Win a copy of Keeping Bees with a Smile this week in the Honey Bees forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Mike Haasl
  • Anne Miller
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Pearl Sutton
  • paul wheaton
  • r ranson
stewards:
  • James Freyr
  • Devaka Cooray
  • Jocelyn Campbell
master gardeners:
  • Steve Thorn
gardeners:
  • Ash Jackson
  • thomas rubino
  • Jay Angler

This isn't what I want, but I can't FIND what I want!

 
Posts: 119
Location: New England
29
cat monies home care books cooking writing wood heat ungarbage
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I was looking for a discussion of how to determine a clothing "capsule" or the process for looking at a specific piece of your life to reduce the waste, have less stuff to store, etc.

I have Paul's book. I am NOT talking about a wholesale embrace of permaculture here, but a step in perhaps that direction?

I guess I will have to write one. I have no problem with that except that i have 2 book projects on the fire right now, one of them on deadline, so "right now" isn't possible.

This site is set up to help with a specific set of goals in mind and I like that -- as long as you're completely into accomplishing those goals. The piece I keep coming back it is that I'm not. It's likely that no matter how invested I get, my husband won't be -- he hates joining things.

What I'm looking for is something for those of us who haven't "drunk the coolaid" about doing some of the things, instead of jumping into the lifestyle.

So, what started this frustration for me was the sock giveaway. Great. NZ wool socks. How do I determine if getting them to me in the US is better carbon wise than buying Washable wool? How do I determine that if they last 5 years that offsets the carbpn to get them to me? Where do I find those discussions?

How do I determine what my clothing capsule should be? How many is enough and how do you decide? It's great if you've drunk the coolaind and determine never to buy anything new again. But what if you haven't? Are there things you'll buy new if you have to?

Usually, durable goods will last, supplies don't. So how do you determine which goods to buy? Which supplies to use?

So, I'm looking for a formula, a yardstick, a guideline. If you want to reduce your consumption and waste what do you use as a goal? How do you determine if you hold off to buy that used, holey wool blanket at the thrift shop that smells like cat urine instead of buying a new down comforter at Walmart? Or not? Is it always used is better? Is it always money? Is it always anti-big business? How do you make those determinations?

Back to clothing: i have found discussions about having a 10 piece (outer) wardrobe. Great. But the woman who wrote the book I read used the reduction in her clothing quantity to justify buying couture clothes, and new. Which seems insane to me. After I read her book I determined to try and live with a 20 piece wardrobe, mostly used as we live in a climate with winter and she lives in SoCal. And I can do that, sort of.

But i keep coming back to this. i have enough dinner plates for 2 of us to have 2 meals before there aren't any clean. I reduced what I had to that arbitrarily. I don't know where the line is between storing enough but not too much and having to wash dishes more often. HOW DO  YOU DECIDE???

 
pollinator
Posts: 188
Location: Outside Detroit, MI
28
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So.... lot going on here in your post.

The gist is we are trying to come up with a formula to help make wise and ethical decisions in purchases and item accumulation.

First off... i wouldn't try to be too rigid or you may get fatigue or down right frozen in analyzing and second guessing your decisions.

Money is a great measuring tool to use... but of course can be misleading at times.  if you buy a cheap organic item that is shipped over from the other side of the world... did you do the world any good?  Maybe.. maybe not.  if your purchase helps deter the 'grower' and 'producer' from using harmful chemicals in their own 'backyard'... then that is a win.  Even though the fuel to get the item to your 'doorstep' may be significant. :-/

if a used wool item smells like cat urine.... it probably isn't a good buy no matter how cheap it is.  Even if you buy it you will either spend 'way too much time' cleaning it.  Or B: use it but regret it and maybe even turn off your spouse to buying used items.

There is not a single tool that would allow you to determine the full 'ecological and social cost' of an item.  New would be hard enough. You would have to know every step and distance it has covered.  What fuel was used in each step.  What the fuel efficiency of the transportation method was.  How much electricity and heat was used to light and heat the warehouses it was stored in; and the store it was sold in.  How much fuel was used to transport the workers to and from.  And then what percentage of that fuel and electricity can be designated for that single item.

The numbers would be infinite.  infinitely small and infinitely complex.

