Things That Have Gone This Week – 7

 

This week has seen another 6 items of clothing leave my possession and I gave away a large roll of carpet on Freecycle! All of the above items were purchased second hand and I profited on every single one, as I paid reasonable prices for them. Overall, these items netted me £101.65 before postage.

I think my clear out is slowing down now, as it has worked and I have less items to sell or giveaway. However, I remain hopeful of selling 1 or 2 more items next week.

  1. Halterneck Polka Dot Vintage Style Dress
  2. Fat Face navy blue summer dress
  3. Phase Eight Heart Print Top
  4. Phase Eight Geometric Print Dress
  5. Mistral Leaf Print Dress
  6. Vintage black lace robe

Is it Vintage or is it Second Hand?

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These days second hand clothes are not always a bargain. The vintage label seems to come with a hefty price tag. Since when have hand-me-downs and cast-offs become ‘vintage’? Is there any real difference? Today I am going to explore this further, with the help of a new series on BBC Radio 4 – From Rags to Riches.

Second-hand is no longer seen as the poor man’s choice and is becoming quite mainstream, with the rise of the likes of eBay. People who bought vintage clothes up until  the Millennium tended to buy only the rarer or more collectible pieces. In more recent times, there has been a real shift and almost anything goes, so long as it is a unique one-off or fits current trends, but without the large price tag of buying new. But with this sweeping change, should we be concerned about true vintage items dying out? This seems likely with the rise in poor quality, fast fashion pieces which are not made to last or even cut well in the first place. I cannot see them enduring in the same way, as items from 40+ years ago.

I have mentioned in a previous post about the history of the garment trade. But what is vintage? Is it simply a garment that is too old, for you to have worn the first time round, in your lifetime? Or is vintage about having a connection with the past? Sometimes people have the luxury of knowing a garment’s original story. But often they are bought anonymously, in a shop or online. I know that I am attracted to clothes from certain eras. I particularly love a lot of the styles that were around in the 1970s, the decade just before I was born. But I can’t really explain why that should be so, it’s probably just personal preference. There certainly seems to have been a lot more meaning attached to certain types of clothing in the past; like flapper dresses, the ‘new look’, mods and rockers or teddy boys, are just a few examples. I am certain that the rise of the term ‘vintage’ has concurred with the rise of the internet and various online marketplaces. Perhaps this is because search engines rely on people searches for certain labels or definitions?

Vintage fashion is quite possibly a counter-cultural movement, a reaction to the fast fashion of the high street. Around the turn of the Millennium,  vintage began to step outside the wardrobes of Punks and students and onto the red carpet. It even found its way onto the pages of high fashion magazines, starting with British Vogue in May 2003. Perhaps some people still adhere too strongly to labels, even when buying second hand. Certainly some people may only buy second hand designer labels. Others may stick to labels that they know suit them, or they like the style of and there’s nothing wrong with that! Still others will actually just like to purchase something second hand, from your common charity shop and just enjoy wearing something that they love, that no-one else has.

So perhaps now, buying vintage or second hand is not an alternative lifestyle choice and has become mainstream in itself? It seems to me that the label vintage is simply applied to any garment over 20 years old, in order to inflate the price artificially. Although I admit that some people have an eye for finding the nicer pieces and perhaps this curation is worth paying a bit extra for. But I love the thrill of the chase. I certainly think there is good vintage and bad vintage, but again perhaps that is a matter of perception. This modern fashion concept called ‘vintage’ just rebrands everything in the same way, whether it’s a Regency gown or a pair of 1990s Adidas Gazelle’s. That is an unhelpful paradox to create.

Certainly, if you head into any fashion design studio what you will find are rails of old clothes (or shall we call them ‘vintage’ darling?) As my Grandad used to tell me, there is nothing new in this world and he always swore that if he kept clothes long enough, they’d be back in fashion again. Not that he truly cared about that, it was just an excuse to never go shopping, well except at jumble sales. (See where I get my love of second hand from – ha!) Anyway, the point is that designers use them as reference points for the ‘new’ trends that they create – whether it’s copying a button, a hem-line, a frill or a motif.

Vintage carries a prestige now because you have the garment and no-one else can. I suppose when people made their own clothes, there was far less likelihood of someone else wearing the same thing, as you chose the material, the pattern and cut it to fit you. Whereas nowadays there is a real fear of turning up in the same thing as someone else, at least for some people. But clearly, the word ‘vintage’ means different things to different people. I still prefer the rummage at the charity shop, along with the generally acceptable price tag. Although even some of them are now offering vintage boutiques, with prices to match! You just have to remember to check the condition of the items, as I often find that they don’t check and have been left with an imperfect, or sometimes unwearable item due to staining.

If you’ve enjoyed my blog post today, you will enjoy listening to the Rags to Riches podcast.

Things That Have Gone This Week – 6

Here we are, week 6 and the clear out continues! I took 2 of those massive charity plastic sacks to a charity shop this week- they contained yet more clothing, from both me and my OH. Plus board games, footwear and a whole stack of books. These were all things I hadn’t been able to sell, so I hope the charity shop will have more luck than me! I also took another big plastic sack of clothing that was too worn to a textile recycling bank. I had been planning to hold onto it for rags etc, but at the end of the day there was more than I was ever going to re-use and we don’t have the space to keep it all for years. I understand that it can be recycled into padding for car seats and the like.

