Ok, time for another hour (or less!) as part of my way to document this year.

A few years ago, I decided to cut back on spending. Part of it was out of necessity (ahem – a lot of debt) and part of it was because I changed my relationship with money. I started looking at things as whether they were worth the amount of time it took to buy them. As in, was a t-shirt worth the amount of time I had to work to pay for it? The answer was always no.

So with that in mind, I easily cut out my spending on clothing (and cookbooks). It just meant that I wasn’t going to buy things I didn’t need, but if I needed to replace something, I would.

Every few months, I would pull out all the shirts with holes and sew them up. Those were easy to do by hand. Jeans were trickier because I inevitably always made a hole in them on the inner thighs. The rest of the jeans would be fine and that drove me nuts.

Earlier this year, I looked in my closet and noticed that I was accumulating a pile of jeans with holes. So long before COVID reintroduced me to my sewing machine, I decided to take them back to my parents’ house and repair them.

I started by picking out a pair that I was never going to wear again. It was a wash that I didn’t like, they were an unflattering cut and too small. So I cut off the legs and used the denim to make patches. I sewed the patches on the inside of the jeans to reinforce all the weak spots. By doing this, I restored 7 pairs of jeans and amazingly, 11 months later, the patches are still holding up. This was my opportunity to see if I could avoid buying another pair and I haven’t bought any new jeans since.

About two months ago, I ended up purchasing some RIT dye and dying several pairs of jeans blackish. They had faded too much over time and one had a bleach stain on it so I bought some dye and dyed them blackish (the dyes never really get to a true black). Black never goes out of fashion and this was another way to extend the life of my old jeans.

Anyway, this isn’t really a post about jeans, it’s a post about modifying my priorities. It’s about making the decision that I needed to stop spending money just for the sake of owning new things and to think about what I wanted long term. Long term, I want a house and to not have to work forever out of necessity. I wasn’t going to get there if I kept spending the money so that set me on the idea to try to find ways to increase the life of what I already have. And honestly, I like the idea that I’m finding a second life for my jeans – which wouldn’t have been able to be donated due to the holes and would have otherwise ended up in landfills. So small things like this has turned me from someone who bought clothes a few times a year to someone who hardly ever buys new clothes and now gets to put that money towards my long term goal of buying a house.

These photos won’t win me any prizes in photography, but here’s what the repairs look like. The great news is that I don’t feel the patches and the jeans are extra sturdy now.

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