Journal etc.: January, Conserving

Journal etc.: January, Conserving

By Chloë Stewart

Journal etc.: January, Conserving

A time of new year's resolutions and new things in general. What if we simply looked at things we are lucky to have already, in a new light? Instead of getting distracted by shiny new objects, while perhaps sometimes tempting, we also love to celebrate the old, like that pair of trousers from 8 years ago you remembered you had; or at least know how to repurpose old things.  According to WRAP, around 300,000 tonnes of clothing – worth about £140 million – go to landfill every year in the UK alone.

The Japanese art of Kintsugi resonates with us; "the art of precious scars".  It is the beauty of putting broken pottery pieces back together, with gold, to create something beautiful out of broken pieces — a metaphor for embracing your flaws and imperfections. “You won't realize your full potential until you go through the tough times.”  This concept can apply to any item in your home, from leather, clothing, and furniture.  So to celebrate this new year, here's a thought for the Kintsugi repair kit; you already have strong foundations, but sometimes things need a little TLC.

For the time when you think you'd rather trust someone else with the pieces that need putting back together, we've put together a little list of restorers, fixer-up-ers, upcyclers, for your perusal. 

"The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places."
- Ernest Hemingway

Ceramics, fine china and furniture:

  • Porcelain restoration
  • Fine art restoration
  • After Noah restoration Furniture
  • Solo Wood : see if Solo Wood can use any wooden pieces of furniture or recreate an old favorite. 
  • Otherwise, sell it on GumTree, share it on Facebook Marketplace, or see if a Flea market can take it.  One man's trash can be another's treasure.

    Leather shoes repairing and caring:

    Simply buying some good leather polish and using an old rag can bring a classic boot back to life.  Getting soles and heels repaired on shoes and boots is also another great way to avoid having to break the bank on a new pair and continue wearing your old favorites; besides, when you've one it once, no one likes breaking in a new pair of leather boots anyway. 

    If your shoes do need an upgrade try ALLBIRDS; made from merino wool making them breathable and washable.  One recycled plastic bottle equals one pair of laces and the packaging is made from 90% recycled cardboard.  Veja is also a new favourite; upcycle fibres, sustainably source rubber, we're kind of obsessed.  Comfortable, fashionable and sustainable, our kind of shoe.


    Pilling: we all know those pesky little balls of fabric that accumulate on knits.  To give your jumpers or scarves a refresh try investing in a pilling comb or even using a raser can remove these little fluff-balls.  Avoid hanging cashmere and wool items as the fabric can stretch over time and become misshapen.  Wash colored items separately and at a maximum of 30 degrees on a gentle wash setting.  Otherwise, there's always the goo ol' fashioned hand washing.  Allow items to dry over a flat surface to avoid misshaping (for example, lay a towel on your drying rack, place drying woolen clothes on top, to avoid marking them on the wires).

    Moths: Winter knits tend to be closely accompanied by moths.  Get some Cedar Balls to place in your draws to deter them; it is recommended to sand them back every few months to revive them. You can also use natural anti-moth hanging sachets or do a DIY home made mix, like this one from Apartment Therapy.

    If you have already noticed a few holes in items or the moths, then deep clean all your wardrobe: hoover right into the corners as they like dark undisturbed places and use a detergent soaked cloth to kill off any larvae.  This may sound a little strange but freezing any jumpers is another way to kill off the larvae.  And wash all your clothing as they prefer worn items (we smell good, apparently).  In the summer try store knitwear in bags to avoid moths getting to them while they aren’t being worn and remember to wash them before storing.  And for more natural repelling ideas check the spruce .

    Those that do the dirty work for you (for when your super-seamstress granny isn't around):The Clothes Doctor is an online clothing maintenance service that does repairs, alterations and restoration treatments to help you love your clothing for longer.  The Restory, providing modern aftercare for luxury fashion.  Any vintage Channel bags needing some love?

    If it’s simply time to farewell an item here’s a list of places that will give it a second life.

    Charity shops:

  • All Aboard
  • Boutique by Shelter 
  • British Heart Foundation
  • British Red Cross
  • Cancer Research UK
  • Shop from Crisis
  • TRAID : Clothes are given to TRAID as cast offs and waste which are then  transformed into high quality stock for charity shops around London and the UK. Diverting around 3,000 tonnes of clothes from landfill and incineration every year.
  • You've got to do what suits you; habits have to be convenient, or else they never become habits, right?  But all we ask of you is this: have you given a thought before tossing out the 'old', for the 'new'?

  • Photography via Viator