In February, I spent some time looking into the sustainability of a fashion item that has often been listed as a miracle solution against plastic bags: I am talking here of course of the goold-old totebag.
Totebags have been a known weakness of mine (like notebooks used to be) and I have tried to reduce my collection (not in the sense of how many I want to keep and cherish, but how many end up in my hands and cupboard with time) to the minimum, like a Marie-Kondoing process, in order to keep the ones that are really useful, efficient and loved. Let's say I have not done too bad, as 5 have got my love, as the other few ones are used for practical purposes only.
In parallel I have also looked into doing the same for handbags, backpacks, travel bags etc...
But I also know my weaknesses, and now that I look into them retroactively I find myself fairly stupid as I succombed to plain instagram marketing.
I fell in love with a totebag that was part of a box sold by My Little Box, an online-based company specialized in selling a different box with fashionable, make-up and decoration items each month. As part of a mental frenzy I could not resist and purchased the January box which contained, apart from a handful of beauty product samples, a totebag, with 2 different cloth handles. My Little Box even created a special hashtag so that fashion bloggers and instagramers share their best shot and try to win even limited edition handles. It was very well organized as an international campaign (My Little Box exists in other European countries), so the bag made its way on the fashion streets everywhere
[note to self: apart from Instagram I have seen NO ONE wearing it in real life].
So I received my box, and as usual with online shopping, what I receive did not reach nor exceed my expectations.
Since February the bag has only been used once as a back-up plan when travelling, while the second handle has even not been unpacked. The set has been sleeping in my cupbard since then, with a high chance it ends up into a give-away bag at some point*.
As part of the box came along also a bunch of cosmetics that were chosen based on a few questions I answered regarding my hair or skin confection. So far, I have only tried the hair mask, and the rest remains...totally unused*. With my efforts to go zero-waste and look into specific brands only, this was another fail.
And because My Little Box works as a subscription system, unless you proactively cancel your subscription, you are paying and receiving the next box....
As you can expect, I obviously screwed it by one or two days, so I ended with a second, this time unwanted box at home, which I clearly would not have purchased if I had had the choice.
There it goes, an extra bunch of things I did not want in my hands, this time under the theme "Cosmos": a necklace of my astrological sign, a flashy silver pouch, and another set of beauty samples...that I have not sampled until now.
So here I am, in front of my own contradictions, miserably failing at zero-waste and shopping control management...All this for a bag that tempted me so hard that I could not resist buying a bunch of other crap around it.
Obviously there has to be some lessons learned here:
First, STOP TRUSTING WHAT YOU SEE ONLINE! What looks very nice and good quality on instapics can obviously be filtered, photoshopped, scenarized, worked on, and I fell for it like a newbie.
Second, STOP FALLING FOR ONLINE SHOPPING! I have had so many fails in the past (my discovery of Ebay a decade ago did not help) that I should have known better. I am now the owner of a bunch of accessories and cosmetics that I will not use, which represent unwanted packaging and waste.
Third, JUST BUY WHAT YOU REALLY NEED! And clearly, an extra bag was not what I needed.
This experience helped me re-focus and re-prioritize the months after, and decluttering has become a sport along with listing what I actually purchased and how much money was spent vs. what I gave away to second-hand.
And again, taking advantage of your weaknesses is a good way also to learn your best and worst ennemies when you want to live a more sustainable life. I miserably failed here, but this is a mistake I will also, hopefully, not make anymore. I am happy to share this fail here with you, and I cannot wait to hear your feedback and experiences.
*Unless someone is interested and I'll be happy to give it / ship it away against a postcard or something from your side! Send me a little message here!