So what to do?
Start small. Start with your wallet(what you can afford. majing wise choices that are easy on the budget).
And do things that improve your life While doing as little harm to the environment as possible.

Probably the best of these is gardening or at least growing herbs.  Use kitchen waste(scraps/coffee grounds/rinse from a milk jug) as compost and soil-life food.  And feed your body with healthy nutrient dense food.  improve your soil in your own backyard or community garden.  Grow flowers that are beneficial to bees and other pollinators.

And for exercise: pick up trash in your community or neighborhood.  

These are a few simple things that can truly impact your own health as well as the health of your local environment!

if you over-complicate the 'doing good' attempts in your life.... there is the risk that you will just giveup... deciding it is just too hard.  That wouldn't be good at all.

(( What do you mean by "capsule"?  Have you read that word used in a certain way?  Your use of capsule is new/confusing to me.  Thanks!))

Does anyone know of websites or tools that have done some calculations and estimates to determine general numbers for the consumption and impact that items have had on the environment?  Has anyone fact checked their numbers to provide some insight to whether those numbers are exaggerated or suppressed?
i would love to see the estimate of how much fossil fuels a single pair of wool gloves would consume to be shipped from Asia to 'Midwest USA'.   i know it would be very small. if shipped by cargo ship... one item(less than 500 grams) in one shipping container on a ship that hauls hundreds or thousands of shipping containers.  May be calculated to consume .0000001 liter of diesel.  And if that item wasn't on that ship.... the ship that would still make its voyage of cargo anyway... then not shipping them would not change the fuel usage in any measurable way at all.  The only way "not shipping one item" would help the environment is if 1 million people also didn't have 1 item shipped... to the extent that 'one less cargo ship voyage' was required... and therefore an entire voyage worth of fuel was not burned/consumed.

Yes... we should do all we can... and yes... we can overthink it and harm ourselves to the point that we do nothing.  

So.  Start where you are and do what you can.
Peace
 
pollinator
Posts: 1790
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
718
forest garden rabbit tiny house books solar woodworking
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Aloha, Jen. Let it be known that I hadn't "drunk the cool aid" back in 2001 when I started my journey. And here I sit many years later still with that full glass sitting there in full view. But that doesn't mean that I haven't taken little steps here and there in that direction. I'm an example of living a lifestyle that is a hybrid mishmash, and I'm quite happy doing it. I find it very easy and fitting. When it comes to permaculture (or anything else) I pick what works for me and go on from there. I guess what I'm saying is that you don't have to feel that being involved in any particular lifestyle is an all or nothing proposition, especially when it comes to permaculture.

One other note about permies.com, you will find that many of the active folks in the forums are not pure permaculturists either. Some aren't even slightly close. But they have great information to share and help answer questions. So you're welcome to join in with no fear of being ridiculed.

If you have questions and can't find an active discussion, try one of two things. Use the search feature to see it there's an older discussion somewhere. And two, start a new topic and ask your question. It's an easy way to get a discussion going.

As for your quandary of how to make decisions, personally I believe it's up to the individual. I find that I simply make the best decision at the time and go with it. I stay flexible and am willing to change my mind or modify my decisions. In my life, very few things are cut in stone. I'm changing all the time, from year to year. I'm surely not the same person I was 10 years ago, or 5, or even 1. Plus I don't stress myself out by having to make the perfect decision or choice. I find that seldom is there the perfect, best, ultimate, or final choice. I just go with what seems to work for me at that time.
 
Jennie Little
Posts: 119
Location: New England
29
cat monies home care books cooking writing wood heat ungarbage
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
That's sensible. It's a useful point. What I'm thinking is that the manufacturing side is almost unknowable. Nike just isn't going to tell you all the gallons of fuel used to get those shoes made and shipped to you.

I do grow some food, not enough to feed us, but some. We have for years belonged to a CSA -- they grow veggies, fruit, and herbs and so I grow what they don't or I want more of. I already spend the $/fuel to get the farm. The farm runs June - December, I try and put aside enough veggies/herbs/fruit to feed us through winter/early spring.

This year I joined a second CSA, closer, which starts in 2 weeks, mostly greens this time. More food, less driving, I reduced the other CSA, less cost and driving overall and fresh organic food for 7.5 months instead of 6. I am really happy about that.

