Since embarking on the Zero Waste lifestyle, my life and that of my family has completely changed... for the better. We not only feel happier, we lead more meaningful lives, based on experiences instead of stuff, and action instead of inaction.
Today, my goal is to shatter pre-conceptions associated with the Zero Waste lifestyle and share what we have discovered about its incredible health, financial and time saving benefits. 
Welcome!

My Wardrobe Inventory in Pictures

After a month dedicated to our new Bulk app, back to our regular blog schedule...

First off, let me thank those of you who thought of posting a review for my book on Amazon! I am humbled by your response and excited about your positive feedback enticing new readers to embark on this incredible lifestyle! Your time is well appreciated; its ripple effect will change the world (literally), and I feel motivated to share more of the lifestyle with you...

As many of you already know, I have vouched to only buying secondhand clothing and my bi-annual clothes thrifting was a month ago. Many of you have asked for a post about it, so here are the highlights of my inventory changes:
  • Exchanging my white button down shirt for my girlfriend's chambray one (for extra color), my grey shorts for sparkly black ones (for extra texture), and my pink skorts for a gold skirt (for extra fun)
  • Introducing a tube type piece in each of these three categories: Tops, dresses, and bottoms for maximum versatility (they can all be worn as tops or bottoms)
  • Swapping my nude pumps for black pointy toe heels, large sunglasses for a funkier style, and all my jewelry pieces for fresh ones - including a locket ring which now keeps my lip balm handy. 
I bought a few "extras" for me to test the first couple of weeks and to then narrow my inventory down to my set number of pieces by choosing those that fit me best and are most versatile. By now, the not-so-good options that did not make the cut have already have been donated -so have the extra pieces that I purchased for the boys to allow them to chose their favorite styles from a selection (they were not able to come with me to the store  this time).  I wish I had a bit more color in my inventory, but I am pretty happy with what I found in the thrift stores within the limited time I had, and I sure scored on deals... I even found a $10 bill in one of the kids' jeans that I purchased for $2!

I am now set for the next 6 months and ready to REUSE and explore my minimalist secondhand wardrobe as much as possible... and here it is in pictures! - pardon the white on white items;).

Questions? Ask away in the comments!

Tops and Sweaters

Dresses

Bottoms

Accessories

Outerwear

Shoes


Note: I purchased an "extra" piece that I will unveil before my annual trip to France;). Can you sense a new summer challenge coming on? ;)

128 comments:

  1. Anonymous5/17/2013

    What an inspiration! I have been simplyfying for a while now, and my wardrobe has been cut down significantly, i have around 50 items but still feel i can do better, i still have days where i have nothing to wear :( . Bought your book, and loved the wardrobe section, but i am a visual person so this post is amazing. Here in the uk we possibbly need a few warmer items (it's freezing here now) But we were in Florida in April and i have to say a warmer climate means a more minimal wardrobe :). One question, when you go thrift shopping do you have a 'list' of what you need to complete your wardrobe? And what do you do if you can't find it? Will you buy new?
    Amazing Blog, You could really change the world :)

    Sharron x

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    1. Hi Sharron and thanks for your question! I do bring my inventory list with me, and mark those items that I would like or need to replace. I have vouched to not buy new. So rather than buying a new piece, I choose to buy a not-so-ideal piece which I then tweak with some sewing or editing. On the very rare occasions that I cannot find and need something very specific (a pair of dance shoes for Max, for example), I look for it on eBay.

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  2. Anonymous5/17/2013

    I just cannot beleive that you find all these items in thrift shops, in the uk i this would be impossible, thefefore i revert to buying new trying to adopt he minimal approach,but i am so in awe of you and i would love thes items in my wardrbe. Do you think new purchases are acceptable when thrifted purchases cannot be found?

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    1. another option would be to make your own. I am making my own dresses this spring. I have never made any clothes before. It should be a fun experience.

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    2. Anonymous5/17/2013

      Hello! I know it can be tough to find used clothing, especially in places with fewer thrift stores.You could also try to organize a clothing swap. You can get a group of people together and trade clothes or just bring clothes you want to get rid of and see what others are giving away. This really only works if you know people who are about the same size as you. It also works well for kids clothing.

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    3. Anonymous5/18/2013

      Hi, I work in a charity shop in the UK & like to browse around the other ones too. I would say you can find these kind of things in them here, it's just a case of being in the right place at the right time before things get snapped up!

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    4. When I started with Zero Waste, I had no idea bulk foods were available in my town. Once I paid attention to unpackaged goods, I started seeing them everywhere, even in places that do not market themselves as bulk suppliers (farmer's markets, bakeries, breweries, specialty stores, etc). Same goes with finding secondhand clothing. Once you keep an eye out for it, you'll will find it in unusual places: your parent's attic, the flea market, the consignment shop, craigslist, clothes swaps, friend's closets, or a park bench... Not all my secondhand clothes came from the thrift shops. In the current inventory pictured above, some came from eBay, a flea market, a friend's closet, a vintage shop and a dirty sidewalk! ;) One of the advantages of keeping a small inventory is that you do not need to purchase/find many pieces for your wardrobe, and only doing it twice a year means that you can also travel where you can find a good selection if you cannot find it in your town! I hope this answers your question.

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  3. Anonymous5/17/2013

    Bea, thank you for this post! Very inspiring, indeed. I'm sure it's all working smoothly for a warm climate.
    Of course we'd like more, we want to see how you combine these pieces, how you dress them up or down.
    My question is a bit different: Could you show us the inventory for your husband? I'm trying to put together a working wardrobe for my husband for the summer.
    And another question: how do you go about the laundry? Do you line dry or do you use a dryer? Line dry requires more planning and more clothes, especially in the winter, when thicker clothes take longer to dry...

