How are we doing? It’s the fundamental question corporations answer in their quarterly reports. I’m ready to do the same with my LeCaShe Challenge, …only with a little more heart and feeling than actual cold numbers.
Full disclosure, the Challenge was not a major lifestyle change for me. My entire one plus one apartment has exactly two pieces of furniture I bought new. All other pieces are second-hand, hand-crafted or repurposed. Same goes for the decor.
Nevertheless, the Challenge wasn’t without its, well, challenges. Here’s a review of the first three months, including challenges, triumphs and all.
The Biggest Challenge
Cab driver: Hey lady, get out of the street!
Me: Hey cab driver, I’m trying to give that tempting retail location a wide berth, I’ll get back on the sidewalk after I pass it!
No, I would never recklessly step out into traffic to avoid passing a store that I felt would separate me from my cash as if I had no will of my own. But my neighbourhood has few if any small independent retailers that sell clothing, and since clothing is something I would buy on impulse alone, I take alternative routes so as not to have these type of stores enter my periphery. So far, not one item of “new” clothing purchased.
Supporting Local Economy
For an annual fee, the Toronto Tool Library (TTL) and the Sharing Depot offer memberships which allow their users to borrow specialized tools and thousands of items. I purchased a Tool Library membership for myself and gifted a Shared Depot membership to my good friend Darren.
The other Local Economy purchase I made came from Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore, the home and building supply stores that accept and resell quality new and used building materials. There I purchased a new cylindrical lamp shade ($30). I plan to use it in a future project.
Anson Huo isn’t just an employee at Tandy Leather. He’s also a talented leather crafter who runs micro-workshops out of the Markham, Ontario location. For two consecutive Saturdays in February, my brother and I signed up for Huo’s workshops where we made a leather coin pouch followed by a leather bifold credit card holder. Nobody had to convince us that working with leather is fun.
Supporting Second-Hand Economy
One of my favourite Sunday afternoon activities is taking a stroll through flea-market type venues. I’ve done this a few times in the last two and a half months and found a few treasures including a set of vintage wooden bookends ($5), two vintage wood juggling pins ($20), wooden beads ($2 – $5) and a vintage Fisher-Price wooden Little People person ($5). And I just couldn’t stay away from buying clothes entirely. One trip to Value Village yielded a $6.99 blouse. No regrets.
With (almost) three months of the LeCaShe Challenge under wraps, I’m feeling empowered. Again, it’s something of a cake-walk for me as I’m not coming to this from ground zero. However, it doesn’t take too long to get the hang of this and it’s worthwhile even if you don’t practice every single tenet.
A critical part of my habit is awareness of my weaknesses (clothing) and I’ve implemented counter-strikes to deal with them, which may, or may not involve running into traffic. There’s always room for improvement.
If you’re ready to take the LeCaShe Challenge (it’s never too late to start), I recommend you start with one aspect and practice it for a period of time before adding in another. Before the year is out you’ll be a LeCaShe expert helping your family and friends adopt the lifestyle.
Send me any questions or ideas you may have in the meantime.