Growing food here is iffy. We have a lot ringed with trees, downhill going north. There's a reliable 90 day season, that's it. It's hard to raise food in that amount of time. There's also a septic system under my garden and the other side has a vernal pond (protected) and stone wall (also protected) in it. Not much room or sunlight. I tend to raise beans and greens, because I can. Forget winter squash, corn, large tomatoes from seed (or medium ones for that matter), etc. Even though I plan to put in swales and hugelculture this year, I don't expect it to significantly increase what I can raise. Even if I manage to get around the 3' of sand, there's not much light and that's a show stopper. I do plan to plant more this year, it rarely works, but I keep trying.

Removing the trees is something I just don't have the budget for and 1/2 of them aren't ours, they belong to the neighbors....

So, I think I'm doing/planning to do what I can to reduce our food footprint and increase our nutrition, not to mention helping our budget.

We just bought a minisplit. We had been heating with wood (Forget a rocket stove, my husband won't even look at information about it.) with a soapstone-lined Vermont Casting stove. When we got the minisplit, we deliberately designed it so we can at some future date add solar panels to power it. The minisplit so far cost more than heating with wood and less than our old propane furnace to operate. The hulk of the propane furnace was removed and with some luck and work I hope to turn that space into a root cellar....

A "capsule" wardrobe is what minimalists call a no frills wardrobe. A uniform if you will.

 
pollinator
Posts: 11730
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
970
cat forest garden fish trees chicken fiber arts wood heat greening the desert
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Jennie Little wrote:HOW DO  YOU DECIDE???



I decide based on discomfort level.  I reduce just until I get uncomfortable (anxious) and then I stop.  Later I may reduce some more until discomfort sets in.  This way it's not too painful a process, but a gradual one.  

I learned the gradual approach while cleaning my dad's house when I started helping him with his Alzheimer's.  I am his primary caregiver.  I've gradually reduced the stuff in his house to a level which is safe and practical but still retains enough familiarity for his comfort.  Even though I've gotten rid of tons of stuff (possibly literally) he frequently remarks how comfortable and safe he feels in these familiar surroundings.
 
master steward
Posts: 3176
Location: USDA Zone 8a
883
dog hunting food preservation cooking bee greening the desert
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Like Tyler, I base my wardrobe on comfort.  If I had a job it would still be comfort.  I have a brand of shoes that I liked.  I only bought that brand until they quit making them in Italy.  Same with clothing.  I found a brand of clothes that I like the way they fit and were comfortable while looking professional.

I have not bought any clothes for at least ten years. I am only referring to coats, slacks, skirts and tops. The other stuff wears out because it is cheaply made and has to be replaced.

There used to be guidelines for professional clothing that I have not seen in years.  Like color choices and style.  Something like "Dress for Success".
 
pollinator
Posts: 931
Location: Denmark 57N
233
fungi foraging trees cooking food preservation
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Jennie Little wrote:

But i keep coming back to this. i have enough dinner plates for 2 of us to have 2 meals before there aren't any clean. I reduced what I had to that arbitrarily. I don't know where the line is between storing enough but not too much and having to wash dishes more often. HOW DO  YOU DECIDE???



How do you manage this?! We have 7 "kitchen" plates which are the ones the two of us use all the time, sometimes one will be in the fridge with leftovers and normally some are sitting in the dishwasher waiting for it to be full. BUT.. we have a set of 14 of everything (right down to ashtrays) which are used when guests come. to my mind getting rid of them would create more usage of resources as we would need to either borrow (travel time/fuel costs) or buy disposable ones any time more than 4 people visited.

As to clothes, well we have probably 2 good outfits each, I have a couple of dresses I have had 15 years other than that we have a lot of work clothes, complete with holes paint and unidentifiable stains!
 
master steward & author
Posts: 19306
Location: Left Coast Canada
5118
books chicken cooking fiber arts sheep writing
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I don't understand "drunk the coolaid", but from the original post, I'm getting the impression we're looking for a place in between full-on permaculture and full-on consumer lifestyle.  

