An End to Only Wearing Garbage

On February 1st of 2008 I pledged to only wear clothing that came from the trash. Most of my clothes have come from a single dumpster that is located behind a thrift store.  A few have come from curbside “recycling” and a few I have found along the road while walking. The only things I wore that were not from the trash were underwear, socks and shoes. I am not completely opposed to wearing them from the trash, it is just difficult to find what you need in the right size.  Several pairs of socks, several bras and a pair of slippers did find their way to me. The rest I bought new or already had. Shoes generally come from thrift stores except for good walking shoes.

I have been very faithful to the challenge. The only times that I have worn items not from the trash have been minimal. I have a goretex raincoat that is 14 years old that I wore a couple times since I did not locate a dumpster equivalent. I wore a long sleeved shirt of a friends because I was cold and lazy. After much haranguing, I went to my car and got my own. The only other thing I can think of is wearing hats I previously owned. I found a few baseball caps that were acceptable enough to wear, but I didn’t stick to just trash ones.

So here is my confession of sorts. I recently forgot part of my challenge. I vowed to buy no clothing for myself for the entire year. So I am confessing that I have bought three articles of clothing, but with the honest intention of not wearing them until after Feb 1st. One blouse I bought at a garage sale, a T shirt and a Patagonia synchilla pullover were purchased at my local Salvation army. I did not buy anything new! This has really been remarkable since in a typical year I would probably buy 3-6 items a month at thrift stores and atleast one new item. Whether I needed them or not! I also did not accept any clothing and was not given any clothing as gifts from anyone.

I really had a fun time with this challenge. Had I not had a source of abundant castoffs, it would not have been as easy or as fun. I had lots of people comment on how nicely I dressed. I did make a point to dress nicely when I could. I intend on keeping many of the “new” clothes I acquired over the past year. Now my BIG problem is figuring out what I will keep from the old wardrobe and what I will keep from the “new” one. I now have so many more clothes than I need and it will be hard to get rid of things.

I definitely am done wearing ONLY garbage, but I will continue to wear garbage whenever I like.



So far no difficulties in finding enough clothing to wear. I have two pair of identical jeans that are definitely from the dumpster but are pre-2008. I have not found any jeans this year yet that fit. It may take me quite awhile to find a wardrobe of clothes that I really love. Meanwhile I will wear clothes that fit but may not be my style.

img_0215.jpgThese are Myfavoritedumpsters

I went to myfavoritdumpster today to fill out my wardrobe. When I first arrived there were four people already there digging through the contents. One woman was already in the bin searching through the entire contents. She had come on a bicycle and had brought a boom box. It was nice to have company and dive accompanied by music. I climbed into the dumpster that was not occupied and started selecting choice bits. I found tights, a leotard and a pair of ballet slippers all in good condition. Sadly they were too small for my girl, but I know plenty of others. There was a lot of kids clothes and several nice little girl dresses, all too small again for mine.

Those four left and I took my opportunity to snap a picture. I returned to the second dumpster to peruse it’s contents when and a couple showed up who I had seen before, but not in some time. Another couple showed up and the man climbed into the bin and I couldn’t get too much more stuff standing by the side, so I climbed in too. Everyone was really friendly asking sizes and did you like this piece or that one. The second couple were college students looking for really cool clothing. They didn’t take much and they didn’t stay long. Another woman showed up that knew the couple that was still there. I asked if they knew of any other dumpsters that were this good. They didn’t confess to knowing of any. The woman who had just shown up showed me her “tool” for effective extraction of select goods. My husband tells me it is called a gaff. (and not the kind cross-dressers wear). It is a tool that fishermen use to hook the big fish. She said it came in really handy.

Before I knew it I had been there almost an hour and a half, but I really scored a ton of  usable clothing. I can’t wait to sort through it and wash it and find out what all I got. What I don’t keep for myself I give to friends or donate. I have a large box of clothing piling up with just that in mind.

img_0219.jpgMy trunk full of boxes and bags of thrift store rejects.

The Challenge Starts Today!


Ready or not, my challenge to only wear clothing I find in a dumpster, starts today. I guess I am ready. I can manage with what I have so far. I won’t make it on the best dressed list and I even think I won’t make it on the worst dressed list. The funny thing is that the clothes I find are for the most part, not ones I would buy. Even if they were 25cents at a garage sale. That isn’t because they aren’t nice enough. In some cases it is because they are too nice, too preppy, too dressy. I am a very plain girl and mostly I wear jeans and t-shirts. Sadly I had to pack away all my tie dye shirts, probably a dozen of them, not to be worn for a year.

boxes of clothes not to wear for a yearBoxes of clothing to pack away for the year)

I made another trip to myfavoritedumpster yesterday with my kids. They really love the adventure. I brought home a box full of clothes. I found a really nice looking coat that is grey/silver PVC on the outside and fleece and nylon on the inside. When I was sorting clothes last night for washing, I read the care label for the coat. It said wipe with damp sponge. WHAT? What kind of care is that? Oh and it also said don’t dry clean. Well I would not have done that anyway, but what kind of real option do you have for washing this thing? I figure I will give it a spin in my front loader all by itself and see what happens. Except for ruining my washer what is the worst that could happen?

coatclotheslineThe coat, and washed dumpster clothes)

So my “new” wardrobe is made of of quite a few long sleeved button up shirts. I have maybe six sweaters, two pair jeans, tan pants, black dressy slinky pants(in photo on previous post) and two pair crop pants. I have a few pair of shorts that I don’t need yet, and I have about three night gowns and a PJ set(long pants and a tank). I also found a thick terry cloth bathrobe. So I do have quite a lot compared to some people, but not anywhere near as much as I had… say… a month ago. 

closetfolded clotheshanging and folded clothes in my “new wardrobe”)

I want this blog to be both interesting and informing. If you have any questions or want to see more photos of specific things, let me know. If you have any ideas for things you want me to post about, also let me know. I don’t have a shortage of ideas yet, but want to post about what people want to read. Peace