How to Clothe Myself and My Babe After Bed Bug Scare

Since retiring from the world of smart suits and smart salaries, almost two years back, I have been extremely reluctant to purchase new clothing for myself or for Josh (he doesn’t care about brands yet!). Indeed, the bulk of our clothing has been second-hand, mostly from the Goodwill and second-hand kid stores. I get the sense that my husband has quietly resigned himself to my need to purchase everything second-hand. I even get Josh’s books from the Goodwill. Once home, they are easily polished up with a bit of environmentally friendly spray cleaner and a recycled rag. After a summer in which 9-12 month old Josh wore a rotation of about 5-6 different second-hand onesies, I noted to my husband that I wasn’t really into dressing Josh in cute, expensive outfits. He said, “Yeah, I kind of got that.” So, when this whole bed bug thing came up and we had researched how easily these bugs are hoping from bed to bed (or house to house), he said to me, “I think this means you cannot keep buying second-hand clothing.” Hmmmm. Hmmmm. Oh gosh, he might be right. Whatever am I to do? I so like buying recycled clothing and I’ve even been stockpiling some items in hopes of creating an “upcycling business” someday (see Etsy.com if you don’t yet know what upcycling is all about). I cannot, however, even sew on a button and so, the likelihood of this actually happening is similar to the time I purchased sixty dollars worth of oil paints, planning to paint a mural on my ceiling in the spirit of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. I purchased the paint in the spring of 1998 and I still haven’t used it. I am pretty sure I donated it all to the Goodwill at least four years ago. I am also a great supplier of the Goodwill because I actually hate clutter. In fact, I got rid of all of my work clothes last spring. I am now realizing that my winter wardrobe consisted almost entirely of work clothing, as I have been wearing the same two pair of pants all winter (I tend to not be able to find pants short enough for me at the Goodwill and because I cannot hem, well . . . you know it might just be too expensive to buy pants at the Goodwill). So, sometimes I over throw away (yes, dear husband, if you read this–I acknowledge that I do sometimes over throw away–and so you do have reason to question my sometimes over zealous encouragement of your own wardrobe downsizing project, which I know you mostly engage in because you love me so much). Today, I drove past a Goodwill, that I’ve never before visited, when I was bringing the car in for service. I looked longingly at the square, concrete building where treasures might have been waiting for me. But I drove on past without stopping. What am I to do? This bed bug scare is ruining my fashion plan (or lack thereof–an aside, yesterday, Hannah acknowledged that I had been a “hipster” in my thirties and she wished I still was one–so I guess that means I am decidedly no longer hipster material). In an effort to find something different to wear today, I managed to locate a beloved flannel shirt in the back of my closet, which I purchased in 1993, when I was 22. I turn 41 this year and I still think of this shirt as being pretty new, although it is missing three buttons (lost a third just today) and I don’t know how to sew the buttons back on. Does anyone out there, who is most certainly bed-bug free, have some clothing they’d like to get rid of? I really, really like hand-me-downs.

A photo of me at 34, back when I was still a hipster

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