I don't call myself or what I do permaculture.  I am nowhere near there.  If we look at the eco-scale, I oscillate between 2 and 4 - some days are better than others.  I doubt I'll ever get beyond 4 without external pressure.  But I'm okay with that because we each have our own individual path and if there is one thing I understand about permaculture (and possibly the only thing I understand), is that each situation is different, each individual is different, each location is different and in order for permaculture to work, it needs to be adjusted to fit the local conditions.

I'm also a huge advocate of that in-between place.  Instead of saying "this is best" or "do it this way", I would rather have people asking questions and thinking about the decisions they make.  Since textiles is sort of my thing, I'll show an example of my decision-making process.  


Last fall I had a fall.  It was a massively hard fall into a rather squish and excessively deep pile of liquid manure ending with a trip to the doctor, bandages, and a beautiful wool coat completely covered with shit.  An attempt to wash the coat at home (because I don't like the smell of drycleaning) ended with disaster.  Winter was here and I need a new coat.

The number one decision when buying clothes is my hate of shopping.  I HATE SHOPPING so much that I wrote that in capital letters.  Shopping for clothing is the worst of all.  I want to buy something that lasts as long as possible and I expect a coat to last at least 5 to 10 years.  (this also happens to be a very eco-way to look at buying clothing, but that's purely secondary)

If the coat is going to look good in 10 years, it means I need a classic style.

Since I hate shopping so much, and a good quality coat is pricy, I'm only buying one coat.

In our winters, wool is about the only material that is good from September through April.  The structure of wool means it can handle really cold weather and warm, wet stuff.  

Next comes searching for a coat.  I couldn't find anything that was high quality, wool, my size, and classic looking for under $600.  That's crazy.  After a while, I found one that was $300 but I knew a bit of where the cloth and manufacturing happened, so I didn't really want to give money to this company.  Also, they had really grumpy customer service and terrible shipping. It is unlikely I would actually receive what I bought.  Keep looking.

In the end, I found a beautiful coat that was on sale for $100-ish.  It came all the way from the middle east and is made-on-demand so there is less waste.  Sure it was further to ship the package, but I figured the reputation of the company and how they treat their employees, that it was wool and not synthetic, and that it was made on-demand easily balanced out the long distance.  There's nothing local like it.  AND, it was within my budget.  It's no point being the most eco-fabric in the world if no one can afford it.


There's always some sort of give and take in this kind of decision.  But thinking about the pros and cons before spending money are the things that matter most to me.  

About the same time, a friend of mine bought new coats for the family and bought synthetic.  He was worried I would be upset, but it's not the synthetic vs natural for me.  It's fitting the choices to the individual.  He really thought about his choice of coats and for the lifestyle they lead, they need to wash their coats frequently and the fabric he chose was the best for his personal situation.  He would have liked to have wool and would have willingly spent ten times as much to buy wool coats for the family, but there isn't a current product for sale that meets his needs.  Instead, he chooses the product that would last the longest and avoid unnecessary waste.  



I would be fine with buying socks from NZ if the socks were high enough quality and made with NZ grown wool - they have some of the best farming practices in the world for raising sheep which produces the best quality wool in the world at this time in history.  If the local industry could produce as high a quality item for the same price, then I would put my money into my local fibreshed.    But until that time comes, I would rather support someone in the world who is doing things right, no matter where they are, than buy synthetic socks from Box-Mart
 
gardener
Posts: 3050
Location: Central Texas zone 8a
678
cattle chicken bee sheep
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My main focus seems to be single use plastics. Grocery bags, buying the bulk tomato vs the lovely 4 pack with stems that is in a plastic container, switching to a flow thru coffe maker vs k-cups, filling a yeti with cold water in the morning vs stopping and buying a bottled water or soda. Visualize a pile of those items after a year, maybe add in coffee cups for those that buy it like that. Its a very huge pile for 1 person.

With items that have longevity, quality might make more of an impact than price or country of origin. I remember our Governor, maybe 20 years ago, say " it is cheaper to ship a pair of jeans from Japan to Houston than to ship that pair from Houston to Lubbock." That stuck in my head and tells of the efficiencies in cargo transport.
 
pollinator
Posts: 223
Location: New Zealand
43
hugelkultur purity forest garden books cooking woodworking
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I agree with overdoing it causing fatigue and reversion to old habits.
Start small and do what you and your partner are comfortable with.
Run your own race and ignore the people who run you down for not doing enough. The internet is full of opinions which often aren't helpful or kind.

