The Lost Art of Thrift – How Can We Rediscover It?

The Lost Art of Thrift – How Can We Rediscover It?

What is thrift? How is thrift applicable to the way we shop or the impacts to our environment? Can we discover the lost art of thrift?

Thrift is generally referred to as ‘using less of something’. For the purpose of what we do and what we stand for, it is also important to understand thrift as the ability to re-purpose or re-use things.

When we choose to re-use or re-purpose items, it is actually contributing less waste to the environment. Most of us associate thrift with ‘Op Shops’, like Salvo Stores or St Vincent De . But in fact, there are many additional layers to thrift that we can all adopt. These will help increase the lifetime of products and contribute less waste to the environment.

Consider your great grandparents or their parents and the way they used to live? How about the skills that were part of their everyday life? From things like sewing, knitting, crocheting ranging to simple handymen tasks.

These lost skills are what we would these days call thrifty skills.

  • Sewing: Any damaged items of clothing would be repaired with a few quick hand sewn needle and thread stitches or a session on an old singer sewing machine.

When was the last time you rediscovered this lost art?

    • Would you be one of the many who generally throw something out because it has a little hole? Or the seam had started to split?
    • Every time you dispose of one of these items, it not only goes to waste, but also adds further to your carbon footprint. Consider the fact that once disposed, it is transported to a tip. Or the additional trip you make to the shops to purchase a replacement. Or even the emissions that come from the manufacturing of your new garment.
    • All of this is minimised when you choose to repair an item yourself. Simply replace that button or repair that seam
  • Knitting/Crochet: It was common practice for your grandparents to knit many clothes for the family. Or crochet a lovely warm blanket that would be passed down through the generations. We are fortunate to have a crochet blanket made by one of our great grandmothers and we treasure it!

    • Knitting has many purposes, from clothing and accessories to cloths and makeup removers.
    • Do you use a foam sponge to wash your dishes? Do you need to replace this every 2-3 week? When you replace it, what happens to the old one?
    • Consider a making your own cotton crochet dish wash cloth. This is something that will last 10-fold. What will happen to that disposable plastic derived sponge?
    • You can wash and reuse for months on end and all it takes is a mere 30 min investment in time, once you have taken the time to learn the skill.
    • If it is 100% cotton it can then be composted at the end of its life.
  • Handymen: Items were never aimlessly disposed of in the past. Everything was taken care of and then repaired, to ensure it would continue to serve its purpose. From repairing broken furniture and toys to fixing a hole in the wall, these were all weekly tasks for past generations.
    • How many people these days could barely operate a drill or replace a simple light globe? It is actually quite a high number!
    • Whilst the digital age has given us access to huge amounts of information like tutorials, it is not the same as learning these skills in a hands-on setting. Would you like to hand down some practical handyman skills to your kids or grandkids? There is no substitute for hands on learning.
    • It all starts with educating ourselves on how to complete these tasks and then passing this information on. Not only is it great spending time with family, whilst giving them life long skills, but it aids a practical purpose also. A purpose that will also save you money.
  • Thrift Shops can be a great alternative to buying brand new clothes. Filtering through the racks and shelves of the recycled and re-purposed clothes can make for a great day out. But thrift stores also hides a dark side, that we must be wary of.

Here are some mind boggling stats from thrift shops

  • MNN reports (link here) that only 28% of people recycle/donate clothes, whilst only 7% purchase used clothing from thrift stores.
  • According to a report done by ABC Australia, roughly 5-10% of donated clothes actually make it to the shop floor. The rest is deemed as un-saleable, due to poor quality or being significantly soiled.
  • This same report also says that charities are having to send 60,000 tonnes of unwanted clothing goes to landfill.

We have an ethical responsibility to ensure we donate and recycle our clothes responsibly. With such large volumes, not even making the shop floors and reverting to landfills, we are not really helping the problem. At the heart of it all, thrift shops are a great and sustainable way to re-purpose your clothes and household goods. It comes down to us, to be responsible and support these great businesses by recycling and donating ethically.

What are the end results from thrift?

By doing your part and being thriftier, you cut your waste and greenhouse gas emissions substantially. When you consider the life cycle of a product, you would save between 30-70% on your waste/greenhouse gas emissions.

Be sure to review our range quality products with lifetime warranties. We will also be adding items that are made from recycled goods and are sustainable in nature.

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