It’s crazy to think but 2021 is right around the corner (thank the powers that be!). This whole blog started one year ago with my want to become a more sustainable and ethical consumer, and I can’t believe it has already been a year! I think that this year has had some ups and definitely some downs for me, but overall, I think that 2020 was just something that we needed to happen to wake ourselves up from some of the injustices and ridiculousness going on in our world.
Last year, my big and challenging New Year’s resolution was to only buy things secondhand for the entire year. I’ve talked about how that was going in an updated I posted in the summer. For the most part, I stuck to my guns, but there were certain problems that I just couldn’t get around with COVID happening. That being said, I’m still really proud of the fact that I was able to do what I set out to do, so much so that I’m not revoking this New Year’s resolution for 2021, and I implore you to give it a try yourself.
But I also have some new ideas and some challenges that I want to try for 2021, a majority of them being closet-based again. One thing that I like about the zero waste movement is that it is all about implementing changes into your life slowly and that there is just so many different things that you can do.
1. Sew my own clothing
This is something that I’ve wanted to do for a while now. I’m a huge fan of Rachel Maksy on Youtube. She’s a Youtuber that sews and loves vintage fashion, meaning that she makes a lot of the things that she sees in her closet. She uses patterns and there is something about watching her sew that has made me understand it more and made me truly believe that I could do it myself as well.
I’m drawn to sewing clothes for myself for a few reasons:
It’s cost-effective and more sustainable than buying new.
I would love to get good at sewing and just learn the skill.
I have a weird body shape. I’m 5′ 9” and very skinny, so I could normally wear size small in a lot of things, but I’m taller than the average size small, so nothing quite ever really fits right. I also have a super long torso, which can make things like crop tops look super cropped and show over 30% of my stomach, and super high rise jeans are more like mid-rise on me. I’ve also gotten into weight lifting the past year, which means that my body has been changing even more so, and some of my clothes that I used to fit into don’t anymore. With making my own clothes, I could make sure that whatever I’m making properly fits me.
I can never really find anything in-store or in the thrift store that is really 100% my own style, and making my own clothes would give me creative freedom to make what I want and what I will actually wear.
I’m looking at trying to find a sewing machine secondhand, but part of me is a bit leary of that. One reason is that unless I can test out the machine and see how it works, I don’t know if I can make a sound purchasing decision. Another is because I would really like to have the user’s manual in case of problems. I’ve been told that it is pretty easy to find user’s manuals online, but there is also the problem of not know if I have absolutely everything that I need with that secondhand machine.
When it comes to buying a sewing machine new, I feel like it is a worthy investment for everything that I’m looking to accomplish, and I want to make sure that my machine lasts. I’m still on the fence about which way I’m going to go with this, just because I feel like it is a big investment.
2. Observe the One In – One Out Principle
This one in – one out principle is something that I talked about a long time ago on my blog and used to be something that I thoroughly observed, but recently, I’ve had a bit of a relapse. I also haven’t been decluttering as much or as often as I used to. I think that the last big declutter that I did was around the fourth of July, and I can’t even remember the last time before that.
Basically, the one in – one out principle is a guide that most minimalists use that states if you buy something new, you must get rid of/donate something old that you have. I use this principle in my closet, because I feel as though it works best there.
I think my main problem that I’ve had is that with shopping secondhand, I didn’t really see the items necessarily as “new” so it was okay for me to keep more than I needed. But after this next end of year declutter, I feel as though I will have to reinstate the one in – one out principle.
3. Downsize and create capsule wardrobes
The idea with a capsule wardrobe is that you limit the clothes in your closet to include around 25 high-quality, mix-and-match staples that make it easy to get dressed in the morning. I’ve tried capsule wardrobes in the past and failed at even creating them. However, I did have a majority of success this summer, since my work attire was basically a capsule wardrobe in itself of around 12 pieces. I think that once I go home for winter break, it could be easier for me to create this capsule wardrobe.
My idea is that unlike some people who just have one capsule wardrobe for the whole year. I might have to start out with several capsule wardrobes for the different areas of my life: everyday, fitness, and work. You can split up your capsule wardrobe by season as well and put away and bring out your different seasonal wardrobes as they come in the year. Since I live in Iowa, a place that definitely experiences all four of the seasons in all their glory, I do think that making some seasonal wardrobes might also be beneficial to me. Thinking it all out, I will probably end up with 6 capsule wardrobes.
4. Try new things
This resolution is a bit more open-ended than the others because I think that it just has to be. Part of the zero waste movement is experimenting with new ideas and products until you find ones that fit your lifestyle.
I didn’t think that switching to absolutely no paper towels in my apartment was going to work, but you’d be surprised at how much you don’t use or need to use something wasteful like that when you aren’t just tempted to reach for it in the first place. We just have a drawer in the apartment that is full of all of our hand towels and wash cloths, and we use them whenever we need something. It is just one of the changes that I’ve made this past year, but it makes me super optimistic that I can try new things out without having to worry about failure.
5. Create more than I buy
This final resolution ties a bit back to the first one on this list. I really want to try my hand at creating stuff myself rather than just going out and buying it if I can help it. There are some things that I definitely won’t be trying to make, but more tangible and craftable items are what I’m looking forward to making the most.
I’m actually finally able to take a ceramics and pottery class at my college just in time before graduation, so I’m really hoping to be able to create useful things in that class that I can use for maybe the rest of my life. I’ve even been pinning onto my boards on Pinterest some DIYs that I think are super useful and I want to try and make. (You can follow my Pinterest here)