Guest Contributor: Anne Ryan (Farnesworth)
In this edition of Waste and Recycling News we welcome a guest contributor - resident Anne Ryan (Farnesworth) who got in touch to share her top tips for making the most out of old textiles.
"I've always been interested in sewing,
fashion and clothes. My Mum taught me to sew at an early age. She was also extremely thrifty. She never bought cleaning cloths - old towels and t-shirts were cut up
instead. As for me, I would quite happily buy too many clothes, not fully wear
them and then simply throw them away, or take them to the charity shops, with
no real thought as to what happened to them then.
"Over the past two
years, I have, like most of us, become
a bit more conscious about waste and realised everyday decisions can have a huge impact on the environment. As a result I decided that I wanted to start living
with a more eco-friendly intent and would make a conscious effort to start
cutting waste. I quickly realised that by reducing what I consume, I could
reduce the amount of waste I generated and reduce the amount of waste that
ended up in the bin.
Clothes: "After an initial weeding
out of clothes that no longer fitted and the dutiful trip to the charity shop,
I decided not to buy any clothes for a year. This would make me start wearing
what I already had, and only throw out things that were genuinely worn out. I
began in January 2015, and so far I have
only had a new pair of slippers, (given as a requested birthday present as my
old ones were looking seriously sad.)
Household items: "Since then my shopping trips have been seriously reduced to food trips and household items that were
really necessary. A trick my grandmother
taught me when I was young, was to send me shopping for her instead of going herself. I was presented with a list
and pretty much the correct money. That stopped her from being tempted.
Hoarding: "I have told myself that hoarding
is wasteful, which has largely been created by a just in case mentality. You
know, I'll buy it just in case I might possibly one day need it and then have
a backup, in case the first one doesn't work. One really is enough.
Perfection: "Another lesson
I have learnt is that wanting to achieve perfection is a sad excuse for purchasing
more and wasting more. I have learnt to adopt a that will do, and it will last
a bit longer, attitude instead.
The Result: "Seven months into my frugal spending year I have stepped off the consumer spending
cycle and started wasting less. I don't know how much people normally spend on
clothes, but I've saved enough money for another holiday and not put any textiles and shoes into my waste
bin that were not worn out.
started thinking out of the box, to recycle and reinvent what I already have. My first biggish project was to make
myself a new birthday dress out of a duvet cover which had never been used, and
lined it inside with a white cotton petticoat from a sheet (see photo attached).
The necklace was my mother's and is at least sixty years old, and the sandals
have now come out of the wardrobe (after ten years) and I've finally started
In the last few months I have mended clothes,
altered them, and restyled them to be a bit more modern, pinching lots of ideas
from good internet sites like Pinterest. At the moment I'm in the process of restyling my old winter
coat, by shortening it, and using the off cut to make a belt. In the pending
pile are three embroidered tablecloths which have sat in my linen cupboard for
so long that it's a wonder moths haven't got them. I intend to make blouses out
of them, thus giving them a new lease of life by consuming these items in a different
way. As for the remnants from my sewing projects, I have just discovered
Furoshiki, the Japanese art of gift wrapping using fabric. As I already have a
bag of offcuts of ribbon, lace, trimmings etc. my Christmas project will be to
use my fabric waste to produce gift wrappings with a bit of unique style, and
keep the dreaded Christmas paper pile from ending up in the dustbin.
Many thanks to Anne for sharing her story and providing tips for reducing waste around the home. Does anyone else have any top tips they want to share? Please get in touch and you could be our next guest contributor!