The interesting dynamic about this process is that “clean” and “dirty” are very relative. I have seven outfits, one of which is for workout/sleeping and so obviously I am wearing some of these items more than once between washes. I haven’t washed any seven clothes yet, but when I do it should be about half a load. When Jen Hatmaker did 7 she only had one pair of jeans at her disposal because she only had seven items of clothes TOTAL! She talked about jeans that smelled like mildew. That is out of my comfort zone. I didn’t want to go there. But today I am wearing a shirt that I worked out in last night, then slept in and it has some enchilada sauce dried on a bit of the hem. It still seems clean. Because none of my other seven clothes are clean besides the maxi dress and it’s only day three! How did this happen?! Not all my seven clothes were clean when I started on Monday that’s how. I thought you guys might want to see what I’m wearing today. This is the old tee that I is for sleeping and the jean capris. (You will see all fourteen items at random throughout the month…promise.)
(It took me three tries to get the Snap-on and the hem of the capris in the shot. If you are coming here to be impressed by my mad photography skills…you have probably already been disappointed.)
Overall this process has simplified things in my daily routine already. I am that person who stands in front of a jam packed closet and screams, “I have NOTHING to wear!” A confused mind says no, and when my mind is so overloaded by the gross amount of options it is hard to think clearly about what I should wear. When you only have about twelve options by mixing and matching it is so simple. Yesterday I realized I had let too much time elapse before we had to be out the door and I needed to be DRESSED RIGHT NOW and OUT THE DOOR! So I grabbed leggings and the tunic top and flew out the door. I was dressed in less than a minute which has to be an all time record for me.
It has also made me consider how worn my fourteen items will probably be at the end of the month. Most of us don’t really know what worn out clothes looks or feels like these days. We don’t live in the world of my grandparents where you took your husbands dress shirts and detached the collar, flipped it the other way so it didn’t show the wear…and because there wasn’t money for a new shirt. Most of us don’t know what its like to HAVE to wear a pair of shoes that are worn through the soles. Some of us may have never worn a piece of clothing as dirty as what my Snap-on shirt is right now. Bless our hearts.
If this month could have a sub-title it would be “Rage Against the Machine”. I think back to all of the RIDICULOUS items I have bought and I start to think about the consumer machine that most of us are a slave to and also the value of the things we buy. For example. That $60 sweater I bought. It was ON SALE. It was CLASSIC. I would WEAR IT FOREVER. I bought this thing probably six years ago and I still do wear it…but really? $60 on clearance!!! If I were to try one of those little gems we call second hand stores they would probably not even want my $60 sweater, or if they did they might tell me that it was valued at $3. Or if I had decided after three weeks that I didn’t like it as much as I first thought and decided to “re-sale” it then, they might have said it was worth $6. The yarn that sweater was knitted out of might have cost $6 total, but what I really paid for was advertising and a label. How many times have I bought something just because of the label, or of the “idea” behind owning an item from that label? It makes me really sad that I used to feed into this machine like I was its life support.
Now I know that there are so many other options. First, buying items from the U.S. is my favorite, bought from someone who crafted that item who cares, who is being paid a fair wage, but also stimulating our economy. I am also supporting small businesses that way. Another option is “Fair Trade”. If you have never heard about Fair Trade you need to look into it. Every time I see a company who participates in Fair Trade I want to shout AMEN! The reason being….actually I could write a book on the reason being but there isn’t time for that here. So in simple terms, it is a way of telling the consumer: This item was made in a fair way, and the person who made it was paid a fair wage for their work. The opposite end of the spectrum could look like this: A seventeen year old girl who was abducted and sold into sex slavery, works during the day in a sweat shop in Swaziland for NO PAY, those goods are being made for labels like Givenchy (I don’t actually know) and then sold in the US for sometimes hundreds of dollars per item. So lets recap: the item was made FOR FREE by someone who is in SLAVERY and then we pay a very pretty shiny large penny for it here in the USA! How patriotic of us. I’m preaching to myself you all. These things keep me up at night. I can’t stand the thought of some poor soul over there making clothes in terrible conditions, who might not have eaten today. One of the reasons I picked my “AFRICA” shirt as one of my items is because it’s a Fair Trade item. Every time I wear or wash that shirt I see the tag and I think of sweet Carmen who made it and signed it, and I feel a little better about all of the foolish dollars I have spent that I might as well have THROWN IN THE TRASH. Those dollars probably would have been better off. I get a peace of mind when I know that my dollars spent are actually helping and benefiting someone, not enabling evil. You can get your own shirt made by someone sweet like Carmen here.
“With my whole heart I agree with the Law of God. But in every part of me I discover something fighting against my mind, and it makes me a prisoner of sin that controls everything I do.” (Rom 7:22-23)
So to combat my weakness and the “rage” I am refraining from a few things this month.
1) No spending on clothes for any member of my family.
2) No Pinterest pinning clothes (I accidentally cheated once yesterday) so I think I might just give up Pinterest for the rest of the month.
What are some small things you can do to fight the consumer machine, while in the process help others?