I remember feeling very pleased with myself when, about a decade ago, I simultaneously started refusing plastic bags and buying clothes made of organic cotton. Only much later did I realize that resisting over-consumption was not just a matter of saving the planet.
I thought: you need money to buy stuff. Well, of course I already knew that. More precisely, I though: you have to work to get money to buy stuff. ‘Duh!’ you’ll say. ‘Has that girl just come back down to earth, or what?’
If I wanted to quibble a little, I’d point out that your reaction was a little hurried. What if I had been an annuitant, or inherited a fortune, and suddenly lost everything? But anyway. I am not, and I didn’t.
Here’s what I thought. I thought: if working means being employed to do something you don’t like or disagree with, then not spending a lot of money – or simply not buying stuff – is a way to become less dependent on your job. I truly like the not buying option, and I literally delight in applying it whenever I have the chance. But we’re speaking of clothes, and, friends, I live in Scandinavia. It’s pretty darn cold here.
Fortunately, I also thought about something else. I thought: someone has to work to produce the stuff you will buy. Do I really need that shirt so much that someone has to get up in the wee hours and spend the day sewing in a factory instead of slowly sipping a cup of tea while reading a book?
My point is, it took me all these years to start buying second-hand clothes. I wish I’d done that before, ’cause they’re awesome. No toxic smell of new textile. No hesitating about what color to choose.
I hang them to dry on the clothes line. Sometimes it takes a while, but hey, I have time. I don’t need to run to my job: I have no plans to buy a tumble dryer.