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    1. 1- Scott is significantly more private than I am;) but I will ask for his approval to post his inventory.

      2- I use a dryer when line drying is not possible. We have solar on our home, thanks to the savings that we have accumulated due to our Zero Waste lifestyle. Through solar and the reusables that we have invested in, Zero Waste is a gift that keeps on giving;)

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  4. Anonymous5/17/2013

    I would love it if you could post some more on your kids needs - and how the thrifted clothing fits with them as they get older and more into their teens. For example, do they ever just REALLY want a cool item that kids around them have? Do you let them, or are you all so far into this lifestyle that you are through all that. Of course I totally get that writing about your kids needs is very personal and would respect your decision not to:) Loving the book, going to start handing it around in my corner of New Zealand soon:)

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    1. Thanks for your question, I am more happy to answer it!
      When we started with Zero Waste, people warned me about my kids' teenage years. I did wonder about how we would manage that period of their lives. Max is now 13 and Leo 11 but it seems that they actually wanted more when they were little! Maybe their wants subsided because we went through rough financial times together and had to say no to wants driven by peer pressure, maybe it is because we do not make impulse buys... I keep in check with their wishes though and when am ready to go on my biannual thrifting, I ask for specific items that they have in mind. They no longer are based on what other people have, rather on color preferences (for their tee shirts) and fit and what they really need.
      On the rare occasions that they have a specific wish, we find a solution that fits our lifestyle. After Leo sold a painting, he decided to use the money to buy himself a laptop. We found exactly what he wanted, refurbished.

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  5. Hi, I'm a new follower here and I just wanted to clear something up. The photos there of those clothes, does that mean then that they are the on;y clothes that you have? Do you find that you are washing more though and maybe making an impact on the environment that way?

    Cxx

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    1. Thanks for your question and welcome, Cordelia!
      Yes, these are the only clothes that I have and I do laundry once a week.
      With a small wardrobe, you do not wash more, but manage (your inventory) more.

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  6. Anonymous5/17/2013

    What do you do about workout clothes? I run, hike, kayak, do yoga, go to the gym, etc. What could you suggest as a minimalist wardrobe for these type of activities? I love your style BTW. :-)

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    1. Anonymous5/17/2013

      Hello other anonymous! I had the same question a while back. From what I gather Bea uses her everyday clothes as her every day clothes. She had an amazing picture of an outfit she wore shopping, and then hiking, and out with her friends. She also mentioned that picking a few activities to focus on and explore in depth will help to clear up extra clutter and give you more time to hone your skills and enjoy what you love.

      I know this doesn't work for everyone, and you seem similar to me. I go usually run between 2-6 miles, or bike 50 miles. This makes it a little tougher to reuse everyday clothing since the get covered in sweat! I typically have a few pieces, 1 pair of running pants, 1 pair of running shorts, 2 running shirts, and a sports bra for my running. I just wear them on my 2-3 runs a week. If you hang them up to dry between I found they do not get smelly. On the occasion that they do I figure I am only running in them so it doesn't matter. For biking I have one pair of bike shorts and 1 bike jersey. I ride 6-8 miles a day and sometimes 50 on the weekend. I wear the outfit I bike it and wash it once a week with my workout stuff, or after a bike ride :)

      This is what I found works for me, so hopefully it helps. Oh- and I usually get up and do my activity before it gets to hot. I shower after so I don't shower before a workout and after.

      Hopefully you are inspired to go find what works best for you!

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    2. Anonymous5/17/2013

      I also re-use workout clothes. Typically, I'll wear a shirt twice and bottoms 3 or 4 times.

      JulieB

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    3. Anonymous5/20/2013

      I have a friend who will get in the shower with her clothes on after a super sweaty yoga class- wring them out and hang them to dry... she's pretty die hard. mine don't dry fast enough so i just have 3 tops and 3 pants i rotate throughout the week and hang out to air out the stink!

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    4. Everyone's needs are different and depend on many factors: level and commitment to working out, willingness to wear clothes more than once, weather conditions, motivation to simplify, time availability for testing options, etc.
      I can only speak for myself. In simplifying my life, I found that I enjoyed being active more than I did going to the gym - they make me yawn and I don't like the smell of them;) So I do not per say "workout". Instead I clean house with techno music, walk the dog, hike in the hills, ride my bike, play football with Leo, wrestle, do house repair and garden -my house is located on a hill and has 36 steps to climb from the garage (where repair and gardening tools are located) to the front door. All these activities can be achieved with the minimal wardrobe presented above.
      Only you can decide what makes up your ideal wardrobe based on the factors mentioned.

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    5. I find I can't re-use my work out clothing because I stink, lol. What I do instead is buy work out clothes I can wear for other things. I buy plain racerback tanks, wear them under shear blouses for work, do yoga in them at lunch, and go for a run after work. I can wear one tank all day, it's fantastic. For pants I go with black and wear them as leggins, casual pants, and work out in them. I try to go for multi use items rather than work out specific pieces. I have had a lot of luck finding exactly what I need second hand.

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  7. Bea, thank you for sharing all you do! I came across your blog about 18 months ago and since then changed many happenings in our household....changing our kitchen refuse bin into the compost bin was last week's challenge. I find great value in many of your posts, esp Friday's wardrobe sessions: I've always been a minimalist dresser but your posts help me greatly in knowing what to buy each season and how to combine all. Thank you so much for being passionate and sharing this passion with the www and its unknown members.

