Being off on maternity leave has meant spending more time at home for me as for most mums. Since I had my first child I became less and less concerned about keeping things tidy around the house and once babies start being mobile, you just give up on the thought of having a clear out or going through your wardrobe to see what needs to go. There’s always very little time or none at all. However, with this second birth, I have been lucky enough to have my mother around helping look after the children and that means that several days a week, while Maya (my eldest) is at nursery, we have one child for the both of us. Very recently, I found out about a mum’s group in my area that meets together once a month for a baby clothes swap and I thought it was a brilliant idea so I attended one of the events and totally loved it. Most mums tend to think that providing the very best for their children means buying expensive branded clothing for every single one of the stages the baby will go through. Honestly, babies grow so fast I bet you most of you (mums) have pieces of clothing at home that still have the tags on.
Most of the clothes I saw at that swapping event were looking new. Babies outgrow clothes very fast and that means most garments aren’t worn at all when you decide that they are ready to be either stored or thrown away (hopefully, most of you don’t just throw away clothes together with your household garbage but if you do, SHAME ON YOU!). Everyone at the event can swap as many pieces as they have brought or they can also buy pieces for £1 each if they have nothing to give in exchange. All funds go to charity and unwanted clothes are donated to a children hospice. I think this is a great idea to help reduce waste and make people aware of the enormous amount of clothes that we all consume, it’s obscene. The majority of attendees I saw arriving at the swap were carrying big bags of clothes and those are only the clothes they don’t use anymore, which means there’s probably piles at home. When I arrived at home that day I looked at my wardrobe and realised I also have piles of clothes and there’s stuff I haven’t worn in a long time and I’m probably never going to wear again.
Soon after, I saw there was another clothes swap in an area near me again but this time it wasn’t only baby clothes but clothes for all ages and genders. I decided to go and have a look and again, realised the huge amount of unwanted clothes we all have at home. I also learnt some interesting facts like the average lifespan of a piece of clothing in a wardrobe is 3 years and that the manufacturing of 1 kg of cotton uses an average of 10,000 to 20,000 litres of water. Mad. And still we all have more than what we need and we all keep buying more of what we don’t really want.
And just as I was in the middle of all this thought process, another fact I came across was that when our grandparents used to buy clothes there were only two seasons in a year, warm weather and cold weather, so they would buy what they needed to dress accordingly. When our parents used to buy clothes there were starting to be four seasons a year, spring, summer, autumn and winter. But now, there’s pretty much 52 seasons per year which is the equivalent of a season per week. Every week a new trend comes out that makes the previous-week trend look old-fashioned already. This creates the need to be buying clothes all the time and makes us so prone to get tired easily of what we have in our wardrobes. Think about it. Classify what you own in piles of stuff that add value to your life and stuff that doesn’t, you’d be surprised. Be mindful and conscious and let’s all stop this madness of waste. You can make a difference.