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The Conscious Closet: The Basics of a Sustainable Wardrobe

Our society swims in a sea of consumerism. It’s always about the latest smartphone, the latest gadget, or the new up-and-coming fashion trend. Yet, a ton of these items end up in landfills.

Often, these purchases feel great at first because of the instant gratification you feel after receiving it. However, it only lasts so long, and the next thing you know the new iPhone (or the next “it” gadget) hits the market within a year or two and you feel you’ve got to have the latest version.

So, how can we move away from this? Can we find inspiration and motivation to create a wellness lifestyle where sustainable consumerism exists?

We’ve got the gist on how you can do just that - how to make your wardrobe timeless and then some. So, how can you create a more sustainable lifestyle for you and your family? How can you be a more conscious consumer?

The Basics of a Sustainable Wardrobe

If you’re a compulsive shopper, it’s time to recognize this. It’s time to dive into how you can stop. Creating a sustainable wardrobe isn’t a bad idea! Also, you may want to make a strict rule for yourself that you don’t buy any items unless you’ve been thinking about it for a set amount of time.

For example, I never make purchases unless I have been thinking about it for over a week or if I need the item, like mitts to keep my hands warm in the colder months.

So, what other tips can we offer? Let’s take a look!

Hint: You should absolutely use these tips going forward into Cyber Monday.

1. Really Look into WHERE Your Clothes Come From

Are they being produced in a factory? Are they produced in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way? Most clothing isn’t. Check out the brands and do your research. Take that step toward a wellness lifestyle via the source.

2. Don’t Throw Out Clothes - Give Them Away

Use the Marie Kondo method. Marie Kondo says that if an item doesn’t spark joy, get rid of it. And chances are, you’ve got some clothes you don’t wear. Before you go on a rampage of replacing your clothing with environmentally-friendly and sustainable products (which maybe don’t go nuts with), go through your existing clothes.

What don’t you ever wear? The rule of thumb is if you haven’t worn the clothing piece in question in the past year, it’s time to get rid of it.

A basic wardrobe hanging against a white wall.

3. Make a “Basic” Wardrobe

This is also sometimes called a Capsule Wardrobe. This means quit buying into the latest trends and start formulating a closet full of basic clothing that never goes out of style. That way, you’ll have your shirts, pants, and more for longer than just the short span of the trend.

What items don’t ever go out of style? Think plain black and white t-shirt, jeans, basic tanks, or black/neutral skirts or pants.

Trends come and go, and unfortunately, they are super wasteful - especially when you only wear that top for a few months one summer.

4. Save Items for Hand-Me-Downs

Planning on having another kid? Keep those teeny tiny baby clothes. Know a friend who just had a newborn? Give them to her!

There’s no need to buy new when we can pass it on. Additionally, you can look into upcycling hand-me-downs to ensure that they don’t end up in a landfill.

Fair trade organic coffee made in a chemex.

5. Look Into Fair-Trade Items

Fair-trade items aren’t just limited to clothing pieces. Start buying your coffee, cocoa, tea, and fruit labeled “fair-trade.” These items are frequently grown or made in sustainable ways and the people involved have often gotten a fair price for their work. It may be a bit more specialty than you are used to, but it’s spending you can feel good about!

Read Next: Say Goodbye to Fast Fashions: 6 Ways to Get Cozy this Fall with Sustainable Fabrics

How Else Can You Consume Sustainably?

1. Don’t Waste Food - Buy Only What You Need

Food is one of the most wasted products on the planet. Have you seen what restaurants throw out at the end of the night? It’ll blow your mind.

For sustainable consumerism in this realm, only buy what you need. Steer clear of pre-packaged items or heavily processed items and if you chose to eat meat, go for more grass-fed sources.

These are not only better for you and your body but also for the environment.

A person walking to work instead of driving.

2. Use Your Car Less

This one is probably fairly obvious because it is sorta common sense, but try limiting your car usage. So many individuals choose to drive when they could walk, carpool or take public transit instead.

For example, if the grocery store is literally a 5-15 minute walk, why not walk it? Or take a quick bus ride over? You’re giving the environment a serious high-five when you leave the car at home.

3. Drink Tap Water

...when possible. Who needs bottled water if you can get it from the tap? If you’re picky and you think “I hate the taste of tap water,” try adding using a water bottle with a filter on it or added flavor options to make it a little more appetizing.

4. Advocate for Change

While as a consumer we really can’t do all that much for sustainability (besides really buy less), you can advocate that popular organizations start choosing more sustainable ways to create and sell their products.

Let’s move away from waste together and toward a more sustainable future. It’s entirely possible!

Sustainable Consumerism: The Key Takeaway

If you take one thing away from this article, make it the idea that you should think before you buy. A lot of us are guilty of buying garbage items that we never use or we wear once and forget about (me included).

Let’s make a pact - together - to quit doing this. It’s not helping ourselves, our bank accounts, or the environment.

So this Cyber Monday, make a conscious choice to only buy what you need - and focus less on your wants. And this holiday season, focus more on quality time and connections or things or gifts. After all, these connections truly matter the most in life and contribute to more meaning.

Remember, every little bit counts!

Read more about sustainable consumerism here: Conscious Consumption: Be Free, Not Owned

Krista Bugden

Krista Bugden

"Believing in yourself is really half the battle," says Krista. Anything is possible and you really can achieve anything you set your mind to, is her motto. Physiotherapist, Piano player, skydiver, yogi, adventure traveler and energetic force of positivity, Krista is herself a (delightful) force to be reckoned with! As... Read More

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