Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Lifestyle Reboot: January in Review

Month 1, Challenge 1: Complete. So far this year of change is going swimmingly. I very successfully managed to avoid any fast fashion purchases last month. I did not, however, avoid adding to my wardrobe and I'm pretty excited to share with you some of the ways that I managed to do that. (In case you haven't been keeping up with my challenges and have no idea what I'm up to this year, feel free to check out previous posts here.)

The most obvious, of course, is shopping secondhand. The one downside of this challenge is that I think it just helped me give myself an excuse to go thrifting more often, which may be counteracting any budgeting gains I made by avoiding the mall. No matter, here is what I found this month:

-This cozy blue sweatshirt (WITH ELBOW PATCHES) has been perfect for being comfy and warm now that it's actually cold ($5)
-These gray leggings were a serendipitous find as I just accidentally tore a hole in my old pair. ($3)
-My new favorite shirt for spring ($1!)
-I expected this 'a' sweatshirt to be a brand name, but no, it's the ALPHABET ($5)
-Updated winter coat as I've been looking to replace mine for a couple years now ($20, but I spent $6 after trading in some clothes)

I also tried selling some of my clothes to a couple consignment stores here in town. I wasn't super successful, as I think I missed the window on selling back sweaters but I did manage to make $10 on 2 dresses from Scout and $14 from a few items at Plato's Closet, which I ended up using as a trade-in toward my coat. If you live in Omaha and haven't checked out Scout, I highly recommend it. They have lots of interesting old and new pieces and pay better than a lot of places that buy back clothing. (No, they did not sponsor this post, I just really like them.) I would like to try a couple spots in Lincoln next time I'm in town and I just noticed a new place in Benson to check out before I donate the leftovers.

In addition to buying and selling to secondhand shops, I made a few edits to some clothes I already owned in an attempt to make them more wearable. [Full disclosure: Both of these projects are things I had been meaning to do for awhile and just hadn't quite gotten to yet. No matter, I still think they are worth sharing. ]

Project 1: Attempting to dye a couple pieces to cover up some stains. The pants had gotten a tiny smidge of bleach or something that was just enough to make them unwearable. The dye didn't fully cover it but it's at least enough that no one should notice while I'm wearing them unless they are seriously scrutinizing my thigh. The shirt clearly didn't work. It actually made the stain more prominent. That shirt is instead getting donated in hopes that someone else will find a good use for it. Overall, dying things to cover up stains has been very hit or miss for me (based on this and previous attempts). Another downside I have found of dying things is that you have to use hot water, which sometimes has the effect of shrinking things a bit.

Project 2: I bought this sweater dress secondhand last year to wear with leggings. It's super comfy and I like it but I am insanely sensitive to sweaters being itchy and realized after wearing it to work last year that it wasn't going to work for me without long sleeves under it. Unfortunately the neck is too wide for it to work with most of my long-sleeved shirts, so I made a couple chops to an old one that I had that was nearing the end of its useful life (it has already been dyed in an attempt to cover up some staining, which was only sort of successful). Now I'm good to go!

Overall, the month wasn't too challenging. I actually really appreciated having a good reason to stay more focused at Target and completely skip out on entering any stores when I met a friend at the mall for dinner in the fancy new local food court. In fact, I liked it so much that I am going to keep this challenge going. I am officially committing to 6 months, but ideally I'll hold out for the whole year.

I hesitate because making that commitment feels a bit too overwhelming right now and I'm not up for adding more stress to my life. I also have some reservations about being able to find certain items if I need them, namely pants, bras and shoes. These are all items that I struggle to find secondhand for various reasons and some are things I know I am going to need to replace in the next year. (I think the pants thing might be easier if Omaha were able to support more consignment shops like Plato's Closet and Scout, but I digress.) I will continue to look when I'm thrifting but I am also going to need to start looking into buying items that are new but made with sustainable practices. I'm not entirely certain how successful that will be.

I'm looking forward to continuing to update on how this challenge is going throughout the year. I've got a number of things in the works that I'd like to post about soon. I came across a book about fast fashion that I just started last week, which I think will warrant a post when it's finished, as well as a couple more refashions that I'm hoping to finish this week as part of my creativity challenge for February. And there will definitely be more thrift store finds to share, not to mention updates on all the challenges to come, so stay tuned!

Lifestyle Reboot - February: Getting Creative

Alright, everyone! A new month is officially upon us, which makes it time for a new challenge! This month's challenge is a bit less focused on sustainability and instead is more geared toward building mindfulness in my every day life (although, given that it's me, there are definitely some sustainability undertones).

I have always been a fairly creative/artistic person and I've noticed lately that this part of myself is almost entirely absent from my daily life. I very rarely make it a priority to spend time taking photos or working on any sort of artistic projects, so my focus for this month is to spend at least 30-60 minutes every day working on something creative. I anticipate that this will include refashioning some thrifted duds, making/remaking jewelry, coloring, taking pictures, editing pictures and getting my new camera all figured out. I'm looking forward to getting lost in the creative process again and revitalizing a lost piece of myself.

While my focus this month isn't exclusively on sustainability, some of the projects I anticipate working on are all about repurposing rather than buying new and adding to the waste stream. I am also slowly but surely making changes in my daily life to create less waste and be more thoughtful with resources. I've started looking for cloth napkins, handkerchiefs, reusable menstrual products, metal food storage containers, etc. in order to start swapping out disposable products for reusable ones. (I'm trying to look at sustainable/local purchasing options as well, rather than just running to Target for everything.) And I'm starting to carry some of those things with me more and more so that I'm prepared when things come up and don't have to rely on disposable solutions.

Additionally, I am starting to be more and more mindful about the health and beauty products I'm currently using, as well as more natural and less wasteful options so that I can be ready to try replacing them as things run out. I'm expecting that to start happening maybe next month, but we'll see. I don't want to waste the products I already have by not using them up.

Thanks for keeping up with my lifestyle adventures this year. I love sharing the changes I'm making with you and am so looking forward to showing you all of my artistic endeavors at the end of this month!