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  8. Hello Bea, I love your clothes choices! Have you heard of project 333? http://theproject333.com/ minimalist fashion challenge that invites you to dress with 33 items or less for 3 months.

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    1. Hi Sharon: Yes someone forwarded me a link to that project 3 years ago. At that time, I had already simplified my wardrobe, so I did not see the point in doing a three month experiment -since I was already doing year around;)
      That said, it sounds like a great idea for people that are just starting out and are afraid of paring down. It might help them figure out their capsule wardrobe!

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  9. Very cool. I would have to visit our local thrift store weekly for several months to turn up a wardrobe this chic. I could never do it in one afternoon. Kudos to you.

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    1. Ali: Shopping does not take an afternoon for me, it takes all day and the editing a week or two... At least, with a small wardrobe you do not need to change out many pieces. What takes the most time though is learning what your true needs (and style) are.

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  10. I notice you have precisely 33 items, like Project 333.

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    1. Funny! When I read your comment, I rushed to count the thumbnails above... I had not counted them before... there are 35, not 33. Awesome coincidence with Project 333. 30 something must be a magic number for simple wardrobes;)

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  11. Rebecca5/17/2013

    You rock (and probably look fantastic!) I went to a PEN event last night feeling fly in my 99% thrifted oufit (green velvet blazer, crisp white shirt, GAP hipster pants and a funky vintage necklace) but couldn't do shoes. I'm too hard to fit for second hand shoes. Anyway, your post today was so timely for me, as my husband's eye rolling was putting a damper on my enthusiasm. Thanks!

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    1. Anonymous5/17/2013

      Maybe ebay or Craigslit for shoes? It's a bummer to go to the thrift/consignment store and not be able to say "do you have this in a size __ ?" But when you do score a good fit thats stylish too, what a deal!

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    2. Way to go Rebecca! I love wamping up my secondhand wardrobe for a dressy event. I don't say anything unless asked, but I wish everyone knew! ;)
      I have problems finding shoes too (super narrow feet), and when the fit is right, something is wrong with them. They need repair or I don't like the design. This time around, I had to blacken a scratch and glue the lining on the pointy toe heels and I removed painful and unsightly decorative hardware from the flat sandals. I always end up making them work ;)

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    3. Anonymous5/20/2013

      Yes, you do always make it work. That's what is so wonderful to see.

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  12. Loved reading your book and your amazing sense of style both with interior design and fashion. I am curious - you have mentioned in the past you camp with the family. I live in Oregon and one thing I would have to add to my collection a pair of hiking shoes. What do you wear when you are out on a hike?

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    1. Have you tried looking for hiking boots at Goodwill? I live in Washington state and have found some hiking shoes there; the trick is, you can't expect to find them in your size the first try at the store. Just keep checking back from time to time and eventually one of them should show up... Also REI has an annual "garage sale" when they sell things that have been returned or are gently used.

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    2. I use the flat mid-calf black boots for hiking: I can crunch or fold them down in the summer, and I have waterproofed them for winter hikes, using the recipe in the book.

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    3. Anonymous5/22/2013

      Patagonia also has an ebay site for secondhand clothing - http://campaigns.ebay.com/patagonia/

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  13. So inspiring. I am at the end of my pregnancy and although a part of me wants to buy more clothes once I loose weight, I'm not going to because there's no point when there are clothes in my closet that will fit me.

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  14. Replies
    1. No need for me. My activities do not require them. When I had them, they collected more dust than dirt. See my reply to the comment above regarding working out.

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  15. Anonymous5/17/2013

    Hi Bea I was wounding if you would not mind showing the blog readers what kind of cloths your kids and husband have as well.

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    1. All 3 boys in my home are way more private than I am, but I will seek their approval;)

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  16. Anonymous5/17/2013

    While I do admire what you're doing, I could never just wear almost all black & white; think I'd be severely depressed! I DO however, buy almost everything from Good Will and other consignment stores around the valley here in Arizona. Looking forward to reading your book that I checked out from the library :) Keep up the efficiency!

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    1. It doesn't matter the color, but the amount of having a simple wardrobe. Although, prints and patterns have less possibility of making more outfits.

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    2. Everyone is different: if you can make a colorful minimalist wardrobe work for you, that's great! Everyone's needs are different too, including one's need for color in a wardrobe to make one's happy. I personally am happy with a majority of neutrals. I have learned throughout the years of having a simple wardrobe that (too many) colors generally hinder versatility for me, and that I get tired of them, much, much faster than I do neutrals. As a matter of fact, I have had the majority of the black items in my wardrobe for several seasons. They represent my basics. Colors represent my short term items. Since I only shop twice a year, I do not hang on to color items for more than 6 months; they're the first items that I look to replace when I shop!

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  17. Designers work this way...they create a collection for the season and often try to show how the pieces work together and mix. It's a great way to build a wardrobe too. I have always had a small closet, but this is incredibly tight!

    My big question, Bea, is if the thrifting includes stores in S.F. or just Marin.
    And also, any online shopping?

    P.S. Because of you I ventured into a second hand shop in Mill Valley, despite my extreme aversion to the sights and smells of (and usually terrible bad luck in) thrift stores...and I indeed scored a versatile black loose tank that will go with just about anything, like new. Thanks!

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    1. My thrifting is spread over 2 counties, but not SF -I get stressed out about parking;)
      It also does include eBay (checking the "pre-owned" option on the left hand column before any search) for very specific items such as the black cashmere sweater that I purchased last year and dance shoes that Max needed more recently.

