An important part of sustainable living is avoiding unnecessary purchases. It’s something I hadn’t considered when I started my fair trade journey a few years ago, but it might be one of the most important habits to adopt in the long run. Reducing my overall consumption in terms of how many things I buy is awesome because it naturally reorients my spending. It gives me the freedom in my budget to save up for fair trade options I really want instead of making stupid impulse purchases at every thrift store in town. It also gives me the wiggle room to invest in non-material things like traveling or just spending the afternoon reading instead of shopping around.
I went through my closet yesterday and realized I don’t even wear a dozen pairs of shoes I own. The fact that I can get rid of a dozen pairs of shoes without making a real dent in my collection is baffling! I also found 8 or so varieties of the same knit shirt that I never wear. Granted, many of them were thrift store finds, but acquiring them wasted time and money better spent elsewhere.
I think the desire to dress creatively is great, but there’s a tricky balance between wanting to be fashionable and buying responsibly. I think it’s ok to infuse my wardrobe with the occasional kooky thrift store purchase, but even when shopping on the secondhand market, I need to weigh the practicality and long term potential of each item before pulling out the credit card. Sigh. It’s an ongoing battle, but I am making progress. I’m learning how to work toward my goals as a consumer and conscientious citizen of the world without all the unproductive guilt trips I used to take myself on.