It’s now been nearly two weeks since we landed in Sydney. Those two weeks have been a complete whirlwind. Rob’s started a new job, we’ve moved into a flat and I start a new job tomorrow. From living on the road to where we are now has been just what we needed, however it also brings new challenges.
Most would think the biggest challenges when arriving in a new country would be getting to grips with the place, finding somewhere to live and getting a job? Surprisingly those things worked out quite well. The hardest part for me was having to buy things.
Living out of a backpack has been great, it really shows you how little you can actually live with, however arriving here with just a backpack left us lacking in things we needed. For instance, I could hardly turn up to a job interview in my Birkenstocks could I? What sort of impression would that give?!
Getting set up but wanting to do it sustainably can be quite tough. The easy option would be to just go to a mall and splash out on something cheap that ticks the box for an immediate purpose, but I don’t want to do that. I want to ensure what I buy will serve many purposes, last a long time and come from a sustainable/ethical source. I am using the buyerarchy of needs to help guide me on how to approach this challenge.
Use what I have
The temptation to go wild in the many cool shops here is real. After living in the same handful of outfits for the last 7 months it’s very tempting to just get rid and start a fresh with a brand new wardrobe. But many of the things I’ve got I still love and are in good condition. I don’t need lots of tops, trousers or shoes. The most sustainable thing to do is to not buy at all. If I don’t need it, I won’t buy it… Although those new David Bowie Vans are looking veryyyyy tempting… I don’t need them, but I love them! Maybe when I get my first pay check (first in 8 months!!!) I’ll treat myself, it’s got to be done every now and then.
Borrow, swap and thrift
The second most sustainable thing to do is to get something that is second hand. You can do this by borrowing, swapping and thrifting.
- On Friday I joined my local library where I can borrow books for free! Although I reckon that now I’ll be working I won’t be ploughing through quite as many books as I have been, but it’s still good to know when I do want a new read I can just pop to the library and get one.
- One person’s rubbish is another’s treasure. When visiting some family friends last weekend we walked away with a bag full of towels. Big up Judith!!!
- At some stage I’ll want to get myself a bike to cycle round the city. But for the time being to get from A to B when a bus or a train can’t be used I’ve been using Lime Bikes where you use an app on your phone to borrow a bike. The bikes are also partially electric so you get where you need to be sharpish.
- Fashion Revolution Week is coming up towards the end of this month. There are loads of events happening in Sydney during that week, many of them being swap shops. Swap shops are where you take something you no longer want and swap it for something that you do want, again another person’s rubbish is another’s treasure. Check out Fashion Revolution to find events like these near you.
- Sydney is full of vintage and second hand shops. So far I’ve only managed to explore a few of them in Newtown, but I have plenty saved for the future. We’ll definitely be using this method to spruce up our flat.
After months of getting my washing done in either a hostel or by a local laundrette lady you’ll probably be unsurprised to find out that some of my clothes have shrunk. Many of them that have shrunk I’ve donated to charity. But there is one dress that I bought in Sri Lanka that I’m absolutely gutted about. I don’t want to get rid of it, so I’m going to ‘make’ it into a shirt (basically chop the bottom off and tidy it up, very technical…). I’ll probably make a headband and a couple of dusters out of the rest of the material too, minimise the waste and all that jazz!
When you’ve gone through all the options above and can’t find an alternative, you sometimes have to bite the bullet and buy brand new. I had to do this for some shoes and work outfits. Luckily there are plenty of ethical brands in Sydney and I managed to find items that could be mixed and matched and of good quality so they will last and be worn for a long time.
Over the next month in the lead up to Fashion Revolution Week I’ll be posting my finds and ethical outfits to share brands and ideas on how to buy more consciously on here and instagram.
I’d love to hear any suggestions you have on buying more sustainably and any tips on what to do in Sydney. Please get in touch!
We’re loving it here so far. It’s nearing the end of Autumn and we still managed to get to the beach today for temperatures in the high 20’s and clear blue sky. Can’t knock it really can you?!
Sending lots of love back home