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  18. A small personal note about the color black - as I get older I find too much black makes me look (and feel) old. I suppose a colorful scarf and jewelry can offset this. Or choosing white as one's closet default color can work too. And thanks for the tip about checking your vein color to determine if you are cool or warm toned. I never quite figured that out, but now I see I'm def. warm!! Go gold!

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    1. Anonymous5/22/2013

      Navy blue is a kinder neutral as well.

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  19. Have not even begun to consider shopping for new clothes.... FIRST I want to completely go through all items in my house and eliminate (give away repurpose whatever) I KNOW I will no longer wear as is.... I Am keenly aware that I only wear a few key pieces over and over mixing and matching as I go... so NO NEED to have as many things as I do....
    I've already done this in my kitchen and its so freeing......
    I'm raising a granddaughter and she has read your blog and also wants to dramatically pare down her wardrobe..... she has a real dislike for having as many outfits to choose from and looks forward to moving out of her large bedroom into a smaller one and only bringing in a few key items!
    Saw you on the Jeff Probst show and LOVED IT!!!! NOWHERE close to zero waste YET but striving to do all that I can!

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  20. Anonymous5/17/2013

    where is the dress you wore on the jeff probst show i really liked it?

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    1. The Jeff Probst Show was taped before my last thrifting. As most of the color items in my wardrobe, I donated it for someone else to enjoy!
      What's funny is that when the JPS called to work out the details of the taping, they suggested that I not wear black on their show (as most TV show suggest). When I had a large wardrobe, it would have taken me forever to figure out what to wear. But my simple wardrobe made it easy, the dress was the only garment of color in my wardrobe at that time! Natural selection... ;)

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  21. Bea do you no longer own any jeans?

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    1. I do. They're black. First of the Bottoms pictures.

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  22. Anonymous5/17/2013

    what is the tip on vein color? must've missed that.

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    1. Anonymous5/17/2013

      If your veins look bluish, go with silver. If they look greenish, go with gold.

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    2. Anonymous5/17/2013

      Exactly what Anonymous said. This is from the book referring to focusing on metal accessories that will compliment your skin tone. To do this week, pare down the jewelry box and donate the never used! :)

      JuileB

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    3. Even with greying hair (from brunette mine is going iron grey)??
      It seems to me that I should move from gold to silver, despite greenish veins...
      Help!

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  23. Anonymous5/17/2013

    Thank you SOOO much for posting this. I loved your book but so badly wanted to see pictures of how you make your wardrobe work. I've been working on my wardrobe but it's so hard letting go of some things. I'll get there with time. One question though - why so many long sleeves for spring/summer/early fall? I'm assuming they're just leftovers from winter that you still like and want to keep, but I think I would be HOT wearing some of them in summer, even with the sleeves rolled up. Do you just ignore those pieces during the hotter months?

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    1. Thanks for your question.
      My wardrobe works for me year-round. (I do not segregate and store clothes for the winter). I live in a place where summers are particularly chilly and often foggy, and visit Paris (cold) and the south of France (hot) June-July. When I camp in May, I need long sleeve shirts; When I go to a movie in the park upon my return in August, I wear the heavy coat! I need a mix that I can layer and I choose pieces that are cross seasonal. It also gives those items a chance to make it into my winter wardrobe past my next thrifting. No eyelets for example, because I would not be able to wear them in the winter.

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  24. So this'll do you for the next six months?

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    1. If you meant to say that this is all I have to wear for the next six months... yes, it is;)

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  25. Anonymous5/18/2013

    SHOES,
    Should never be bought used!! Especially for children. Your feet are your mainstay, the whole support of your body, buying cheap used shoes, is not good. I pay good money for my shoes and they last years and if you have access to a cobbler(yes they still exist) they can be retooled.
    Oh and why just black and white in your clothes, can you say BORING...put some colour in your wardrobe women!!!!

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    1. Anonymous5/18/2013

      Can you say RUDE. Gently used shoes of excellent quality can also be found at thrift stores. I'm sure Bea, as well as many of the rest of us, know what a cobbler is and that they can still be found. Nothing about vintage equals poorly made, as a matter of fact many of the items I've thrifted are very well made and have lasted me years already. Weren't you ever taught any manners? Someone is opening up their home and family to share an enlightened lifestyle with you. Have a little decency to at the very least be respectful in your comments, please.

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    2. Anonymous5/18/2013

      Yes i totally agree you are a rude smallminded madam, who obviously has no sense of individual style,i would imagine you are a teeny weeny bit jelous of Bea who is an inspiration to us all.

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    3. Anonymous5/18/2013

      I don't think her comments are rude until she gets to the part where she talks about the wardrobe.

      I don't know if she's jelaous or small-minded and the rest. I don't know anything about her sense of style other than she doesn't like used, cheap shoes and that she prefers to have color in her wardrobe.

      I agree she should not speak rudely to someone who opens up her home and style. However, I think it is OK for her to disagree with the blog's author. She just should have followed the rules of the blog and stated it respectfully. But I think the comments against her are personal insults, as opposed to the original comments, which were really about the wardrobe choices. I also don't feel that she implied we don't know what a cobbler is. I feel she implied that they are hard to find, and /that/, they are.

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    4. Marilyn5/19/2013

      I love seeing your wardrobe and I am grateful for your generousity in sharing your inspirational life with me. I would much prefer beautifully made shoes from the thrift store than cheap new shoes. I think it shows incredible ignorance to say that all "new is good" and shoes in the thrift store "are not good" . I think this comment exemplifies the incorrect information that prevails and why your blog is so needed by so many. Also, your clothes are far from boring. I find your style to be chic and elegant.

