Dear DiaryDress Up

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Clothing waste has always been a big concern for me with a career in blogging. It can be hard not to get caught up in always wearing brand new items all the time, and I often struggle with looking fresh without over-consuming. Then I got pregnant, and things took on a whole new level of wasteful.

Instead of staying the same size and wearing my clothing until it was too worn out to wear anymore, suddenly nothing in my closet would even fit over my hips, and when I tried to buy some cheap, fast fashion items in bigger sizes, I grew out of them within a couple weeks. At a time when your body is constantly changing, how can you possibly keep up without needing a whole new wardrobe every week? And don’t even get me started on kid’s clothing with how quick they grow and change!

The new UN Climate Change Report that was released this past month was a huge wakeup call to me – without taking immediate action to treat the environment with more respect, our future is in danger, and as far as I can see every little bit in every area of our lives helps. I’ve been cutting back on using plastic straws and consuming cow-based animal products, but what about the very clothes I put on my back? Becoming pregnant and realizing a lot of the items I’ve barely worn in my closet may never fit me again made me realize I can do better.

Did you know North Americans send more than 12 million tons of textiles into the waste stream every year? Canadians on average buy 70 new articles of clothing annually (I think personally I might be closer to 80+), and I don’t even want to think about the hike in that number when pregnancy and growing kids are involved. So what’s the answer? As Autumn rolled around and I started to need more cozy pregnancy items in larger sizes, I decided to take stock of alternatives to buying new. Here’s what I came up with:

1 // Thrift it! I knew I wanted some looser dresses for blogger events this Fall, so instead of shopping online like I usually might I walked to my local Value Village and I was honestly shocked at how much I found. I ended up with three different options for under $50, and dropped off a bag of pieces that no longer fit me too. You can see my three finds in these photos!

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Did you know that one thrifted t-shirt can save up to 2,650 litres of water, and a secondhand pair of jeans saves up to 6,800 litres of water? Plus, bringing in donations is an amazing way to give back to the system without creating more trash.

Fun Fact: On October 16th, aka Waste Reduction Week’s Textiles Tuesday, Value Village set up an installation made of reused textiles in Toronto’s famous Graffiti Alley to bring awareness to just how much clothing waste humans produce. Needless to say, it was a LOT!

2 // Take good care of the items you love by washing them carefully. I use the cold cycle, hang to dry, and only buy all-natural detergent to help out with my environmental impact too!

3 // If you have to buy new, don’t spend on novelty pieces you’ll only wear once, instead save your pennies and invest in beautiful pieces made locally that are built to last a lifetime. Bonus points for organic/natural fabrics.

4 // Organize a clothing swap with your friends! Make a night of it with tea and cookies for good measure. It’s a great way to update your wardrobe without spending any cash, and any leftovers can be taken to your local thrift shop to be loved by others.

5 // Take damaged or too-loose items to be repaired or altered at your local tailor. I’ve struck up quite the friendship with mine and he always does a seriously amazing job making my older pieces look like new.

Which of my Value Village finds do you like best?

Dear Diary

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I don’t know about you, but personally I love cleaning out my space, and donating whatever I possibly can, whenever I possibly can. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not too bad when it comes to consumption (I tend to keep items for years and years, and limit what I buy), but I always like to go through my life every couple of months and pass on some of my under-loved items. Nothing deserves to sit in a cupboard for months on end, or remain forgotten at the back of a closet, so if I find I’m not enjoying something often enough I’ll pass it on to a friend, or take it down to my local Value Village.

I probably sound like just about every single other 20-something urban resident right now, but I don’t care- I love Value Village. There’s something so exciting about combing the racks for a cute vintage dress, or sifting through the decor section in search of a unicorn figurine. I remember the first time I went thrifting in Vancouver as a teenager, how cool I felt for buying something recycled instead of contributing to yet more consumerism (to my mother’s horror!).

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The best part about thrifting, though, is the story-telling element. I love to imagine where things came from whenever I’m on the hunt. Who brought them there, and why? Where has this particular item been, and where will it end up next? The secret narrative behind each item is one of the biggest draws for me when it comes to thrifting, and I never tire of dreaming up stories for the treasures that I take home.

In the spirit of passing it on, I’m going to be sharing some of the items I’ve recently decided to donate. Each one holds a special place in my heart, but I know someone else will probably give them more love than I have lately. You can follow along on my Instagram account if you like, or take a look below at some of my favourites!

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WORN Fashion Journal // I worked at WORN for so many years, and though the magazine is no longer in production, it still has so much meaning to me in so many ways. WORN helped shape me as a writer, and taught me so much about the world of independent publishing. Over the years I acquired quite a few copies of each issue I contributed to, and I love the idea of dropping off some of my extras at Value Village for someone else to discover, take home, and flip through.

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Sweet Sounds // This one is really tough for me, but I know it makes sense. Now that I have all of my music on my computer, phone, and iPod, it doesn’t really make sense to keep the hard copies around anymore, does it? I’m definitely going to hold onto a few favourites in case iTunes disappears someday, or I buy myself a beat up old car (which is very possible), but I’m thinking a clean out is definitely due.

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Oh Deer // This little deer print dress was so sweet to me for a season, but it somehow ended up in the dryer and instantly became much too short to cover my behind. Hopefully it finds its way into the closet of someone a little bit smaller than me who will love it equally as much as I once did.

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Value Village is more than your favourite thrift store- they also support nonprofit organizations like Canadian Diabetes Association and Developmental Disabilities Association, among others, in your community. Remember to donate your reusable items to local nonprofits at Value Village! In addition to supporting the nonprofit, you’ll also be helping planet Earth. Value Village, Good n’ Thrifty!
Learn more: http://www.valuevillage.com

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Disclosure: This post was brought to you by Value Village via Mode Media Canada. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Value Village.