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Reduce your socks, Reduce your footprint

September 7, 2009

Staring at the mountain of rolled up socks, it finally dawned on me: my boyfriend is a shopaholic.

Austin and his 119 t-shirts, 46 pairs of socks, 19 pairs of boxers, 5 dress shirts, 9 sweaters, and 1 tuxedo (its official…I actually counted) is the love child of our consumer-driven society and its passionate affair with excess.*

This is what 46 pairs of socks look like...

This is what 46 pairs of socks look like...

Though I find nothing wrong with buying nice things that you need or want, it is hard for me to believe that anyone should have enough shirts to last for three months without doing laundry.

Yet when we live in a culture that emphasizes rapidly updated material goods, it is easy to see how the average Joe could end up with too much while forgetting the environmental impacts of their purchases.

According to the U.S. EPA Office of Solid Waste, Americans throw away more than 68 pounds of clothing and textiles per person per year, contributing to the problem of dwindling landfill space.  But the environmental impacts don’t stop there.  For each piece of clothing thrown away, it is likely that a new one is purchased, fueling the over-consumption of natural resources.

I’ll admit, I have my fair share of t-shirts that I haven’t worn since high school, but the important point is that we become conscious of our consumption habits and the impact that they make.

Consignment and thrift shops have grown in popularity in recent years due to changing fashion trends as well as the recession.  A local Lawrence favorite is Arizona Trading Company, where shoppers can find everything from formal wear to casual to Halloween costumes. Plato’s Closet is also another option.

You don’t have to be No Impact Man to make an environmental difference. It can be as simple as changing where you get your things and where those things go after you’re done using them. For this green girl, she’s taking her all-American boy to Plato’s Closet tomorrow to see if she can lower his t-shirt count into the double digits.

What do you do to reduce your consumer footprint?

And for you fashionistas out there: What’s an awesome buy that you’ve gotten at a thrift shop?

*This data does not include the 20 shirts and 35 pairs of socks he has already thrown away.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Bridget permalink
    September 8, 2009 10:52 am

    I love it Janie! haha did you fold his socks? I can’t imagine him doing that himself……I can’t wait to read more! Very, very, very cute : )

  2. September 8, 2009 7:11 pm

    My favorite thrifty buys: fabulous vintage jackets, brand new designer shoes, snazzy home decor…you name it, I’ve gotten a lot of my favorite things at thrift stores, yard sales or from friends that are ditching their old goods.

    • janiec52 permalink
      September 12, 2009 12:12 pm

      A lot of my favorite things are passed down from family members or found in thrift stores too! They have so much more meaning, so much more history than just buying a new shirt at Target. I feel like we’re slowly forgetting to value the things that we have. My mom told me that when she was a child, a lot of their clothes were homemade or passed down from older siblings, yet they cherished those clothes like they were new. Writing this post has definitely helped me realize my consumer throwaway mindset.

      Thanks for the comment and happy thrift shopping!


  3. Sarah permalink
    September 24, 2009 10:17 pm

    You’ll be glad to know I still wear my soccer shirts from when I was in kindergarten. They finally fit now!


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