I believe that a huge part of being more aware involves looking closely at materialist tendencies.
I’m currently in the middle of an overhaul of my living space and daily habits, and it has become glaringly clear to me how in the past I’ve just run out and purchased items that were cheap and easy buys.
Not much thought, just a reflex to a perceived need.
Over time I’ve accumulated quantity without quality, which visually manifests as random junk and clutter. I’ve thus taken a vow to put more thought and effort into what I choose to bring into my life.
Earlier this week I felt that familiar itch.
Being fuss-free and agile while on the go has always been a curious focus of mine — the art of travel, if you will — and already having embarked three times this year, I kept noticing a wish for an extra pocket of sorts. I was continually finding myself fumbling for essentials in my backpack, holding boarding passes under my arm and stuffing my phone into precarious and easily-snatchable cavities.
I dislike the unbalanced feeling of having something hanging off my shoulder and swinging around, so, borne of years of waiting tables and a penchant for leggings that often come sans-pockets, I decided it was time to give in to finding a nicer version of an apron/fanny pack. A quick Google consultation introduced me to the hip-bag.
Remembering my promise of mindfulness, I managed to catch myself in the middle of an Amazon debate between cheap-and-ugly vs expensive-and-designer, and decided to instead see if I could create my own perfect pouch.
First, I distanced myself from the computer and got very clear about what I truly desired.
I knew I wanted something simple, functional, versatile, yet classy; suitable for both urban traveling and more upscale adventures. It must have a good zipper for security, and it needed to be big enough to hold a passport, phone, money clip, and camera.
Using designer hip-bags as reference, I sketched out a basic clutch modified with loops to attach onto a belt. Venturing through my craft chest brought the re-discovery of nice fabric scraps from a Star Wars halloween costume I made years ago, pieces of a canvas drop cloth, old belts, and a once-beloved backpack/purse that had developed too much wear and tear.
It did take a few hours and a bit of trial and error, but the black fabric became the outside, the canvas became the inside, and I harvested a nice zipper and sturdy hardware from the purse. And now — quicker than Amazon Prime shipping — I have a hip-bag that suits all my needs and can easily work as a clutch or shoulder/crossbody!
This obviously wasn’t meant to be much of a true DIY post, but rather documented proof that that thing I “need” just might be able to manifest from stuff I already own.
It is so much more mindful than just going out and buying, plus I’m getting to honor the previously useless things by giving them a beautiful new purpose. It feels tailor-made for my own needs and is quite empowering to know that I can alter it or fix it on whim. Not to mention I get to save my money for more essential things.
I love that my bag is still a work in progress and that I can improve it over time.
Many things can be repurposed or reworked: whether it’s as simple as finding beauty in using a disposable container as a storage box, or constructing together bits of things that seem to no longer have a purpose and bestowing upon them new life.
I must remember to not give into laziness. To consciously stop the shopping-reflex and look at what’s already right here, waiting to be given that chance.