Add to all this the 8 items I sold on eBay this week and I’d say it’s been a pretty good week 🙂 I got £92.45 for this little lot which I am pleased enough with, for stuff I don’t want the responsibility for anymore. This is the net figure, not minus postage etc but it’s still pretty good. I didn’t buy any of these items new and I ended up in profit on most of them.

  1. 2 sacks to charity
  2. 1 sack to textile recycling
  3. Turquoise Monsoon Skirt
  4. Vintage Laura Ashley Velvet Ballgown
  5. Vintage Laura Ashley maxi skirt
  6. Laura Ashley shirt dress
  7. Clarks Silver Ballet Flats
  8. Tu Pink Dress
  9. Juicy Couture Jeans
  10. Ice Skates

Another 2 items have bids on them too, so they’ll be included next week. But this was probably my best week so far for getting rid of stuff! Are you decluttering? If so, how’s it going?

Things that have gone this week – 2

Here we are, another week has passed and several more items have sold. In-fact, I have now surpassed the £1000 mark. You can read here about how I made £800 selling my no longer used/needed, everyday items on eBay.

 

  1. Retro 1970s summer dress
  2. Bridesmaid dress and matching sandals
  3. Pair of purple shoes
  4. A vintage black velvet jacket

2 is something I had to admit that I was never every going to wear again, particularly as I could no longer do it up. I struggled to let it go, as I felt responsible for it in some weird way, as someone else had purchased it for me and it was linked to an important family event. But surely it is going to do more good being worn by someone else at their wedding or prom, than gathering dust in my wardrobe? I am really grateful to have the space back, as those big, netted skirts take up a lot of room! I still have all the pictures to look at from that special day.

1, 3 and 4 are examples of over-purchasing in charity shops! Trying hard to avoid this now I am more conscious of my buying triggers. Just because it is a bargain doesn’t mean to say I have to have it, especially if I do not need any more clothes and shoes! 1 and 3 were never even worn. 4 was worn once to a Christmas party. However, the fact that they were purchased second-hand in the first place, has meant that I broke even on them.

I’m still hoping to sell a few more things. What have you let go of this week? Have some items been easy to let go and some been hard?

Philanthropy – A Potent Motivator for Decluttering

It seems I have finally found my biggest motivator for decluttering – philanthropy. I guess it’s the most logical too. I have finally concluded that having items sat in my cupboards that I am not using, is preventing them from being used by someone else. Talk about wasteful! That is your most potent motivator, right there – for being Zero Waste and decluttering.

I don’t know if something has changed in me as well, but it’s like a pair of fresh eyes for me. I’ve got 2 pairs of sandals in my wardrobe, both were bought to go with a specific outfit to wear to a wedding. Neither the shoes or the outfits have been worn since! Let that be a lesson to me, never to buy something ‘just for a wedding’ again. Well, I’ve decided to donate them all. I’m sure plenty of people will be thrifty enough to use a charity shop for their one-time wedding purchase. That’s what I should do next time! Far better that someone wears that Bridesmaid dress, perhaps to their prom than it sits in m wardrobe forever. I am never going to be that slim again and besides, I have photos and my memories.

Another great motivator has been recognising that there are some things I am just not going to fix and therefore, it’s either time to throw out those items or Freecycle them on to someone who might like to fix them. There are a great deal of people out there, looking for a project. I had to admit that I was never going to glue those shoes back together, I had moved on. And that fridge magnet, no-one cares enough to glue that back together and it probably wasn’t going to last, even if I did! There are plenty of other fridge magnets on my fridge, but I felt attached to it as my parents had brought it back from holiday for me. Yes, I was ‘attached’ to a fridge magnet. Like I felt they would notice if I threw it out!

I am getting much better at putting unwanted gifts straight into the bag to go to a charity shop. I just don’t want to even have to deal with that kind of guilt anymore. What matters is that the person wanted to give you a gift and that you graciously accepted it. That doesn’t mean that you have to keep it. I often receive gifts that are duplicates of items I already own, so however thoughtful the gift-giver thinks they are being. I am sure they would rather someone use them, than they sit in my cupboard forever and a day. It’s also better for the planet if we use the things that have already been made, rather than storing them.

Over to you, what’s your biggest motivator for decluttering? I think big life events can also be a great initiator – especially if you are boxing everything up for a move (as we have done several times before), or preparing for a life change – like the arrival of a baby or an elderly parents coming to live with you. All these things mean that you need to clear some space and take some time to sort through your belongings with a more critical eye.

Lush Mouthwash Tabs – Zero Waste Mouthwash

I was unable to find a Zero Waste alternative to the regular mouthwash I had been using. I tried making my own, but I was worried about the safety of the essential oils I was able to source, as you could technically be ingesting some. Plus, it really didn’t taste all that great nor did it seem very effective. So it was back to the standard off the shelf stuff for me.