Every time I move I have a cleanse of stuff.

I'm also a big fan of buy it for life.
So I save up and buy quality products which aren't necessarily new but they should last a long long time.
Hopefully reducing shipping and packaging costs.

 
pollinator
Posts: 625
98
goat cat dog chicken composting toilet cooking food preservation pig solar wood heat homestead
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The important thing is what is right for you.  Why not take what works for you and leave the rest for later ...or not at all?
 
Jennie Little
Posts: 119
Location: New England
29
cat monies home care books cooking writing wood heat ungarbage
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
From writing the 2 posts here and the replies, I think I have a partial answer! That partial answer is figuring out "What is my ultimate goal?" and "What goal is the most important to me?"

It's like my dishes. We have 4 dinner plates yes, but we also have 4 salad plates and about about 10 small plates and other bowls. I asked myself, "What is my ultimate goal?" My answer was to run the dishwasher once daily. Also, the dishes have to fit on the bottom shelf of the cabinet. btw, my dishes are dinerware, so they don't break easily. They're heavy, but rolled rim diner/commercial china can be used for a long, long time. I bought them for years as I found them in thrift shops, etc.

I'm fine with the cabinet being empty of dishes after dinner, but I don't want to have to wash dishes to eat dinner. More dishes than this would mean there were too many to store on the bottom cabinet shelf or wash in the dishwasher in one load. I kept whittling the quantity down until I got here.

We work and live here; we're home all day. And we are pretty much hermits, in that we have few visitors.

My only real question now is: Do I "need" extras for future use? And so far, the answer, at least with the dishes, is no.

So... this worked.

I wonder why this seems so much harder to do for clothing, cat litter, books, etc. Supplies, like cat litter, it's the "you'll run out and we'll use this" sometime syndrome. There are cutoffs, but they aren't as clear cut as the capacity of the dishwasher or cabinet. You also don't use all them all at once, like you do with a dish.

So, hm. What I'm discovering here is that in order to make these kinds of choices, I need to know a few things: How often will I use this? How often do I want to use it before I have to clean it (if it's a durable piece) or replace it (if it's a supply)? What is my capacity for storing the item(s)? Do I need backups?

More to think about -- thanks!
 
Skandi Rogers
pollinator
Posts: 931
Location: Denmark 57N
233
fungi foraging trees cooking food preservation
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Jennie Little wrote:

I wonder why this seems so much harder to do for clothing, cat litter, books, etc. Supplies, like cat litter, it's the "you'll run out and we'll use this" sometime syndrome. There are cutoffs, but they aren't as clear cut as the capacity of the dishwasher or cabinet. You also don't use all them all at once, like you do with a dish.



Because if you have space things like cat litter and books don't matter. If you think of it the same way as you think of your dishes, "Oh this cat litter has to fit into X cupboard" then it becomes easy, there's a limit. or I have 2 bookshelves, after that no more books before getting rid of some. You only need to cut down if you don't have space and find yourself moving said bags of cat litter out of your way 10 times a day to get to something else.
 
pollinator
Posts: 135
Location: Hamburg, Germany
20
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Skandi Rogers wrote:

Jennie Little wrote:

I wonder why this seems so much harder to do for clothing, cat litter, books, etc. Supplies, like cat litter, it's the "you'll run out and we'll use this" sometime syndrome. There are cutoffs, but they aren't as clear cut as the capacity of the dishwasher or cabinet. You also don't use all them all at once, like you do with a dish.



Because if you have space things like cat litter and books don't matter. If you think of it the same way as you think of your dishes, "Oh this cat litter has to fit into X cupboard" then it becomes easy, there's a limit. or I have 2 bookshelves, after that no more books before getting rid of some. You only need to cut down if you don't have space and find yourself moving said bags of cat litter out of your way 10 times a day to get to something else.



I totally agree with Skandi.  I am reposting advice I gave recently in a... veeeeery different forum:

I read a lot of decluttering books. Sometimes they even help! I found this book interesting: Decluttering at the Speed of Life: Winning Your Never-Ending Battle with Stuff by Dana K. White.  The advice below comes from her, and I find it really... soothing.

