If there is one thing we have all learnt in lockdown, it’s that we don’t need to go shopping. Certainly not for clothes. Let’s be honest - we don’t see many people walking the streets naked do we? We all have clothes. More than enough clothes.
It wouldn’t be hard to avoid buying clothes for the rest of our lives. We need to celebrate and to wear the clothes that we already have. This is how. Go to your wardrobe and, take out ALL your clothes. Pile them all up on your bed. You’re going to sort them out but you’re not throwing them away.
Pick out all the clothes that you enjoy most. The ones that you would keep if you had to give away 80% of your clothes; your favourite woollen cardigan - perhaps knitted by someone who loves you; the dress that feels like summer time; the jeans that you wear way too often, the top that you know shows off your curves - or the top you love because it hides your curves. Take those clothes out of the pile and hang them back in your wardrobe. If you notice that any of these, your most loved clothes need mending, washing, ironing, de-bobbling or loving in any way put them in a little pile to await your immediate loving attention.
All the rest of the clothes - those that you like but don’t really wear - launder them and put them in a large box (or if you’re lucky and have space - hang them somewhere else - but not with your favourite clothes.)
Most people wear 20% of their clothes 80% of the time. This second pile - 80% of your clothes I suggest you become radically generous and give them to your friends and relatives. When they visit you say, ‘Would you like to look through my give-aways?’ And you let them take whatever they want. Look on it as a spiritual exercise in not being attached to ‘stuff’ if you like.
The magic is this - if you look in your wardrobe now - instead of having less - you feel as if you have more. Everything hanging in your wardrobe is something that you love. Only add to this small selection when you really need something. Did you hear the joke about the non-essential shops opening? Your housemate asks, ‘I’m going out- is there anything you don’t need?’
When you do buy something (I’m thinking maybe one item a year perhaps?) Check the supply chain of what you buy - choose good quality, organic cotton, buy the best you can afford — or buy from a charity shop. Giving clothes to charity shops isn’t always wise as only approximately 10% of items are re-sold. Buying from them is good if you have to. But you rarely have to.
If your friends share with you as you share with them - you’ll save a fortune. Especially if we value friends who know how to sew. Be kind - be generous and love the clothes you already have.
The Joyful Environmentalist by Isabel Losada is out now from Watkins Publishing, £12.99