OK, skip this post if you don't feel like reading my whinge!
I'm finding a lot lately that not consuming commercial products, or finding alternatives to just going down to the local K-Mart for whatever it is I/we feel we need, is really consuming a lot of time! I understand that, in many instances, trying to be more sustainable means getting back to basics, and of course that takes more time: cooking from scratch, growing my own fruit and vegetables, mending clothes, walking instead of driving. For the most part, I enjoy these activities and the chance it gives me to gain new skills or spend time with my kids for instance.
But it's the change in seasons again, and that means I have to clothe my growing kids with new outfits and shoes. Fortunately having three girls means that a lot of clothes get passed down, but I still need to get clothes and shoes for my eldest, and regardless of the quality of the shoes I buy, they still seem to trash them within one season! So that means we need winter shoes for all three kids, as well as "topping up" the wardrobe for DD#3, as many clothes are pretty trashed after having been through two kids already.
EBay is terrific - an excellent source of second-hand, quality clothes and I can "shop" at night after the kids have gone to bed! But I'm getting increasingly sick of opening parcels and finding that the sizing is too small (even though it's labelled correctly, it's just a small fit) or the shoes are too narrow, ad infinitum. So the next best option is to scour the thrift shops - excellent shopping to be had, if you have the time! And add to that, the absolute entertainment bonanza that most of my local thrift shops provide for my kids: hiding under the racks, running out one of the seven sets of doors that open onto busy roads, rolling on the hideously stained, dusty mattresses... Well, lets just say that, for me, my stress levels are comparable to trying to find a park in the local shopping centre at peak hour on Saturday.
So what is the next best alternative? I just don't know! I can't sew, so the thought of making our own clothes fills me with dread, lol, and I can't imagine where I would get the time to go to a shop to buy fabric (let alone actually learn to sew)! I don't even know where the nearest fabric shop would be? Certainly not in my local strip-shopping area. (Where are most fabrics manufactured anyway? China? Is it any better for the environment buying the same polluting fabric and making your own clothes?) It's definitely on my List Of Things To Do, but once I (theoretically) have more time in my day when all three kids are at school.
So that's how I ended up at our local Target store, after the forecast of a low of 10'C that night, standing in front of the sleepwear section underneath large red sign proclaiming 20% OFF! BUY NOW AND SAVE!, desperately trying to work out whether I should stick to all cotton (non-organic of course, which required tonnes of pesticides, millions of litres of water to produce and were shipped across the oceans from China), or whether 100% synthetic polar fleece (also manufactured across the globe in China) was as bad or worse...
It's so easy sometimes to just shrug and think "this whole sustainability thing is too bloody hard!". My sister in law said something similar at the family Easter dinner when I mentioned our water conservation measures. Her reply was along the lines of "I'd conserve more water if it wasn't so much physical effort" in response to my bucketing of water from the shower to washing machine. She works night shift several times a week, and I understand her response to be honest, I think it's incredibly common even among the people who do believe the climate is changing.
I know I'm just having a bad week and I shouldn't be hard on myself. But I feel as though we have addressed, or are actively working on, so many areas of our life that are relatively easy to change, and now we need to be looking at other areas of our consumption in order to keep making positive impact on reducing our footprint. I also feel a little depressed this week about how many people are either in denial or just don't care about what in happening on our world; I feel like I need to be doing extra to try and take up some of the slack, so to speak!
Sigh... Anyway, if anyone had managed to read this far and has any useful suggestions regarding kids clothes and what you do, I'd love to hear them!