By: Revanche

Waste not, want not

November 1, 2007

One Frugal Girl and Mapgirl recently blogged about the existing and perhaps unacknowledged abundance in one’s life. They both point out that clothing that’s hidden or stashed is a waste of money if you never using it; likewise with other resources like books or yarn. This is a great reminder of the WWII motto: Use it up, wear it out, make it do!

Ironically, I’m probably more in line with WWII than I am with my own generation on that regard. The ability to buy something new and not wearing it immediately was my private, adolescent idea of personal (closet) wealth. Then, as now, I only bought something new if I had to: if I had to replace something else worn and discarded, or simply couldn’t show up to another school/work event wearing the same thing I wore the last three times. But in high school, I had a girlfriend who always found the best deals, and was a nice medium-large size so she could find at least one of everything that fit her perfectly. She was the queen of buying things without ever trying them on, and so was always in possession of a surplus of lovely attire. She had a Mary Poppins closet: every time she reached in, something so new it still had tags on came out! I positively lusted after her ability to always have something new in that closet of many colors. That, back in the day, symbolized financial stability: buying things because you wanted them, not because you needed them.

Years later, that impressionable little self still wishes that I were “wealthy” enough to buy and stash clothing that’s not immediately pressed into service one I get home. Since it clashes with my need to have a perfectly honed, no-waste-here closet, and I don’t truly have the means for a cornucopia of clothing, I artificially cultivate that feeling of having, instead of needing.

The NY trip yielded the two long sleeved shirts and nice sweaters that I needed for work. I’ve defeated the purpose of having shopped specifically to fill those needs by hanging up the clothing and refusing to wear them for at least a week. Sort of a, “hah, I have new clothes but I don’t have to use them right away!” Since I’ve pruned out the old and worn clothes already, I find myself falling back on some really old stuff that probably shouldn’t be seen in public anymore (like this black shirt I’m wearing from high school), but in the meantime the shiny hasn’t been rubbed off the new stuff.

At the same time, I try to clear out my closet regularly and to root out any article of clothing or shoes languishing in the back of the closet, and that helps keep my eye “fresh.” It’s really too easy to stare at the same things, the same way, and thinking “I have nothing to wear!”

In essence, I’m prolonging the sense of newness for as long as I can. It’s a standing shopping moratorium to help combat the I-wants.

Does anyone use this sort of trick to keep themselves from overconsumption?

2 Responses to “Waste not, want not”

  1. SavingDiva says:

    My recent way to avoid over consumption of clothes has been to avoid malls…

  2. ~SavingDiva~ So logical. It’s much more economical to stay home and blog!

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