I’d intended for this blog post to be about 20 things I was going to do for 2020. I started 19 things for 2019, but admittedly, lost enthusiasm half way through the year. But, I thought, 2020 has a nice ring, so thought I’d dust my list off and try again. But then I started wondering as I pondered over my list, trying to find 20 things to do this year, ‘Is this actually the way to go’?
As my alter ego, Poppytoft, I like to do crafts, to make things, specifically using knitting, crochet and sewing. I enjoy designing quirky clothes for children and coming up with ways to customise existing clothes and give them a new lease of life. A week or so ago, as I was walking through Seville, I saw a small girls cardigan in a shop window and as ever my immediate thought was ‘I could make that’. But then from somewhere I had a second thought, ‘could I make it using sustainable materials’? I have an insane ‘stash’ of wool and fabric at home, there is absolutely no need for me to go out and source something new. You name it, I probably have it in my craft cupboard. But what if I haven’t got the ‘perfect’ fabric? There are at least 5 million charity shops in Bristol, and several in Albufeira, all of which sell pieces that could be used as fabric or could be upcycled into a new piece. I’m fairly confident I could manage to source all the material, wool, ribbons, even buttons, from the charity shops of Bristol, it will just take a bit of creativity.
But then that got me thinking. If I can design and make new clothes from old for children, then what’s stopping me doing that for myself. I can’t imagine that I’m the only middle aged woman in the world who is looking for imaginative ways to update or upcycle dated pieces. I have way too many clothes in my wardrobe, there is absolutely no need for me to buy anything new – not for a very, very long time. Yes, I might be a bit tired, or bored of some, but I am also able to change them, or update them and bring them back to life.
I think like many people, I have become increasingly weary of ‘stuff’ and where that ‘stuff’ will eventually end up. I moved home a couple of years ago, downsizing in the process. There is nothing quite like downsizing to make you re-evaluate exactly what is necessary in your life. Much of the ‘stuff’ I had, I wondered why I’d actually believed I’d needed it in the first place. There were some boxes I’d moved from Stoke-on-Trent to Bristol and remained in the shed, un-opened, for 8 years, so, clearly, the ‘stuff’ in those boxes wasn’t necessary. We tried as far as we could to donate, recycle or sell our things, but ultimately a lot of it just did end up in the bin.
Then this got me thinking a little more. If I could create clothes and accessories using what I already have, where else could I apply the same logic and stop buying? I already started cutting down on things during 2019. Instead of having multiple body lotions to choose from after a shower, I’ve been using (and buying) one bottle at a time and am far more particular about the packaging. I’ve started using a hair shampoo soap ( I currently use Lush Montalbano) and am working my way through bottles of shower gel to be replaced by soap when they are all empty.
In addition to this, I am also interested in finding more healthy ways of living. Not only am I concerned by the amount of packaging that I am using and trying to recycle, but I’m increasingly concerned by the chemicals I am consuming, either through food or through my skin. You read all of these ingredients on bottles, but are many of them actually beneficial? What are the long term implications of putting these chemicals on, or in to my body. Is there a way I could actually make my own lotions and potions, thereby reducing the amount of packaging I use, but also understanding more fully exactly what it is that I am using? Just this morning I listened to a podcast, Highest Self Podcast Episode 227, which discussed the impact of chemicals within our food and our surrounding environment on our long term health.
So, rather than doing 20 things for 2020, I’m going to attempt one really big thing. I’m going to try to live as sustainably as I can for the year and minimise the amount of new things that I buy. I would say I am like many a sustainable campaigner at the moment, I think I know about it, but in actual fact, I suspect I have no real idea and that I have much to learn! I haven’t got a clue how this will pan out, but if nothing else, if I am in the least bit successful, my husband’s bank balance will be much happier at the end of 2020!