Now more than ever, it’s important to be mindful of where we spend our dollar. We have more power than we recognize when it comes to where and how we spend our money. At this time, being responsible in our community and earth looks like shopping from small businesses to keep those around us afloat. Shopping small businesses and local uplifts our neighbors and our friends. Repurposing goods is also a really thoughtful way to be grateful for the material that is already here instead of producing more and more at the expense of our earth. Making mindful purchases means thinking about how this item was made. Are the items you are purchasing supportive of someone else suffering? Could someone be overworked and underpaid to create the item you wish to have? Is the item worth its retail price? How was the earth sacrificed in order for this to be produced? These are the questions we should normalize when making new purchases.
Repurposing Goods for the Home
My most favorite thing to source from thrift stores are home decor. Lamps, tables, shelves and kitchenware are my favorite little items to search for when I visit a new thrifting spot. Home decor can be extremely expensive when moving and starting over. When I moved, I was lucky enough to snag some pre-loved items from my mom and grandmother to prevent repurchasing products. Many of my staple pieces of furniture are sacred and sentimental because they were gifts from my ancestors. Going to antique stores and marveling over the pieces they have is one of my most treasured past times. Most of the older items in thrift stores were built to last and are much more practical than wildly expensive items for sale today. I get so much satisfaction from looking online at stores that inspire me, and then finding similar items and styles for much cheaper. I really have developed a skill, that has become a hobby! Many home goods can be revived with a nice new paint, knobs, or design. Allow repurposing furniture to bring out the artist within you.
Repurposing Apparel Goods
There are many ways to repurpose clothing, aside from thrifting at your local shops. Nowadays, there are brands who will do the thrifting for you and sell the most wanted items to target audiences. Clothing makes up so much of the waste in production that we are struggling with as an ecosystem. Buying second hand, passing things down, and getting more life out of items is such an ethical way to give back. When purchasing brand new items, I try to ask myself if this is a piece I will have forever or be able to pass down? Understanding how much value and life items have is key when committing to purchases. Slow fashion is on the rise as we awaken to a more intentional approach to style. According to Alyssa Lau, “Buying one item used over new reduces its carbon footprint by 82%, while also saving it from landfills or flooding the local markets in developing nations (which is where much of our donated clothing ends up).”
Aside from antiquing and thrifting there are many other ways to shop gently used products. Depop and Poshmark are two online stores that allow you to buy, sell, and swap pieces of all sorts online. There are several Etsy shops dedicated to selling the most amazing and gently used garments. A simple way to reduce waste is to swap clothes with your friends. Do closet purges and give away what may no longer (in the words of Marie Kondo) “spark joy”. There is nothing wrong with parting ways with something that no longer fits your taste.
Allow someone else to receive joy from things you may no longer need…
At a time where most of us are spending tons of time at home, we are redecorating and redefining what style means to us. Humanity has arrived at an incredible reset and is undergoing a collective soul shift. As you are redesigning your living space or wardrobe, my hope is that you consider repurposing items and sustainable shopping. Embracing the art of repurposing as a wellness practice is a matter of taking responsibility for our carbon footprint. It allows us to feed our creative needs, while continuing the livelihood of pre-loved products. Let’s do our part by researching what we purchase and repurposing what we can, when we can.
Images via Charlotte May