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Friday, 9 August 2013

Eight months in

Well, I'm now in month eight of my swishing year.

What have I achieved?  What have I spent and how does it feel?  I thought I'd ask myself those questions.

Firstly, what have I achieved so far in my swishing year?  Well, one of the things I pledged to do was to give away to a charity shop two items from my wardrobe for every month.  I started the year picking out two things each month, but by May I decided it was time for a real wardrobe slim down, so I went through the whole lot and gave away well...  I think the list is something like this:
6 scarves, 3 belts, 3 skirts, 3 pairs of shoes, 2 dresses suitable for weddings, 2 sun dresses, 2 jumpers, 2 shirts, 1 pair of trousers, 1 hat, 1 pair of shorts.  And that's just the stuff I can remember.

My wardrobe is now organised and I can see what I've got.  Things aren't getting creased from being overcrowded.  And I've found a few old faves that were lost or forgotten.  RESULT!

Charity shop prices vary enormously, but a conservative estimate for my donations would be around £40.  RESULT!

Secondly, what about the buying?
I think I've bought more clothes than ever before!  But, I've just done a quick tot up of my spending and I've spent around £70.  This has bought me 1 skirt,  1 jacket, 1 dress and 7 new tops.  I feel as though I have a whole new wardrobe!

At my Dustbin Diet workshops I was able to make sure that I wore at least one thing each session, that I had either been given second hand by a friend or that I'd bought from a charity shop.

The shirt is second hand from a friend and the skirt was from Oxfam.

At my first session my swished outfit consisted of this quirky black and white blouse which my best friend gave me several years ago and it has become a firm favourite, teamed with a pale green long line M&S cotton cardigan/jacket bought for £9.99 (not pictured - it was hot under the lights on that stage!) and a pale green, black and cream dog-tooth checked Hobbs skirt, which was a whopping £17.99 both purchased together at Oxfam.

The skirt may well be my most expensive charity shop purchase.  It is beautifully made, I loved the style and colour and knew I'd get plenty of wear from it.  So I felt it really was money well spent.  I've worn it on both my Dustbin Diet pilot workshops,  to a waste reduction workshop / book signing at the lovely Octavia's bookshop in Cirencester, and to a Dustbin Diet workshop in a primary school.  So far I've also worn it several times to work, to meetings, out to lunch.  You may have heard this saying, that the cost of an item of clothing is its price divided by the number of times you wear it.  So, of just the times I can remember wearing it, I make that already less than two pounds a wear.  I have several more 'costly' items in my wardrobe!

But not only that, a quick look at the Oxfam website tells me that it spends '84p out of every £1 saving lives, improving lifestyles and campaigning for change'So, adding in my other Oxfam purchases this year,which include the Fat Face top (pictured below) which makes up another of my Dustbin Diet swished outfits, a short sleeved lime green Jaeger jumper and a brown tie front lace cardigan, amounting to just under £50, means that I've contributed £42 towards this work.

Fat Face cotton top purchased from Oxfam

I've made a couple of purchase from other charity shops included this fab top (below) bought from my local community shop for just 50p.

I love this Monsoon top bought for 50p from my local community shop 

I also came across, a great website that allows you to swish online, using virtual money credits. This summer my daughters and I have tried it out.  You upload photos of clothes you no longer want onto the website and the Swishing team will let you know if they'll take it. There are guidelines on the Swishing website that tell you the kind of thing they will take, but it is pretty obvious and pretty much anything of suitable quality. Your items are then 'approved' and they will give you a 'virtual' price.  If the price is right to persuade you to part with your items and enough to cover postage then you post them off.  Once they are received, you get a credit on your account and you can spend the money on something new (well, new to you!). It is a great place to hunt down something for a party or a wedding. How many of us have an outfit that we've already worn in all our social circles and so it's now redundant in the wardrobe, because we don't want to go out wearing the same thing again?  Well, the answer is to Swish it for something else!

I added three new tops to my wardrobe, all of which I love, and all for a fraction of the cost of anything similar in the shops.  I think it is a great site and I plan to have a regular browse.  I've also decided that it's a much quicker way of finding an outfit for special events.

So...what have I achieved, what have I spent and how does it feel?

I've reorganised and reinvigorated my wardrobe.
I've donated around £100 to charity - from giving and buying.
I've gained around £350 worth of new to me clothes for around £70 (plus a bit of virtual swishing money).
I've had fun with my daughters helping them to go through their clothes and helping them to choose some new stuff on - quality time with daughters - always priceless :)
And it feels so good, I'm not planning on giving up my new purchasing habits at the end of the year.  Eight months in and swishing has become a lifestyle choice I love.  Why not give it a try?