You might find it helpful to say, "I want to dedicate this shelf/closet/room to X" and then, when it's full, no more X! If you really want a new X, one has to go. And, key point: Letting an X go doesn't mean you don't like/love it, it just means you like it less than all the others.

So I find it useful in 2 ways.
First, I don't feel like the X are out of control. I've said "I think this is a reasonable amount of storage space for item X". I don't find X in weird locations all over the place, reminding me that I have way too many X. And I can find everything in one place!
Second, it removes a lot of the emotions around it. It's not a bad X, I don't hate it, I just... love everything else more! I have so many cool X! Yay!

But I think it's useful to say, "self, how much kitty litter is a good idea to have in the house, and where should it live?"  My normal answer is "1 bag semi-filled next to the litter box and 1 in (other specific space) as backup in case I forget to buy a replacement in time, but usually I'm just replacing the one by the box".  With possibly having to do an in-house quarantine, it's "1 bag semi-filled next to the litter box, 1 in (other specific space) as backup, and 5 or 6 in special prep-y place that we'll drain down instead of buying replacements".

What's your answer to, "self, how much kitty litter is a good idea to have in the house, and where should it live?"
 
gardener
Posts: 1303
Location: South of Capricorn
446
dog rabbit urban cooking writing homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jennie, two ideas come to mind:
1- it is always up to you. Your life is different from every other person's, and no "guru" can understand it or mandate anything. What is important to you deserves attention. So don't be afraid to follow a good example "except for XX". It works for you. And only you know that. I joyfully cook from scratch, except for those occasions when I don't feel like it and then I don't. And the world, amazingly, keeps on spinning.
2- When you make some of these decisions, don't be afraid to have the decision be a process. You may go ahead and buy that synthetic blanket and then decide later that you will only buy natural fibers. Don't beat yourself up about it, just move on. There are no sustainability or permies police keeping score. These questions are SO complex between production of raw materials, amount of fuel in transport, gick produced during processing, fair labor, etc etc that I don't think it's ever really clear whether something is "good" or "bad" and there are almost always exceptions (okay, perhaps except for buying Bad Farming Pesticide Gick that really doesn't have any redeeming qualities whatsoever). Don't throw out the good in the pursuit of the perfect, and keep in mind you will keep learning and maybe even change your mind about what things are important to you.
 
Morfydd St. Clair
pollinator
Posts: 135
Location: Hamburg, Germany
20
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm breaking this into a separate post because it's more to your original question, about how do you make these decisions.

First, the most earth-friendly option would be to wear what you have, right?  No miles, no petroleum input*, etc.  You bought these clothes because you liked them.  So unless they are really no longer suitable (weight change, falling apart, sudden wool allergy) keep what you're wearing and a spare for slack** and relax.

Then you have the calm space to think about what you're looking for.  What's the most important to you?  Transit miles?  Carbon impact?  Worker conditions?  Animal ethics?  Cost?  Function?  Beauty?  Make spreadsheets if they amuse you, mind-map, rant to your furry friends, just breathe and know that you have the luxury of choosing within your (chosen and external) limits.

I'd love to talk capsule wardrobes with you if you want!  I love playing with the idea.  I also fail a lot at execution, but it's fun.

* aside from drycleaning, which a) try handwashing and then b) sure, get rid of if you want to

** If you have 1 coat and it's destroyed, you may not have time to find the perfect new one.  Now, you may decide to: buy a cheap used one that will go back (cue:  it's the CIRcle of life) when you find a better one, pile on sweaters, wrap a blanket around you and call it a trendy poncho, never leave the house again... to mitigate , but it might be easier to have one in reserve.  It could live in separate storage and not be in your way, as long as you remember it's there.
 
Jennie Little
Posts: 119
Location: New England
29
cat monies home care books cooking writing wood heat ungarbage
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I did start a spreadsheet. Discovered a few things in the process. I have these categories: 1-storage limit?, 2-used all at once?, 3-perishable?, 4-usual lifecycle?, 5-expensive? 6-repairable?

