Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Living (Green) Efficiently (edited)

This is a post about clothes and acquisitiveness. If it gets around, I'll probably never be given a gift of clothing ever again.

I've sewn for years, supposing it was more efficient than buying clothes in a store. Life itself isn't very efficient and everything is tending toward collapse anyway(Second Law of Thermodynamics) but I figure we ought to fight the good fight.

Then too, handmade clothes FIT me, and don't encourage slave labor.

I'm not sure about the efficiency of handmade. I've recently read that, though it's counterintuitive, keeping your old vehicle, even if it's a gas hog, leaves less of a carbon footprint than buying a new car. It "costs" so much ecologically to make a new vehicle.
It could be that the fabric I buy was made by slave labor. Growing and spinning my own fiber, and then making fabric, seems so time consuming that I won't even start. I have great respect for those who do.

I'm reading a novel set in Japan, so I'm on overtime reminiscing about my years there. The Japanese women with whom I taught and worked seemed to have only one or two work outfits.
In teacher training in America, I'd been told to keep the wardrobe as large as possible, to keep things interesting. Evidently, in Japan teachers can be interesting without having lots of clothes.
Of course, as an American, I got the idea that part of MY job description there was to look as glamorous as possible. It's the American mystique. (I got so tired of it that when I repatriated, I stopped wearing makeup and jewelry.)

So, how many clothes does one person need? I'd always thought that five to seven outfits was about right, so I only had to do laundry once a week or so. What's the norm? (Of course, kids need a lot more, since they get dirty.)

Mrs. X works in a store that we frequent, and she came up one day and said that she and her husband had outgrown some clothes she thought would fit us. Would we take them? Sure.
She gave us three BIG bags. They do indeed just fit us, and look never worn. It was like Christmas, almost, and we're grateful.

We didn't have enough hangers in the house. How many clothes do we need?

I don't think income really needs to be a factor. I've known a couple or three people who are really rich, and they seem to have even fewer clothes than I.

People do need BEAUTY in their lives, and sometimes that's purchased as clothing or jewelry.

Sometimes I think I must be weirdly conservative. Maybe it comes from living in the Midwest, where memories of the '30s Dustbowl have not really died. It certainly seems to me that the attitudes of people who lived through the '30s are very similar to "living green".

Use it up.
Wear it out.
Make it do
Or do without.

I like the upcycling done in many Etsy shops.

If you're feeling poor, check out the people served by Warm Woolies,

or GFA,

and remember that while life on earth may seem expensive, it includes a free trip around the Sun every year.

Comments welcomed.

1 comment:

Arian said...

Thanks for the blog link! I lived in Japan for a little while too!