Saturday 3 June 2017

Make and Mend Challenge - The End

So, it's June again and a year ago I started the Make and Mend Challenge - No New Clothes for a year.

How did it go?

One of the most remarkable things was the reaction of people when we were talking about my challenge. Most of my friends were like "ok, that's a good idea". And some people said: "That's a bit extreme, isn't it?" Maybe, but a good way of learning about yourself. And some said "what? WHY??" or "Oh, i could NEVER do that!" and it really made me wonder, why it's difficult not to buy anything - if you don't need it.
Part of the challenge was, that I had my own rules (you can read about them in my original post). And it wasn't about not buying anything at all, it was about only buying something, if I really needed it (and couldn't make it myself). So all I did, was not to overconsume. Only to buy what i needed. And I find it worrying, that this kind of thinking and self-discipline is looked at as something special. I think a bit of self-discipline helps you in every situation. :) 

I also found it made me free. I didn't think about fashion in the first place, I thought about usefulness. Also I didn't spend time just "shopping around", but did things that were much more fulfulling. Because going shopping just for it's own sake, let's admit that, is rather hollow. So I consciously played the piano more, did more crafts stuff, appreciated what I had more.

During this year we also moved house, which gave me opportunity to thoroughly go through all of our possessions. It was a real eye opener. Because I found I owned so many things that I didn't really need, want or like. And it was difficult. It was extremely difficult for me to get rid of some things. Even if I didn't like them at all. And it made me sad. Because a lot of the things stood for my loneliness at the time. And ashamed of myself, because it was SO MUCH STUFF. When I brought things to charity I felt like apologizing the whole time because I had so obviously overconsumed. And in the end I am also proud of myself. A little bit at least. Because I changed. I started looking at the world in a different way, I started looking at myself in a different way and most important: I acted in a different way. I wouldn't say I have changed my charactre entirely, I rather see it as finally having arrived at who I really am, being freed of the weight of consumerism and stuff. It feels a little like shedding an old skin.

To sum up the last year, my "purchase" list:

This is what I bought for myself:
- 3 bras and one pair of undies
- 1 hawaii dancer (uttlery useless, but she is standing and wiggling in the kitchen window and it makes me smile every time, yes, every time)
-  1 bottle of perfume (to replace the empty one)
-  1 eyeshadow set (that was a bit of an extravagance...)
-  1 swimsuit (long story, I needed it quickly, like "same day", impossible to make one!)
-  1 pair of shoes (that was a bit of luxury again...)
- 1 digital pattern (it disappeared from the company's homepage and I suddenly realized I really would like to sew it, especially as I had a matching fabric for it already given to me...)

What I made
- American neckline stripey shirt (disaster..., didn't wear it, recycled it)
- taken pattern from old favourite linen trousers
- Sorbetto top
- several crochet dolls

What I (had) mended
- dress to pullover (and children's hats)
- 2 paits of shoes resoled
- spotty blouse
- dyed linen trousers

And how will it continue?

I am not sure. This year was so relatively easy, that I will just continue, I think. I will sort through my wardrobe again to see if there is more I can give to charity.
I started not replacing things that broke or were damaged beyond repair immediately, just to see whether I actually felt the impact. Mostly I noticed it went very well without it.
I am also shopping by the "one comes, one goes" rule now, which means that if I actually DO buy something, it has to replace an item that serves the same purpose (sort of like an "update" to the home, not additional).
What really helped was that I was trying not to be too strict. I kept a few things in the wardrobe that will probably go out later. I also noticed that if I packed a box for charity and let it sit for a few days, sometimes it would "mature". Some more things (that I hadn't been sure about) went in, but occasionally I also took something out again. And really enjoyed that. :)
We still have a lot of things in the cellar that I have kept because they are generally useful (e.g. folders) but have no use for them yet. Which I find a bit annoying, because I prefer to just get things now when I need them and then get them exactly and 100% suitable for that purpose.

I also have the feeling that because of the fact we moved and had to get lots of things (e.g. lamps and shelves) for the new place, my shopping urge had possibly shifted to that, but as that has a definite deadline I am not too worried about it. We had made a list of things to get for the new place and after that that's that.  

My personal little reward:

While I was on the Make and Mend Challenge I stumbled of this absolutely great hanging chair, which I saw at a friend's house. So I decided if I manage the MaM Challenge ok, then I can pat myself on the shoulder and get a chair like that, if I still want it. And I Do. Hanging chairs are absolutely brilliant!

So, let's see how the next year goes. On to 3rd June 2018! Are you in? :)

PS: I think i am going to go with the "extended version" which means i will extend the "non shopping" to household things, too.  :)


  1. Das hört sich super an! Meinen Glückwunsch dass es so gut geklappt hat :D
    Also bei mir hat es, was Kleidung betrifft auch problemlos geklappt. Ich glaube das einzige was ich für mich gekauft habe waren Strumpfhosen. Das letzte Kleidungsstück was ich mir gekauft hab war letzten April eine Strickjacke. Bei anderen "Luxusdingen" war ich allerdings leider nicht so konsequent wie du. Z.B. bei Kosmetik, aber da bin ich auch etwas paranoid und werfe alle 3 - 6 Monate die Wimperntusche und den Eyeliner weg.
    Was das Nähen anbelangt versuche ich gerade meine Komfortzone zu verlassen, will meine olle Unterwäsche ersetzen und ein Sommersakko für den liebsten Ehemann nähen.

    1. Ich nähe grade ganz viele Sommerkleidchen für die 2 Damen ansonsten komm ich zu nix. Mein fester vorsatz fürs 2te Jahr "Make and Mend" wird sein: weiter mit "meinem Programm" und nochmal streng durchsortieren. Und dann noch rigoroser im Haushalt werden. :) Mal sehen, wie es klappt. Ich glaub auch so Sachen für die Kinder sind noch son schwacher Punkt, aber da möchte ich auch nicht zu asketisch sein. Also: Auf ein neues!