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    5. Hello Anonymous: I can hear from your tone that you are new;) Welcome to the blog! Before posting comments, please make sure to read past articles, especially this one, about my local cobbler. http://zerowastehome.blogspot.com/2013/01/another-zero-waste-home-essential.html. He has done a fantastic job rewamping the good quality footwear that we have been able to find in thrift stores, and I encourage you to do the same. If the thrift store is too much of a hit or miss for you, you can be sure to find the brands that you are looking for in a consignment shop or eBay! We have been blessed by fantastic secondhand footwear and I could not imagine going back to new -the used ones have been broken in and do not give me blisters! It takes an open-mind to consider giving them a try, but if I was able to do it, I am sure that you can too.
      Please make sure to check my Fashion Friday posts too. In them I share how limiting your wardrobe to only a few color items, allows you to use color as an accent. You might be surprised how little color a wardrobe needs in order to make fun outfits (Unless you work as a clown, you can't wear all your colors at once anyways). Read my response to the previous comment concerning color and neutrals, it will shed some light as to why I do not purchase more color items...
      Oh and please, use some decency when posting a comment, whether it be here or on someone else's blog. If you don't know how to write a constructive point of view, then consider not posting at all.

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    6. Anonymous5/23/2013

      No, I'm not new to the blog. I have been reading you for a couple of years and I do admire what your doing. This was the first time I have posted however. As a person who suffers from major foot problems ie: degenerative, I have issues with second hand footwear. I don't want your readers to think that wearing second hand footwear is a good thing. Maybe for some people as yourself it might be fine, but spending money on good quality shoes which can and do last you a lifetime is not a bad thing.
      As for those people who called me small minded the finger is pointing right back at you.
      And I don't apologize for saying your clothing choices are boring, thats simply my opinion. If you are opening yourself up to the world you have to expect to get some feedback which isn't always lovey dovey. Cheers, keep up the good work, I think what your doing is amazing and a lifestyle we should all try to attain.

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    7. I am new to Bea's blog. First I was intrigued, then interested, and now I am truly impressed and inspired. Anonymous, I feel that even though it is not the right choice for you, you are wrong to say that "shoes should never be bought used" or that second hand footwear is not a good thing. As the last of nine children I rarely wore anything BUT used shoes. I have never had any problem with my feet. I am forty four years old and still mostly own hand me down shoes as well as clothes from my older sisters. I look great and feel even better! As far as one being able to state ones opinion I agree with you. Not only should people be able to have and discuss their differences of opinions, but for me that is what makes this world an interesting and enjoyable place to be. That being said, I have NEVER spoken my opinions with so little tact or regard for another as you have.

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    8. Anonymous5/25/2013

      It's fine to share that you would prefer more color, or that you prefer to buy new shoes because you have had specific foot problems, but to do so in a tactful manner would be much better received. As Bea has stated many times, everyone's needs are different, suit the zero-waste ideas to your own lifestyle or discard the ones that do not apply to your needs. I read all negativity in the original comment, there are much more polite ways to say the same thing.

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    9. Béa, je suis morte de rire : "(Unless you work as a clown, you can't wear all your colors at once anyways)"
      I love it!

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    10. Anonymous5/28/2013

      Everyone has their own style of expression... and their own way of writing their opinions. Not everything someone says or writes is going to be "acceptable" to everyone. I run with the thought of "Just put your big girl panties on ... and deal with." Move on!

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    11. Anonymous5/28/2013

      Obviously not or you would have already "moved on" by now.

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    12. I have terrible feet and wear prescription orthotics. I was told by my podiatrist not to share shoes or buy used. I buy shoes that I wear on a daily basis (runners and work boots) new and buy shoes I don't wear as often second hand (heels and boots). For myself, it's about finding balance and doing what I can. If you can't buy everything second hand, just try to buy as much as you can.

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  26. Tom Ankers5/18/2013

    Hi! I think you might be interested in my review of Zero Waste Home I posted on book review site spinebreakers.com. http://www.spinebreakers.co.uk/?sp_reviews=i-cant-say-that-this-book-affected-my-life

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  27. Do you have trouble with your lip balm, melting out of your locket and onto your shirts?

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    1. I used to have this problem. I now add more beeswax to my original recipe and it does not melt, even during the hot summer months.

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    2. This is my first season wearing this ring and it has yet to melt on me and onto my shirts;). If it did, my instinct would also be to add more wax...

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  28. I love seeing your wardrobe. Although my style is at the opposite (athletic, not glamor at all), it helps me to see the pieces you have, how versatile they are and how many combinations you can create. Very useful. My 3 pairs of shoes for the incoming months: flip-flop, running shoes, hiking shoes.

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    Replies
    1. ;) again... everyone is different!
      I once said that I would never be caught dead in sweat pants, yet I could not resist those pictured above that my girlfriend gave me. Love wearing them with high heels!

