Why I Challenged Myself to Only Thrift My Clothes For an Entire Year

About this time last year, I was taking a human ecology class where we got a presentation from a HECOL grad student. Her grad project was trying to find a way to be more sustainable with our clothing as a society. She talked about how much clothing is wasted every year, how cheap clothing has a certain type of plastic in it (that contributes to why it is so cheap), and how washing those cheap garments can lead to harmful chemicals and plastics in the water system.

These were things that really made me reflect on the decisions I was making in the clothing stores. I used to be the type that would walk into Forever 21, buy 5 articles of clothing (even though I knew they were going to fall apart after I wore it 3 times), and never bat an eye because it was so cheap!

After hearing about the effect of clothing production on our planet, I quickly made a change. I started thrifting more. This summer I challenged myself to not buy any new clothing during the school year for a few different reasons:

  1. It is better for the environment (clearly)
  2. It reduces my time spent online shopping (sort of)
  3. It is better for my bank account

I am going to elaborate on my online spending habits here (yes, please call me out). I used to spend a lot of time online shopping at stores I couldn’t afford, dreaming about said clothing, taking said dream as a sign I should buy the clothing, and proceeding to buy the clothing the next day. Now, I still online shop (there are some habits you just can’t kick) but mostly on a site called ThredUp. You may have heard of it being advertised on many platforms but I am here to tell you that ThredUp slaps. As long as you are checking the quality of the item you’re looking at and watching the brand of the item (ex. not buying things that are Forever 21) then you’re golden. The store will even let you ship your old items to them for free and give you cash or credit for those items!

How can you not be in love with this idea already?

Now besides my shameless plug for ThredUp, I also end up saving money on retail therapy. Even if I go retail therapy shopping and buy 10 pieces of clothing I can still keep it under $100 pretty easily at thrift shops whereas before I would easily spend $100 on 2 pieces of clothing. All in all, I’ve saved a lot of money on shopping. No question.

So far, this challenge has been relatively manageable. I will succeed a full year this way. After that year is over, I may change my ways slightly. I will definitely keep thrifting no matter what but I will make exceptions for things like jeans and allowing myself to buy some items as long as they are from local stores and/or have a good practice for sustainable material.All in all, I encourage you to challenge yourself to be more sustainable in whatever way possible. Whether it is only using reusable coffee cups, growing your own food, or thrifting more often, every little thing matters.

Ali Stadnyk
Farmers Market LT

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