It started with my wardrobe but I just couldn't stop there. The more I looked the more I found stuff we didn't use or need. It started to irritate me and little by little I begun to go through all our cupboards and closets and to empty them from all the clutter. We moved here over a year ago, and we still have boxes that haven't been opened even once after the move. It made me wonder if I would ever use those things again in my life. So why not recycle them?
I keep wondering one thing: I try to buy groceries and such that are ecologically produced or at least fair trade (preferably both) even though they would cost double the money. We try to minimize our household waste by only buying what we eat and trying to use even the leftovers, and I'm glad to tell you that we throw very little food away compared to the nationwide average (in Finland the numbers are now sad 20-26 kg of food per person every year). We also strive to recycle our waste, save water and electricity and so on. But at the same time we buy a lot of poorly made cheap clothes and shoes only to throw them away after a couple of uses and never stopping to wonder where the clothes come from and how their production affects the environment. Who worked the cotton field or sewed the jeans I have on me, are their work environments safe and did they get a fair salary for their work? What are the living conditions of the sheep whose wool I'm wearing and does the factory that made my faux-leather shoes pollute it's surroundings?
I've noticed this same duality in many life style blogs, you know, the need to live ecologically but at the same time filling our life with material and having shopping as a hobby. And to me it all feels a little hypocritical.
At first having only 37 pieces of clothes in my wardrobe sounded crazy to me. It sounded impossible to achieve and I thought it was way too little and no-one could ever survive on that. But the more I've thought about it the more it starts to make sense. If the clothes are of good quality and easy to mix-and-match as well as accessorize (remember the capsule wardrobe concept does not limit the amount of scarfs and jewellery you can own) 37 garments is more than enough for a three-month seasonal period.
And don't forget that you get to have four different capsule wardrobes for every year, one for each season, so actually you can have 4 x 37 pieces which makes 148. That actually sounds a lot already, but to make your wardrobe even bigger, you don't have to include your lounge wear, fitness clothes and evening wear into the 37 pieces, so your yearly "allowance" is even more than the 148 capsule clothes. It really makes me wonder if I really need that many clothes every year, since many of the basic clothes (jeans, t-shirts...) can be worn throughout the year.
Maintaining a functional capsule wardrobe might take a little more effort than buying stuff on the whim, but I really do think it's more affordable in the long run. It will also mean giving up shopping as a hobby, which actually might now be such a bad thing after all. From now on I will try to concentrate on buying clothes with better quality even though they would be more expensive instead of multiple similar ones of inferior quality. (Sadly the expensive price tag doesn't always equal a better quality and durability in clothes, and with brands you often pay extra for the logo, so make sure the garment really is the quality that you believe it to be, so that you don't end up buying an over 100 € designer sweater that turned out to be 100% acrylic, like I did a few years ago...)