Saturday, January 23, 2010

Newlessness : REduce REuse REcycle REsolution


I've never quite understood the logic behind making a new year's resolution. I figure if you want to make a change in your life, why not start today? For this reason, I'm not the greatest at making or sticking to resolutions, however, this year, I had a great idea for one. I've been thinking quite a bit about my spending habits and one of my weaknesses is shopping. And then when I'm not shopping, I'm envying what other people have. Sometimes I try to convince myself that I'm just, well, admiring a cut or style and consider it research for my new shop... But, I'm not fooling anyone... not even myself. So, I've quit cold turkey. I've made a committment not to buy one new item for an entire year. I must admit, at first, I thought it was going to be a simple resolution and personal challenge. Here I am, not even one month in, and I about had an anxiety attack when I went to the mall. Okay, I might be exaggerating just a little, but it's definately harder than I thought it would ever be. Since I imagined it would be a simple resolution, I didn't think I would blog about it, but my friends convinced me otherwise as soon as I confessed my struggles with this challenge. I just never thought about how many new things I buy on a daily basis.

Now, you might be thinking
you can't buy everything used. Well, you're right. I've made a few exceptions to my challenge, such as food, some toiletries and business supplies. However, I've found ways in even those categories to cut down on spending and to incorporate recycled items. My business is a great example. With
Bambu Earth, I make a lot of my supplies from recycled materials, such as my handmade plantable paper labels. With Bambu Closet, most of my clothing items are made using recycled fabrics and eco-friendly fabric from other Etsy suppliers who are destashing their unwanted material. And with Bambu Studio, so far, this challenge wouldn't apply since my only supplies are my computer and my super SWEET Photoshop skills.

These categories aside, I've committed to buying only used, recycled items. So, I have to determine whether the item of my affection, sitting there on that store shelf, staring at me with shiny new packaging is something I really
need, something I really really want or just something I kind of want. If, after weighing these options, I find that it is something I need or if it is something I really really want, the hunt ensues. I then have to search out ways to get it without buying it new.

My first challenge was a simple pair of jeans. I've been meaning to buy jeans for a while now. I guess if I were a bit smarter, I would have gone on a shopping spree
before January first (however, refer back to the part where I mentioned that I assumed this to be a simple resolution). Okay, so jeans don't seem like they would be that difficult to find used, right? Wrong. Most people reading this probably don't have a 35'' inseam. Finding name-brand jeans, long enough for me to wear, without being altered, and that make my butt look good? It's hard enough finding those qualities in a new pair of jeans from the department store. I started browsing Craigslist and Ebay listings, and I realized I probably needed to try jeans on before commiting to the purchase. I tried to search brands of jeans that I've owned because I know how they will fit, but I just couldn't seem to find the right measurements or sizes.

Buffalo Exchange

After surfing the internet, I decided to go to a local thrift store. We have a great one only a few miles from my work called the Buffalo Exchange. They typically have some great stuff. If you don't mind sifting through the array of sizes and styles, this is a great avenue for buying used items. Thrift stores in general are pretty good about accepting only clothing that is in great condition and some items even still have the tag on them. Since I was on my lunch break during my visit, I couldn't spend too much time looking around, but I managed to find a few pair of jeans that seemed to be decent candidates and tried them on. One pair of Bebe jeans fit perfectly, were super long so I can even wear them with heels, and had a price tag of just $22!! These jeans easily retail for well over $100. It made me wonder why I hadn't been shopping at thrift stores all along. I've worn my "new" jeans several times already. They are my new favorite.

Until my next adventure, I challenge YOU to go take a gander at your local thrift store and don't forget to comment if you find something extraordinary!


  1. I recycle clothes into crafts all the time. It is more of a challenge than using new. But I also have yards and yards of fabric "waiting" on me :-) LOL

    35" inseam is long. I have a 32" inseam and have a hard time!

    My friend and I go to a thrift store that benefits battered women. We go when they have their $2.00 per brown bag sale. We divide and conquer. We each pick things we like and that the other one would like. The we go to the car and sort through it and decide who gets what. The rest goes to a yard sale, cut up in crafts or donated to another thrift store for ther Humane Society. We find lots of brand new tops with tags still on them.

    It is always an adventure, seiing what we will find, not to mention the money it saves!

    Happy Thrifting!

  2. Wow! What a deal! I need to do more Thrift Store shopping!

  3. OMG! Willpower of steel! Blogging will probably help you, though. You can spend the time thinking about how your going to write up your retail resistance instead of wallowing in regret. I try all the time to buy jeans at vintage stores, but I am convinced that the only kind people give away are old mom jeans with 12" zippers. But I buy tons of other stuff vintage, and I love finding that unique item. It is such a thrill!

    Good luck!

  4. Christie, I love that brown bag sale adventure of yours! That is very admirable to do something that is not only great for the enviornment, but also benefits others in need! This goes well with a blog I am soon to write (around Feb 6 doing a clothing swap- don't want to give too much away too soon... so stay tuned!! )

  5. Dionne, I really hope you are inspired to do so! If you do go browsing, don't forget to check back and comment on your finding.

    CandJ, yes, blogging will definately help, I've already been thinking of new ideas! It is definitely an encouragement. Vintage stores can be a challenge, but that's half the fun! Rummaging through the ordinary to find that perfect piece!

  6. Yay, congrats on your first find. I'm addicted to books and two years ago I made a promise not to buy a book for a whole year.. OMG that was hard but I did it. I saved a ton of money. Last year I spent a ton of money on books so this year I've not promised anyone except myself not to buy a book unless I get a voucher as a birthday present. It should be a lot easier this year as Borders UK has just gone bankrupt :(

    Good luck with the challenge

  7. This is sooooo awesome! I grew up "curb" shopping...that's right...we would pick up the stuff people threw year Mom and I had a yard sale with items picked up during "Spring Cleaning". We made over $100 on used items that people had thrown on the curb!

    My children know I love to shop Salvation Army on 1/2 off Clothing Days, other thrift stores, yard sales and flea markets. It's mostly due to my budget. I however am so exicted to sport an entire recycled outfit costing me less than $10! I appreciate when people give their stuff away, so that I can shop. I also take lots of stuff to goodwill as well.

    I think this is a great experiment! I'm so excited to hear more!!!

  8. Great blog! I work at a preschool, so you can imagine how messy it gets working with children. Well, we got a new director and one of the first things she put into effect was that all employees must be properly attired, not dressy, but not jeans and t-shirts. Boy did the teachers balk! They don't get paid enough to ruin nice clothes. Until... our first teacher in-service, she brought in a bunch of clothes and some of the teachers model them. Wow, really nice. Where did she get them... the local thrift store!

    Someday I will follow that advice. :)