Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Care of Objects: Guest Post by Cake

It is tempting for me to view people who are overly concerned with keeping things clean and in good shape as being materialistic. I often see people who are meticulous about caring for their cars, or who fuss over stains on clothes as being too fussy. After all, objects are meant to be used, not preserved.

True enough, but as I was preparing some baby clothes to take to my favorite consignment shop, I started to think differently. When I keep clothes and other items that I only plan to use for a short length of time (most baby items fall into this category) clean and in good condition, I prolong their lifespan.

I can take them to a thrift store or consignment shop, and someone else can use them and maybe even pass them on one more time. Sure, I can take stained clothes to the thrift store, and they will accept them, but will they actually end up getting used by someone else if they are trashed? Most of us who purchase used items want them to be in pretty good shape. This also holds true when I pass things on to friends. I don’t want to give away stained or torn clothes. It’s insulting.

So I have started to view the act of caring for our possessions as an ecological gesture--a form of resistance to the throw-away consumer culture. As a result, I’ve been learning about stain removal and I might even get around to washing the car one of these days.

Hungry for more Cake? Check out her very toothsome blog Whistling Leaf Blower.


GreenDaddy said...

I think you make a good point, Cake. It seems like, among our friends at least, that there's a strong culture of passing on and consigning baby stuff. Sometimes I think, and I've read this on blogs, that having a baby is inherently bad for the environment. But having BabyG totally transformed the way we behave for the better. Like you pointed out, we buy better quality or used things, tak care of them, resell them, etc. Seems like babies can make our lives more disposable (like diapers, wipes, juicy boxes, happy meals) or push in the other direction.

iwanagain said...

I'm always wishing I took better care of the clothes. I hate laundry. Especially after a walk today when I noticed my 3-year-old had been crawling through wet, freshly mowed grass in her pretty pink pants.

Thanks for your comments on Grist. My next entry is about changing over my cleaning supplies to simpler products. I link to your site before the "read more" part. I hope many, many people see your site.

cake said...

all that being said, i firmly believe that kids should play freely, and get dirty, and wear out their clothes! i hate to see little children being restricted because they "aren't allowed to get their clothes dirty. but some clothes don't take much wear and tear, like infant clothes, warm sweaters in houston...those we can try to keep nice enough to pass on.

Personalized Baby Clothes said...

I too agree with the idea of passing down clothes as long as they will last. I have 3 boys (about 3 years apart each), and all three of them wore a lot of the same clothes as they grew up. I bought my clothes originally at Baby Clothes. The great thing about their clothes is that they lasted through almost 9 years of use!