
Am I really part of the problem?
I’ve already said that fashion has never really been my thing, I know what I like and what I’m comfortable wearing. Whilst those have changed over the years I don’t tend to buy clothes very often. In fact, I know I’ve not bought anything yet this year. So really I was asking myself whether I feel I’m part of the problem when it comes to fast fashion. After soul searching the answer to that is, yes I am.
Whilst I don’t buy clothes often I do still love a bargain like everyone else. I will typically go to a lower price retailer to look for an item. That’s instead of spending more on something that is priced to reflect the effort that has gone in to making it and makes sure working conditions of the person who made it are conditions that I’d like to work in. Another realisation from my thinking too much about this challenge is that I buy a lot of clothes as a pick me up. Emma said to me that the clothes we wear are our brand and a statement we make about ourselves. I guess that’s a strong motivation for buying the newest and latest trends in a similar way that in the past buying something new has helped me feel happier.
I’d like to pat myself on the back because a lot of the clothes I’ve bought for me over the last couple of years were from charity shop. Moreover 90% of my daughter’s clothes are either hand me downs or charity shop finds. Extending the time these items are used is important to reduce the environmental impact of each item. If they sit in the wardrobe not being worn though, is that really the best use of the resources used to make them?
What will I do now?
What does my soul searching tell me? Will it change how I buy my clothes in the future? You may have heard the idea that if you make a public declaration you’re more likely to stick by it so here’s mine…
I’m going to go through my wardrobe and either give items to our next Swish or to a local charity shop for re-sale or recycling. There’s no point having clothes I don’t like and will never wear. It will be better for the environment if someone somewhere is using them and buying one fewer thing brand new as a result.
Next time I feel I have no other choice but to buy new clothes or shoes or accessories I’m going to ask myself four questions:
1) Do I really love it?
2) Will I wear it?
3) Do I actually have something to wear it with?
4) Who made my clothes and does the price really reflect the working conditions I’d want to encourage for that person? If I answer yes to all of them then I’m more likely to buy it.
We want to hear from you
Do you ever think about the impact of your wardrobe on the planet? If so, have you made changes to the way you shop or dispose of unwanted garments? Perhaps you’re interested in taking the Six Items Challenge? If so, we’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your thoughts or ideas. If you prefer to get in touch on social media, we’re also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.