When one is passionate about something, one must make sure they’re aren’t coming across as obnoxious. Read: When I (that’s ME :D) am writing with passion, I need to make sure I don’t make ya’ll want to click the page closed because I’m being so bossy.
The furthest thing from my mind is to make you feel bad about what you buy. Oh friend, you are doing the best for your family and are making good choices already! I’m here to cheer you on, not make you feel poorly about things. So let’s get this clear and taken care of good and early on in this series.
Passion can easily be mistaken, misused, or misunderstood for something else completely.
And if I am passionate about this subject of changing the way we make our purchases and shopping decisions, it’s because I am coming a long way out of the fog of believing we need to follow the trends, buy cheaper clothing (and more to replace what gets wrecked) and stuff our closets and cupboards full of things – an outfit for every day of the week?! How about two :D.
I am passionate about this because it is finally dawning on me that THIS. IS. POSSIBLE. And it doesn’t have to cost hundreds of dollars more.
But we’re going to get a bit deeper into this in this post and as we go along through this series.
Essentially, I hope only to inspire you to seek to make changes in your own life, to think more than twice before buying something.
For example, Old Navy has a sale on (pretty much every day they have a sale, but yeah). I have things in my online cart that I’m drooling over. Cute, girlie items, and then sweatshirts for my boys. Things we don’t need, and things they will for the winter. I kept the items in there over a couple of nights, then came back to it yesterday and dumped nearly everything that was not an essential out of the cart. Even some of the essentials I recognized that if I waited a bit longer (it’s not freezing here yet! We’re still in shorts and Ts for goodness sake) I could purchase one really good quality sweatshirt for each from a shop that benefits ministry, vs. a store that doesn’t. Hmm.
Again, this isn’t about a guilt trip. I’m not saying you need to go through your closets and throw out everything and start over. Nor am I saying EVERY last thing you buy should be from a company or organization that sources ethically produced, quality items.
This is about getting us to think before we buy and tying our hearts to the lives we can have a hand in influencing.
So how and where do we get started?
Well, first of all, you’re here! And I hope you’re getting a little bit excited because in the days to come you’re going to hear stories and meet companies, individuals and ministries that are working to get materials and products into our hands.
1. Seek and Find Companies to Work With
I’m going to take care of a good chunk of this for you! But honestly, I’m barely scratching the surface. Every day I search I find more and more opportunities to purchase ethical products.
2. Redefine Shopping
I eluded to this above – when you’re looking for an item to purchase, consider going first to these companies. You may be surprised at just how much you can find! We’ll take some of the guesswork out for you as we outline what is offered (hopefully by categories) from each site so you don’t have to spend hours digging.
Oh, and the prices? They’re not earth-shattering. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that a lot of things aren’t too much more than you would pay for a higher quality item at a retail store. But again, you have to change your mind about shopping! It’s not about quick, easy, cheap. It’s time for us to think slow, sustainable, quality.
3. Tackle Your Closets
Take a look at Hayley Morgan’s No Brainer Wardrobe. If you feel like you don’t know what to wear a lot of the time, she will help you work with what you have and build a wardrobe that spans the trends with classic but cute pieces. Think about taking what you have and creating a capsule wardrobe:
- a collection of clothes and accessories that includes only items considered essential
- a person’s basic collection of coordinating clothes that can be used to form the basis of outfits for all occasions
- a set of clothing, normally around 24 items, which can be mixed and matched to create a wide variety of outfits
I’m not exactly a fashion expert, but I think we will be surprised with how little we actually need to have in our closets! (Though they’re messier and get dirty more easily, this can go for kids as well!). With the right accessories, classic pieces and some style sense (thank you, Pinterest!), our closets can be less crowded and our minds at ease because we know we’re making good choices – plus, we’re not agonizing over what to wear every day :0)
4. No guilt
You don’t have to throw stuff away. Just think before you buy in excess – do I need this? Will it serve a purpose long term in my wardrobe? Let’s be less about throw-away fashion, and more about classic pieces.
You don’t have to stop donating. Just don’t jump for the easy getaway (ahem, I’m talking about Salvation Army and Goodwill). If the clothing or items are in rough condition, consider finding a way to recycle it (because if you donate it, it will likely get thrown away or possibly sold in other countries!). Find a consignment shop or local merchant who takes clothes overseas to orphanages, or a church who has a clothing drop-off for families in need.
You don’t have to feel any guilt for any purchases or decisions you’ve made in the past – unless you really shouldn’t have bought it and it wasn’t in the budget and you have a chronic over-shopping habit. Then MAYBE we should talk with Dave Ramsey :D.
5. Speaking of Budget
Ethically produced clothes and products may cost more than you’re used to spending. You may not be able to afford to change anything you are currently doing. And that’s ok. Because the more important thing is that you’re making wise decisions for your family and providing for their needs and yours within your budget.
If and where you can make the change, and you can make it work with your budget, do! It may take a bit more planning, a few less purchases of unnecessary items elsewhere, and greater care in where we shop. But it’s a rewarding experience in more ways than one when it all comes together.
Let’s move forward from where we are, empowered by what we are learning to make changes in the way we are living. It makes a world of difference.
We’ll be taking a break for the weekend and coming back together on Monday as we learn more about making purchases that make a difference, and meet some of the businesses that are doing it.