Buy Less, Choose Well, Make it Last — Take the 'No New New Year' Resolution Pledge
by Brie Roche-Lilliott on Jan 10, 2022
Happy New Year! As we reflect on 2021, we found ourselves considering the year ahead; how will we grow, where do we want to focus our efforts, and perhaps most importantly, who do we, The Nest, want to be in 2022? When we asked ourselves these questions, it always came back to our core mission, educating and promoting sustainable style practices in order to help change the way our community consumes.
So as our first New Years as The Nest, it only made sense we start it out right, by asking our peers and community to join us in a commitment to doing better in 2022. We present to you, “No New New Year,” our resolution to buy secondhand whenever possible, and to limit the frequency and quantity of buying new.
Now we know this task may seem daunting at first; when you’ve grown accustomed to swinging by Target or hopping on Amazon as soon as you need something, it may be challenging to find replacements for that level of convenience. But with a little bit of research, some helpful suggestions, and retraining your thinking on consumerism, you’ll find yourself deferring to these practices in no time.
Interested in making this one of your 2022 resolutions? Sign the pledge for more tip and tricks directly to your inbox.
TIPS TO LIVE A NO NEW NEW YEAR
Simply put, buying secondhand means buying something used or previously owned by someone else. As the fast fashion market has grown, so has stigma against thrift or secondhand shopping. Those who grew up shopping at thrift stores may have experienced bullying or teasing over not being able to afford new clothes or that secondhand clothing is dirty. These fallacies are not only emotionally damaging, but inevitably promote a culture of wastefulness and excessive newness by shaming folks for buying used.
Well we say, screw that! Not only are secondhand and thrift stores spaces of accessibility and equality, but we think shopping secondhand is a lot more fun too. Stores like Savers, Goodwill, and Salvation Army carry everything from clothing to homewares, art to furniture. And because such a diverse and wide array of people donate to these stores, often you can find clothing and furniture of a higher quality than modern, cheap brands.
Shopping secondhand is our passion and we strive to show you just how beautiful, surprising, sustainable and exciting it can be when you visit The Nest. Besides the jewelry and art made by our collaborators, every piece of furniture, clothing, and houseware you find in The Nest is secondhand, and for that, all the more special.
Tailor & Alter
Clothing is without a doubt one of the leading categories of consumer waste. With clothes being made faster and more cheaply, issues like tearing, holes, or pilling fabric can be frequent problems. Learning to mend and alter your clothing is one of the easiest ways to give a second, third or fourth life to some of your favorite pieces. There are dozens of creative tutorials online to “upcycle” or update your existing pieces. Or if sewing just isn’t in your skill set, consider finding a local tailor. The use of tailors has dipped dramatically in recent decades due to the immense growth of fast fashion, but throughout the 20th century, many Americans relied on their regular tailor, much like a barber, to custom fit and alter their clothing. A good tailor can mend, fit, or completely rework a garment whether your style or body has changed.
Our resident seamstress Amy (The Modern Darling) has resurrected many of the pieces you’ll find on the racks at The Nest, in unexpected, creative ways, and she’s offering a la carte, comprehensive services beginning this month. Book an appointment with Amy here.
Or if you’re interested in learning some DIY tips, on Tuesday, January 25th, our friend The Sustainable Garment will be hosting a clothing care workshop at The Nest where she’ll answer questions and share advice on extending the life of your wardrobe.
Swap ‘em Out
It’s not a crime to grow tired of the clothes in your closet. We are all far too familiar with that ‘I’ve got nothing to wear’ feeling as you stare at a cramped clothing rack. Unfortunately, that widespread feeling has transformed into a massive fast fashion consumer market that now encourages this binge & purge shopping habit for their own wealth and gain. But this need for new isn’t just a strain on your wallet, it’s a huge contributor to the growing amount of waste humans produce each year.
So how do you satiate the desire for new outfits without buying new? Clothing swaps! We’ve got to say, it is a lot more fun to watch friends and strangers dig through your closet “No’s” like a treasure chest, than to throw them in a dumpster.
We regularly host clothing swaps here at The Nest, including one this month on Sunday, January 23rd, hosted by Siren & Saint. But you can always host your own mini-swaps with a couple of friends going through that same, bored-of-my-closet mood! Throw together a bag of pieces that no longer fit or excite you, invite over a few folks, and feel refreshed at walking away with a whole new bag of goodies that you didn’t spend a dime on!
Organize & Declutter
Why wait for a spring cleaning when the start of a new year, post indulgent holidays, can be the perfect time to reorganize and reconsider your closet or home? Perhaps you’ve received some new goodies for the holidays and now your wardrobe, kitchen drawers, office desk, or that hall closet is just looking a bit crowded and overstuffed. When our spaces get congested with new things before weeding out what’s already there, it can be challenging to actually utilize what we own, clothing included. Look at what gifts or purchases you made toward the end of last year, and examine those categories of your home; if you finally replaced your old, mismatched cookware with a new set, go through those cabinets to pull out the ones you’re no longer using to clean and drop at your nearest thrift store. Or if you treated yourself to some clothes that fit more comfortably, might be the time to do a closet purge and set those aside for the next swap.
When we declutter our spaces, organize what we do have, and find a purpose and “home” for each item, it provides you with the potential to best utilize what you already own before impulse buying something you think you need.
Join us at our KonMari Workshop on January 27, 2022 to learn about the KonMari Decluttering and Organization Method.
We also offer Professional Organizing + Decluttering Services for your home. Learn more and book here.
Sounds naive, we know, but really, what better way to help others and help yourself than sharing? This can start at the most fundamental of levels, with your friends, family and neighbors. It can be expensive, near impossible, to afford all of the appliances and tools needed to complete home improvement projects, yardwork, or automotive maintenance. But consider checking with a close friend or a friendly neighbor who might have that lawn mower or electric sander for you to borrow. Or take a look at your toolbox and see what kinds of specialty tools you might be able to lend to a friend doing some housework.
In this same ethos, many communities across the country have started online based “buy nothing” groups. Often found on Facebook, these groups allow members of the community to post with a wide variety of items to share or requests, often for free or some kind of trade.
Here in Providence we’re thrilled to be members of PVD Things, a self proclaimed, “a cooperative lending library” that carries a host of “things” most people only need once in a while. Everything from bicycles, home repair tools, gardening tools, and outdoor activity sets can be rented for a low membership cost. So consider joining a share group, or start your own amongst your local friends and family! We can avoid spending on those high-cost, rare-use items (or even just save space in our homes and garages!), by sharing the tools and amenities we each have with our chosen community.
Let us just reiterate, we are the first to understand the challenges of dramatically changing your spending habits. Whether it means finding a whole new set of stores and businesses to do your shopping, altering the frequency of your purchases, or forgoing certain regular cheap treats in lieu of saving for something better quality, amending our relationship to money, to newness, and to our possessions can be an uncomfortable conversation with ourselves. Please don’t let this discourage you.
Our No New New Year is not a contract of judgement, it’s a pledge of willingness, a commitment to a more mindful way of consuming. Our contemporary society has made it easy to buy blindly and impulsively, to fill the holes of insecurity or uncertainty with new things and new distractions. It’s not easy to not buy new, to defy what we’ve been conditioned to view as standard and successful. Buying secondhand, buying with consideration, is a practice in restraint and, sometimes, in restriction. But it is a practice of such high rewards for yourself, for your community, and for your relationship to your possessions.
“Buy less, choose well, make it last.” -Vivienne Westwood