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  29. please continue your mini wardrobe fave posts and show us how you put these pieces together over the next 6 months!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for your feedback. I am doing Fashion Friday posts starting this Friday again, through Instagram/Twitter/Facebook. I might do a couple of mini wardrobe fave in the next 6 months. And then there is the potential of an experiment this summer...;)

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  30. Bonjour Béa,
    Je suis française (je vis en Bretagne près de Rennes). Désolée pour les lecteurs de ne pas écrire en anglais (le mien n'est pas suffisamment correct). Je m'intéresse à votre aventure depuis le démarrage du blog. Et je suis heureuse qu'elle devienne plus connue en France.
    Nous sommes aussi une famille (nous avons 3 garçons, des jumeaux de 12 ans et un garçon de 7 ans). Vos expériences nous ont inspirées et nous soutiennent dans notre mode de vie, dans un environnement où nous sommes des "ovnis" quant à ces choix. Mais j'imagine que c'est sans doute le cas de la plupart de ceux qui embarquent dans cette expérience.
    Nous avons décidé ce week-end de nous lancer ; nous produisons peu de déchets, mais ceux qui demeurent sont les plus difficiles à éliminer. Et le challenge est que cette expérience soit positive pour tous y compris pour nos enfants (sachant que 2 entrent dans l'adolescence).
    Enfin encore beaucoup de questions se posent à nous...
    Irma

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    1. Je suis heureuse que vous vous soyez lance dans ce mode de vie. Comme je le dis au dessus, Max et Leo ont maintenant 11 et 13, hors ils ne demandent plus da'voir ce qu'ont les autres... Au fil du temps, ca rentre. Alors, courage.
      J'espere que vous aurez l'occasion de lire mon livre qui sort en France au mois de Septembre. Peut etre vous aidera-t'il a eliminer les dechets qui vous sont difficiles a eliminer...

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  31. Thank you soooo much for doing this post. What I have trouble with is to eliminate what I still like. You seem to rotate your wardrobe very nicely, even if that means that you have to get rid of items that are still very nice on you. For example, the dress you wore to Jeff Probst Show, the necklace you had on with the black tank while you were showing your house, etc. You must have thifted them back. Is it not painful to do so?

    Thank you so much for opening up your life for us. This is very educational and inspirational.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for your question. It is not painful to have thrifted the items that I have replaced because I do not dwell on "losing" something, but rather look at the upside of change. Change brings excitement into life. I look forward to discovering new combinations with the "new" items that I brought in. I really liked the olive dress that I wore on the JBS too, but I forgot it as soon as I started playing around with its hot pink replacement (tube dress). For example, I have worn it as a top, a bottom, and thrown it on when someone knocked on my door -I was not able to use the green dress these three ways.

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  32. Anonymous5/20/2013

    This is so inspiring! I am a minimalist as well and would love some new pieces for summer. I live in the SF Bay Area and am hoping you will share the names of your thrift store(s). I would love to check out some new ones, I live in the East Bay. Thanks,
    Lisa H. (email: lisarog@pacbell.net)

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  33. I love this. It is so inspirational. But feels very unattainable for some who:
    • Lives in a climate with multiple seasons- my climate ranges from requiring super heavy wool sweaters in winter to anything that can keep cool from humidity in summer, and everything in between. Raincoat? Winter hat and gloves?
    • Works in a formal environment outside of the home. Even with a mix and match minimalist wardrobe for the office, I rotate between 3 pairs of slacks and multiple tops that depend on the season. None of the shoes would work in my office.
    • Works out regularly without a washer/dryer at home. I do reuse my workout clothes when possible, but I can only go to the laundry about every 2 weeks in order to keep in economical so I need at least enough tops, bottoms and sports bras to get me through.
    Thank you so much for the information. I’d love to see a segment on helping someone to obtain a more minimal wardrobe when you are dressing for more occasions and seasons!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment. I usually add the typical sentence "Everyone's needs are different, this post is for illustrative purposes only". But forgot it this time, so your reaction is only normal.
      I obviously can only speak for myself, my work's dress code, climate and activities. It is unfortunately impossible for me to make up separate wardrobes for countless situations: the young Hawaian surfer instructor who washes her clothes by hand, the middle aged alaskan fisherman who has access to a washer, not a dryer, and works out on occasion; or the retiring UK executive who works out regularly but can only do laundry every other week. I posted my list to answer a recurring inquiry and to support for my book's wardrobe tips and Fashion Friday posts. I am sorry that you do not find this post helpful to your specific needs. I cannot cover every situation but I hope that my Fashion Friday posts will help you find wardrobe combinations within your own inventory.

      I do have a pair of gloves: your comment made me realize that I forgot to take a picture of them! -I store them with my intimates this time of year and completely forgot to include them in the pictures. As for the two other items that you mention, I wear the wool fedora in the winter and the thick coat when it rains -it took me years of owning a thin trenchcoat to realize that it only rains when cold where I live;)

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    2. Hi Bea,

      Thank you for your reply. Not that I didn't find your post helpful. On the contrary- it is incredibly useful to see how simply one can live, and to specifically to see your wardrobe. My suggestion was merely to see how your creative mind might work for the many people who read this blog that might have less flexibility in using multi-functioning pieces as you do. I do understand you can't address everyone's individual needs. Thank you for putting yourself out there. I love your blog and am pretty stoked about the bulk locator app! Kudos to you!

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    3. youandme...

      check out Project 333, referenced above. Participants live in a variety of climates and work across a variety of professions. In general the idea is to swap out your wardrobe every 3 months to account for seasonal changes. People have different strategies for dealing with work clothes--sometimes adjusting by making their weekend clothes more formal, sometimes by creating (or already having) a work uniform that doesn't vary and that they don't count in their 33. Most people also don't count workout/gardening/grungy work clothes. And I would choose quick drying workout clothes so you can do a quick handwash and hang to dry over your shower curtain at home.