Then, my favourite store for Zero Waste bath and body products – Lush – decided to invent mouthwash tabs! They come in this tiny plastic bottle – OK, not perfect by Zero Waste terms, I would prefer they come in a little glass bottle or a little tin. But I can’t choose – though I will feedback to them. The massive plus point is that they are dry tablets, so they are much smaller and lighter to ship which has a massive impact on the environment/carbon emmissions. They are perfectly portable, ideal for travelling or just keeping in your bag, to freshen your breath at any time.

Personally, I’ve only tried the mint ones as I have a preference for minty dental care products. Call me traditional if you like! There are 2 or 3 other flavours in the range, for those who like something a bit different. All you have to do is take one tab and crush it with your teeth, add a mouthful of water and swill like a normal mouthwash. Then spit it out and voila, minty fresh breath is yours!

I think this tiny little  bottle will last me 2-3 months, possibly more and that’s with daily use. This is way better than my old, standard option which I needed to purchase every month in a huge bottle. I therefore suspect that these are much better value! The frugal-natured part of me wants to try and calculate exactly how good these are, when I have some time.

Aside from all of this, these are much more natural; with ingredients like: sodium bicarbonate, essential oils and stevia. I am super-happy not to be putting Triclosan into my body anymore. For this reason, I’ll be sticking with these from now on – no matter what the cost. My only other minor criticism is they use a ‘frosty holly lustre’ in them which is man-made and to my mind, totally superfluous- it makes the tablets look sparkly. No-one needs a sparkly mouth, quite literally! I wonder what impact this unnecessary ingredient has on both human health and the environment?

When all is said and done, I think they’re a great option if you’re aiming to be Zero Waste, but why not let me (and Lush) know what you think! By feeding back to manufacturers, we can encourage them to make even better products!

When being Zero Waste & Minimalist has to go out the window, temporarily.

I’ve experienced a sudden and unexpected period of ill-health this week and it is set to continue for a week or two more. I’ve suddenly encountered some of the pitfalls of the Zero Waste and Minimalist lifestyle.

  1. First up, although I cook everything from scratch – I instantly regretted the lack of more convenient meal options in my freezer. It’s not even that we would resort to ready-meals, but just a frozen pizza, or portions of Shepherd’s pie or similar would have been fantastic. OK, so often we would have portions of things stashed away. But it just so happened that we’d eaten things down since New Year, partly because I’d been ill then too and partly in preparation for our recent holiday. It had helped us save money too. My husband is not adept at cooking and unfortunately most of my recipes are kept in my head. I’ve been cooking from scratch for so long now, that I just know what to do, off by heart. A Minimalist freezer does not assist much in such circumstances!
  2. Thank goodness for internet shopping! This enabled me to get some easy-to cook options back in the freezer & cupboards quickly and without needing to rope in someone else to do my shopping. Downsides are that our shopping bill just about doubled, plus there’s the added expense of a delivery charge unless you’re going to spend a small fortune. Also a lot of these things are not just over-priced but also over-packaged. But, I am afraid needs must when it comes down to eating or not eating at all. Other annoyances include that despite requesting my shopping came with no bags, all the loose fruit & vegetables I’d chosen arrived in little plastic bags. Alongside all the meat items being individually enclosed in little plastic bags and then all the frozen items being put in a large carrier bag. I don’t understand why people do that! I mean, the containers they put meat in are pretty robust, I’ve never ever had one leak on me. And anyway, unfortunately everything else is also so well-packaged that’s there’s next to no reason to think anything would get contaminated. The frozen items wouldn’t have harmed anything else, if they had touched. It’s not as if a little wetness wouldn’t dry.  I had to rely on supermarket meat rather than a trip to a local butcher with my own containers. Supermarket meat is vastly inferior in taste and quality (and probably welfare too!)
  3. A family member kindly did buy us a few ready-meals as a very thoughtful gesture, seeing as they live too far away to help in person. I’m extremely grateful for them in my current situation, but it does generate a whole lot of plastic waste which we wouldn’t normally have.
  4. I’ve also had to buy medical supplies in an emergency which I had to send a family member to get. This meant that they ended up purchasing a plastic carrier bag because we really were caught out and they wanted to easily carry the items, plus maintain some privacy around the items that had to be purchased. Normally I’d always have a cloth bag to hand, but not when I’ve been rushed to A&E! Then I required a prescription which another family member went to get and it seems to be customary now to be handed your prescription in a little plastic carrier bag. I remember when they used to use paper! I’m sure they’ll say it’s for privacy reasons also. Cue – more unexpected expense, especially as you can’t always guarantee the best price when you’re buying things like this. But needs must!
  5. The medical supplies consequently generated more landfill waste as they are the type of disposable items, that involve some level of plastic and need to be changed and disposed of frequently.
  6. Currently, when I’d normally walk I’m having to take the car instead which also causes extra expense and pollution. I’m not able to do as much as I normally would which means my trips are also less efficient. But I know that all of this is only temporary and really, what else can you do in an unexpected, emergency situation? Life happens, but I still find it a little frustrating as it feels like all your best efforts can go out of the window so quickly.