It's Getting Harder
How long have I been at this? 14 days? Feels like 114. It seems my kids are trying to wear their clothes out at an alarming rate. Do you remember me saying Carver has busted through his pajama bottoms? Lily is close behind with her jeans. Now, whether you care or not, you are going to hear about my philosophy on clothes. About 90% of our clothes are secondhand. We're fortunate to have a great line of thrift stores where we live, they regularly have 50% off sales, and the brands I'm able to find are Gap, Gymboree, Ralph Lauren, REI, Land's End, and Columbia. I rarely pay more than $4 for any item of clothing--including snow gear. For me, clothes are something you put on your body to keep you from getting arrested when you go out in public. Also, my kids play hard, and I don't want to worry about their clothes. Lastly, it reduces our carbon footprint, which is very important to me. I'm not saying that if you buy new clothes for your kids that's bad. Hardly. I'm just telling you what we do.
So Lily has holes in 2 pairs of jeans. I swear this happened overnight. She has 4 pairs total--and I'm not going shopping until December 1st when my no-spending challenge is up. I also have no patches. Patches cost around $5, and I don't want to buy patches for jeans that are $2. Lily doesn't wear skirts or dresses, unless it's a special occasion. Her jeans are her life. So what's a mom to do? I dug around in her hair bows and clips and found some old hair ribbon. I stitched that over the hole as a makeshift patch and am hoping that will last a few more weeks. But I think when I do buy more jeans for Lily, I will hold onto this pair and use the denim for future patches. I felt a little convicted that even though we buy used, I still have a pretty disposable mentality about our clothes. I want to change that.
I am running dangerously low on dishwashing detergent. This scares me because I really hate doing dishes. I found some homemade recipes with baking soda I can try if we run out, but I'm at the rationing stage with the detergent. With the H1N1 going around, we've been blowing through liquid hand soap like candy. I don't know if we'll have enough to make it through the rest of the month. I do have bar soap, but--yuck! Two messy boys and bar soap. Not a combination I want to try.
Buying and replacing items is easy. There's no work involved, except exchanging money for goods. It's harder to stretch things, to make things last longer, to do without, and to patch up holes. We lived many years like that out of necessity. But just because we don't have to live that way anymore doesn't mean we still shouldn't try to get the most out of our dollars. I'm ashamed to admit I've become a convenient spender.
Another book I have to recommend is Nickel And Dimed. I got the audio version (from the library) and listened to it while walking the dog and cleaning house. It's one woman's attempt to live on minimum wage and not become homeless in the process. It was absolutely fascinating, and it was a great motivator in my decision to try this challenge. The author has a bit of a potty mouth, so don't say I didn't warn you.
By the way, my kids have not even noticed the challenge.