1. EVERYTHING has a storage limit for us.
2. Supplies are not used all at once. Everything else can be or is.
3. Anything perishable is probably a supply of some sort (foods, etc.)
4. Life cycles start at 3 days and go up to an unknown time.
5. Almost anything can be expensive.
5. Supplies are not repairable.

So, conclusions? Space and storage limitations are important for me, and because I see this as a universal, that's where I should start. Otherwise, I learned from this is that I need to treat supplies differently from durable goods!
 
gardener
Posts: 1134
Location: Longbranch, WA
185
goat tiny house rabbit wofati chicken solar
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

So, hm. What I'm discovering here is that in order to make these kinds of choices, I need to know a few things: How often will I use this? How often do I want to use it before I have to clean it (if it's a durable piece) or replace it (if it's a supply)? What is my capacity for storing the item(s)? Do I need backups?


That is permaculture. Permaculture is a design science. Based on careful observation you design your life habitat to minimize harm and wast and maximize health and productivity for as many as possible.  
A rocket mass heater in a tepee is not an adequate design for most couples but a McMansion for 2 people is not a design that takes into consideration the whole of mankind.
 
Jennie Little
Posts: 119
Location: New England
29
cat monies home care books cooking writing wood heat ungarbage
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I ended up making spreadsheets and writing it out.

I determined these things:

1) Space, for us, is always the largest determinate. Space can be allocated based on availability or storage requirements. (Either the closet is so large or the bag of grass seed is so big.)

2) Supplies should be handled differently than durable goods, as they are "used up" and usually more environmentally sensitive. (A shirt is a shirt if you store it in an unheated outbuilding, but food stored there in the same box could be a disaster, for example.)

3) Again, for us, what I want in terms of supplies is 100% more than I'm using, right now. That is, I want enough to use and have another portion back.

 
C. E. Rice
pollinator
Posts: 188
Location: Outside Detroit, MI
28
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Jennie Little wrote:I ended up making spreadsheets and writing it out.

I determined these things:

1) Space, for us, is always the largest determinate. Space can be allocated based on availability or storage requirements. (Either the closet is so large or the bag of grass seed is so big.)

2) Supplies should be handled differently than durable goods, as they are "used up" and usually more environmentally sensitive. (A shirt is a shirt if you store it in an unheated outbuilding, but food stored there in the same box could be a disaster, for example.)

3) Again, for us, what I want in terms of supplies is 100% more than I'm using, right now. That is, I want enough to use and have another portion back.



Very cool!  and your points make sense.  Hope they have helped you to decide how to decide how to move forward.  :-D
Also hope you are handling any restrictions because of COVid-19 and that all things are as well as can be expected in your neck of the woods!   Peace
 
Jennie Little
Posts: 119
Location: New England
29
cat monies home care books cooking writing wood heat ungarbage
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Actually, determining those 3 things fixed it. I figured out enough -- a rule of thumb which worked --  so this became a nonissue. And I could NOT have done it without the comments and suggestions I got here. THANK YOU!

I have had issues like this for years. It comes from having been raised in an era when women were supposed to know stuff I didn't, as I was raised by my Dad. I was a lousy boy, because I wasn't, but I wasn't much better as a girl in the strongly defined sexual roles of the 50s-70s. Anyway, I missed the classes or the gene or something or maybe it was nagging? I don't know. Style, fashion, hair setting and housewifery were all magic to me for decades. I gave up trying to fit anyone else's idea of fashion a long time ago. But the housewifery issues persist. I just was never taught this stuff and although I can research it, until I do something like the focused spreadsheet this discussion generated, I flounder around for a long time.

The design aspect of permaculture is probably my biggest attraction to it. I was raised by an engineer and married one. So my natural inclination when presented with a recurring problem is to see if there's someone who has an answer I missed. Which is what this thread was all about.

I admit it was an emotional thread to start with. I was throughly vexed with not being able to find an answer, knowing where to look, or even what to look for. Throughly frustrated!

Thank you for the help.

J

 
There's a city wide manhunt for this tiny ad:
WORK/TRADE OPPORTUNITY IN THE BEAUTIFUL SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS OF CALIFORNIA
https://permies.com/t/119378/WORK-TRADE-OPPORTUNITY-BEAUTIFUL-SANTA
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic