Monday, 17 June 2019

Hand 'em down to reuse

I like hand-me-downs, items of clothing that are passed from one person to the other.

About two years ago we had a clothes swap here in Parys. A bunch of girls all got together with bags of clothing that they no longer wore / didn't fit / didn't like and we all got pieces that look great on us. It was a fun evening of dress-up. All of the garments that I chose, I wear regularly throughout the year.

I have often, over the years, given away garments that just didn't work for me. I remember a pair of jeans that I never settled into that I passed onto a friend. I thought they would be perfect for her. It turns out that they were. I had forgotten about them and a few months later I visited her and happened to remark on how great her jeans looked on her and where did she get them. "From you," was her reply. They didn't look that good on me!

Other items I have passed on to domestic helpers for themselves, family and children. It really does work just to pass clothing on if they are are doing nothing but hibernating in your cupboard.

With two children in my life, I value hand-me-downs even more because, at 11 and 13, these creatures grow like weeds. They have barely fitted into something when they're already out of it. And many items don't get a lot of wear before they're too small. A neighbour passed on some of her too small items more than 18-months ago for Kyla. Some of the dresses were perfect to a little big and a really cute pair of jeans and a denim skirt were too big but worth keeping for her to grow into. The jeans are now just right and on Friday I put up the hem so that she can now start to wear them.

The children know to put outgrown clothing on the 'Table of Everything' and I pass these on.

Hand-me-down applies not only to clothing, but also to shoes, furniture, appliances, linen, tools, crockery and even spectacles and frames (hand in at an optometrist). Anything that one person no longer uses and that can be used by another.

It was serendipity that I bumped into man from town at the local auction where I was looking for an old wooden ladder. I didn't find anything there but two days later he called to say that his friend was moving and she had an old wooden ladder that she couldn't take with her to her new, smaller home. I picked up the ladder from him a few days later and with a lick of paint it will serve my decorative purposes.

The road to Zero Waste is paved with 5 Rs - Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot (compost) - in this order. Hand-me-down clothing ticks the Reuse box.

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