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A responsible home part 3: jeanette's clothes cycle

01 May 2016

Jeanette, Peter and their daughter, Eja, rent a home surrounded by nature in the Swedish countryside. They’re dedicated to living a responsible and healthy life at home. In previous posts, we learned her furniture and food ideas. Now she’ll share her clothing approach.

Close-up of children’s clothes in a fabric box and fabric bag
A family photo of a mother, father and daughter

For Jeanette, being responsible means saving food, energy, water, clothing and all other resources involved in life at home. She mainly buys secondhand clothing, which she started doing in the 1990s and never stopped. ‘The textile industry is the second most dirty after the oil industry. We can make a huge change by shifting our fashion behaviours and reducing what we buy.’ Check out how she makes the most of her family’s clothing.

A closet showing clothes on hangers to air them out
A woman looking through clothes in a closet

JEANETTE AIRS OUT CLOTHES instead of washing them all the time. The closet next to her bedroom has crisp fall and winter air, so she hangs clothes there. Otherwise, she hangs outdoors when the weather’s good. ‘We save about a third of our clothes from the wash and do a maximum of two loads a week—to wash by colour not because the machine’s too full.’ 

“I remember Peter being very impressed with me not spending all my money on clothes, yet I’m always dressed in an interesting way.” 
A wall showing clothes storage for children with hanging clothes and fabric boxes
A stack of labelled plastic boxes with different sized clothes inside

EJA INHERITS LOTS OF CLOTHES FROM FAMILY AND FRIENDS. Jeanette sorts the clothes according to size and season and puts everything in labelled boxes. When Eja grows into a new size, Jeanette pulls out the right box from the closet and Eja puts her too-small clothes in a fabric bag. Then the outgrown clothes go on to younger cousins, friends or donations. ‘If Eja gets too big for clothing she really loves, I try make it into something else like furniture for her dollhouse.’

 A close-up of stacks of clothes in a fabric box

SEEING WHAT CLOTHES THEY HAVE is important to Jeanette and her family, so they buy only what they absolutely need. That’s why Jeanette uses lots of labels and keeps their clothes in open storage like SKUBB boxes. There aren’t any clothes hidden away in drawers.  If they do need something, then it’s off to the secondhand shops. ‘It’s like being on a hunt. It’s so much fun to find the right things.’ 

empty space
Things we’ve learnt
Love your clothes
Take care of what you own by washing only when you need to and air drying when possible. Save energy when you wash by using cold water. 
Limit your purchases 
Before you buy a piece of clothing, ask yourself if you really need it. Then start a one-in-one-out policy at home. If you buy something new, donate something you have and don’t wear anymore. 
Swap your stuff
Tired of your clothes? Host a swap party for friends, family or neighbours. Have everyone bring one or two pieces of clothing to swap. Everyone leaves with something that’s ‘new’ to them! 

Ready for more ideas to bring home? Check back in an upcoming post for Jeanette’s quick and easy ideas you wouldn’t expect.

Made by

Copywriter: Marissa Frayer
Photographer: Johan Månsson, Sandra Werud
Editor: Linda Harkell