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    4. I have the same issue with formal wear for work. I don't want to wear dress pants when I am not working so instead I try to buy more versatile tops. Everything I wear on top during the week I wear on the weekend just replace my dress pants with jeans. I also try to buy blazers in more casual fabrics (a bit shiny or stiff rather than full out suiting) so I can wear them all the time.

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  34. Anonymous5/20/2013

    Bea I am from the UK,and I have just come across your blog which inspires me totally,what is life like in Mill valley,and what is general day to day life like? Are there any tempting shopping malls to knock you off your zero waste tracks?

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    Replies
    1. Of course there are malls! but no one forces you to go to them;) Out of sight, out of mind!

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  35. Bea would this minimal closet suffice in all climates and on a variety of holidays?

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    Replies
    1. I cannot speak for someone living in extreme weather condition. But this wardrobe suffices for my needs: It takes me from weekends in Tahoe (snow) to the South of France (high heat) and anything in between. The key is to not be afraid of the "what ifs".

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    2. ok, when I read that last sentence, something in my head klicked. Not sure if my headache stopped or I just understood something very very important.

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  36. Anonymous5/20/2013

    It's amazing that you get along with that number of pieces (okay, no seasonal changes), but even more amazing is in my eyes how easy you swap and change... I do not have many clothes, but at least 100 pieces - and I keep some for more than 20 yrs...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mill Valley does have seasons (maybe not as extreme as some other locations, but it does have them). My wardrobe takes me through rain, sun and occasionally snow, mountain to beach, hiking to party... It's all in the layering!

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  37. I have to thank you so much for sharing your experiences. I have read your book (lovely and informative) and everyday we have been moving closer zero waste. There is something new to implement all the time, but the simplicity is amazing; once you begin it just takes off! My personal wardrobe is the biggest challenge. This week I'm tackling it head on- your post could not have come at a better time! Reading some of the replies, you are entering 'zero waste guru status' which is awesome, I certainly come to your site for guidance; but clearly, you are simply taking every day at a time and discovering new ways to implement zero waste. Please keep sharing! It is extremely helpful. My family (2 boys, one named Leo;) are very happy implementing zero waste.
    For those of you out there with large wardrobes here's my plan to downsize- use my own closet like a store, create as many capsule wardrobes as possible and then begin deleting capsules starting with my least favorite. Hope it works;)

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  38. Anonymous5/21/2013

    are all your shoes comfortable Bea,and do they all enable you to live your active life.Or do you wear specific shoes on your more active days?

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    Replies
    1. I am not sure I understand your question. If these shoes did not enable me to live my life or were not comfortable, I would not have them... I have carefully evaluated my needs and picked the types of shoes that work for me and my activities. Generally, I run errands, walk to town, and ride my bike in the medium heels (I choose a heeled style vs. wedges for that purpose). My go-to pair for the beach are the flat sandals, my go-to pair for parties and dressy events (or simply adding fun to an outfit) are the open toe heels, my go-to pair for hiking are the tall boots. The shearling boots are my slippers (I do not wear them out of the house). I hope this answers your question.

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  39. Anonymous5/21/2013

    Bea would you ever expand your wardrobe if more clothes caught your eye when thrifting?

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    Replies
    1. I am not tempted to expand my small wardrobe, because I keep in mind that its simplicity has been extremely freeing. I love the fact that it fits in a carry on, which allows me to 1)pack it up quickly, 2)rent our house when we go away, 3)take it all when I travel (no packing conundrums), 4)wash less (therefore save money and effort) 5)make what I do not have available to others!

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  40. Do you still have your black man's button up from last summer?

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    Replies
    1. Nope, I use Scott's instead and also play around with my new pieces ;)

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  41. africaturtle5/22/2013

    i really really like the accessories page. perfect :)
    Of course my style is way more boring than yours (jeans and knit tops pretty much) but i love seeing how you combine all of these things. Also appreciate the details included like that fact that you reglued part of the sole in the black shoes. Shows that you really do "think outside the box" which is hard to imagine when all we see is the pictures where you look so perfectly "put together" it just seems you bought everything that way but really you put in some "elbow grease" to get to that stage...inspiring.

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    Replies
    1. I definitely "tweak" or refurbish a few pieces each time. This time around, I took the shorts down 3 sizes and the "extra" piece down 4 sizes. I removed a spot on the white tank and unnecessary decorative hardware on sandals and purse (+swapped it's strap). I added the rock onto the ring, covered a scratch on the pointy heels, and had the low booties reconditioned by my cobbler. I should be set until October ;)

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  42. Anonymous5/23/2013

    Dear Bea,
    Your book was lovely and well written! It helped me communicate Zero Waste to my family and friends. I know that you do not like to divulge where you shop or brands/labels, but I am hoping you can make an exception for your leather jacket. I have been searching for one that allows me to move freely and it appears that yours has some type of stretch inset on the sleeves. Please may I have the brand as perhaps many of their jackets employ this.
    As always thank you for sharing your experiences and knowledge.

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  43. Hi Bea!
    You are SO inspiring. I LOVE this post! My fiancé and I went through our closets yesterday - and we got rid of a TON of clothes! (2 large suitcases worth!) He had way more clothes than I did, and got rid of 2/3 of his clothes! We are headed to our local Thrift Trader today to see what we can sell and will donate the rest.
    By observing my own clothes wearing history, I've realized that I go through phases where I wear the same few pieces over and over for a while and then move on... Thats what is so genius about your strategy - it works the same way except you don't hold onto stuff once you are done wearing it. LOVE it!

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    1. Thanks for going through your closets and sharing those pieces that you seldom wear with others!

