Dirty Laundry: #SecondHandSeptember

Top and jumper both preloved. Skirt, tights and jewellery bought new


Coming in to my second week of #SecondHandSeptember, Oxfam’s initiative to stop us buying so many clothes and so ruining our planet, I’m looking back at my progress so far.

To start with, as pledged, I’ve bought no new clothes this past week. Not that I’m likely to as my chests of drawers and wardrobes are still bulging with clothes. This in spite of a yearlong purge. Secondly I’ve worn at least one item of preloved clothing every day since and including 1st September.

Also, I’ve worn some things twice, which has both saved thinking about what to put on today, but also has saved water, power and not polluted the environment with particles from manmade fibres. All in all another result.

Too much washing is something that we have to address if we’re serious about environmental issues. Not only is it wasteful of precious resources, but it probably isn’t very good for us either. Not only are we destroying the natural world, but we’re doing in needlessly and when we extend washing our clothes to washing our bodies then we’re washing away natural oils that we need to keep our skin looking good and being healthy.

There is research that links being too clean with developing conditions like asthma. As human animals we need a certain amount of dirt to keep us healthy. We have to keep on good terms with bacteria of all kinds, especially those in our guts and using anti-bacterial cloths, disinfectants etc. is doing us no favours. When push comes to shove and we really need those antibiotics to save lives we are finding that they no longer work for us.

So, there’s no harm in a bit of dirt. No need for endless loads of laundry. Since we all use deodorants our clothes don’t smell after a day’s wear, so surely we should only be washing them when they are really, genuinely dirty.

It’s not so long ago that this was the norm. When there were no washing machines and everything either had to be pounded clean in a dolly-tub, or boiled on the stove, then we all got much more wear out of our clothes. Nor was there any pressure to look different each time we went out, which is something else we have to contend with.

#SecondHandSeptember has focussed attention on these issues. It’s up to us to see how we can minimise our buying and laundry to do our bit for the planet.

However, this doesn’t have to be a chore. Less washing certainly does it for me. As for wearing preloved−I love the search in Charity Shops for something different. I also love wearing something that someone has passed on to me−my beloved denim jacket came from my daughter and every time I put it on it’s like having a hug.

And finally, looking through your stuff, putting an outfit together is fun!


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