This week is Earth Day so of course I’m thinking green. Not only because green stands for the environment and for living things and for the movement to save the planet. On this particular Earth Day, I’m thinking green because of what else it represents–the color of money.
I’m not thinking money— to be made in environmentally conscious products or alternative energy. I’m not just thinking about the economy. And it’s not just the article I read about how our spending habits are changing maybe permanently. I’m thinking green because of what I’m doing, and what is surrounding me this year: clutter.
Cluttercasting is recycling, and could be considered the earth-friendly kind of “green.” And since I started Cluttercast January 1, I’m getting a face-to-face look at where I’ve been planting a lot of “green” over the years. And not in my garden.
In my closet. The same t-shirt in 4 colors. Two pairs of identical shoes—-just in case I wear out the first pair. (When did I last “wear out” a pair of shoes?) And since when did a $500 leather purse begin to seem like a great deal?
I remember taking my daughter shopping with me years ago and her asking me—“Mom, your closet is already filled with black jackets. How come you need another one?” I looked at her with bemusement, this child of mine who defied everything a Jewish American princess should be– with her tattered bag from Old Navy when her peers carried Prada. And her one pair of dressy shoes that were plastic because she refused to wear leather.
Ok, so maybe she had issues. So maybe I had issues. So maybe WE had issues. So maybe the issues weren’t all about money, either.
I remember complaining to friends, “She won’t let me buy her anything.” As if there was something wrong with her—and not with me. I found it far easier to understand my son and his penchant for owning a thousand pairs of sneakers.
So this article I read confirmed what we all know: change has come. Shoppers are trading down. Neiman Marcus shoppers drop down to Nordstroms; people who shop Macy’s will seek out Marshall’s, and so on. Luxury brands are suffering the most and will be slowest to recover, as people move further down the scale. The culture of consumerism could be changed for an entire generation—as it’s changing in households all over the country.
I doubt my personal penny-pinching will damage the economy any more than it already is. And considering all the stuff I’ve uncovered around here, instead of moving DOWN the fashion food chain, I should just get OFF.
I wasn’t always like this. When I was my daughter’s age, I lived in a closet to save money and everything I owned could fit into a suitcase. I didn’t care about clothes and didn’t spend any money on them.
Which is proof that our lives move in cycles, just like the economy. In a way, that’s comforting– but it’s also a little concerning. Because everything moves around in both directions. Which means, when the economy ultimately stabilizes, there will be new shoppers waiting in the wings.
And here’s the scary part. Now that she has flip-flopped, and is collecting Uggs like my son collected baseball cards—the person who takes MY place someday with a full shopping bag—-and a closet full of black jackets—–could be my daughter.
Happy Earth Day. Go green—-the other kind.