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    2. I join Elizabeth there. I also think it is genius to do so, since we get tired of many things after 6 monthes anyway, plus you have the satisfaction of having really made the most of them, so you can change with no regret!

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  44. Anonymous5/24/2013

    Bea your teeth are beautiful and white , have you had them whitened?

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    Replies
    1. africaturtle5/26/2013

      this question has me laughing...i guess people really want to know *everything* about you! :)

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    2. mmm. Not relevant to this post... I prefer not to answer to discourage irrelevant questions. Please hold on to your question for a more appropriate post. Thanks!

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  45. Hi Bea! I was thinking more about my zero waste wardrobe inventory and am really in need of a simple black purse. It looks like from the photos that you swapped your black purse? If the one you used to have that fit your laptop and had a detachable strap is available, I'd love to buy it! Let me know!

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    Replies
    1. Great sense of observation! (I was actually wondering if someone was going to notice!)
      I did swap my previous purse for this (very similar) one. Both have a detachable strap and fit my computer. This model folds in half to become a clutch (the way I use it most) and when unfolded, it has the advantage of also being able to hold my reusable bottle upright when I travel (the reason why I swapped).
      I have unfortunately already donated the previous model. Donation piles do not linger in our house for long ;)

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    2. I suspected that donation piles didn't last long in your house, but thought it was worth asking ;) Thank you SO MUCH for this post. It is so fantastic!

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  46. Anonymous5/25/2013

    Please tell me that you do not buy used underwear, socks and bras...

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    Replies
    1. Please tell me that you do;)
      A washed used underwear is cleaner than an unwashed new one (fitting rooms). Secondhand or new underwear should of course be washed before wearing. Once clean, they're equal.
      My current set of underwear was purchased new, only because I am ruthless on fit, color, material, and amount, and I could not find a secondhand set that matched my needs - I buy 7 of the same to match the brand and color of my only bra. I would have otherwise been more than happy to buy them used!
      My bra, PJ's and bathing suit were purchased from the pre-owned listings of eBay and I could not be happier with them (my girlfriends can attest that I had searched for that perfect bra for several years in US and French department stores!).
      As for socks, my last pair came from my girlfriend's donation pile and I love them. I even wonder where she bought such a nice pair and why she let go of it.
      In your mind, what's the difference between a secondhand tee shirt and bra or a secondhand pair of sandals and socks? Why be open to buying one but not the other? They are in contact the same body parts!
      Keep an open mind! You might make some amazing discoveries.

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    2. I absolutely agree! Plus, new stuff is often coated in toxic chemicals... So secondhand absolutely has advantages in my opinion.

      I'm curious about the perfect bra that you mention... Were you searching for several years for an elusive brand or style? Or was it that you were looking for just the right fit for you? I have always had a hard time finding bras... So I'm especially curious how you managed to finally find the perfect one!

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  47. Dear Bea! Fantastic post. Now you inspired me to do my own version of this post. (in russian). I am struggling to find how to automatically arrange pictures so nice and clean like yours. Depending on how many they are. Are you doing it on mac? Where exactly? Or did you drag and resize by hand.

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    Replies
    1. Using Ribbet on PC

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    2. Have done it on mac in keynote in the end)) Here is my inventory of 50 pcs in pictures! http://zerowastevegan.blogspot.se/2013/05/blog-post_30.html?m=1

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  48. Hi Bea, that is such a helpful post! I'm trying to simplify my wardrobe at the moment but it's a bit hard ^^ I'm still clinging to that beautiful dress I bought four years ago, wore twice and never again and all the old shirts I COULD PROBABLY wear at home... I'm really impressed by your selection :) Think I should start buying second hand more often...
    Best wishes
    Andrea (Germany)

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  49. Anonymous7/06/2013


    Well, this was my first (and only) time to read the comments - while I enjoy reading and learnig about other people's perspectives, there is just something about the internet that makes people a little snappish with each other. As the Dalai Lama says "if only we could be kinder to each other".






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  50. Anonymous8/04/2013

    Bea, I have only just discovered your blog and that someone else has as few clothes as I do. I find "stuff" including clothes overwhelming - it seems to stop me thinking clearly and weighs me down. All my life since leaving home at 19 (I am now 59) I have managed with about 12 items of clothing and 4 prs of shoes - until an item wears out or or I swop with a friend. I must now read your book. What amazes me is that apparently we must be quite rare, and I can't imagine why?! Why do people need so much stuff, I find I can't understand that at all? Trisha (UK)

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  51. Hi there. I love this post and the simplicity of this wardrobe. It's made me want to do the same with my clothes if only to realise I have three near identical white long sleeved tops.

    I'm going to struggle to limit this much, if nothing else, north England seasons range from bikini to thermals and waterproofs far too easily.

    A couple of queries - while I get not needing specific clothes for exercising if you're walking or cycling, do you have swimwear? Do you have sleepwear? I read somewhere that you have three pairs of socks. When it's cold and you're wearing socks every day does this mean you do laundry every two days? It's just two of us here and just about fill the washing machine once a week.

    Loving the blog and your way of live and taking baby steps to reduce the waste in my world. Thank you.

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    Replies
    1. This is my inventory, excluding my intimates. I thought I'd spare you pictures of my underwear, bathing suit, sleepwear, socks, etc. My full inventory is disclosed in my book though.
      To quickly respond to your questions:
      I do have one bathing suit and one pair of PJ's.
      I do not wear socks everyday and I have also the option of wearing tights.
      I do laundry only once a week.
      As explained in the book, having a minimal wardrobe does not mean laundering more, it means learning wardrobe management.

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