There’s no denying that shopping for a new top, appliance or gadget isn’t tempting. But we can get an even bigger high from being clever about the way we shop, and getting the most out of what we already have. It's is one the easiest choices we can make to save money, look after our planet and feel good about ourselves too. 

Mend that busted zip

Every year volumes of quality used clothing are sent to landfill when a simple repair job would have returned them to their former glory. While some of us are dab hand with a needle, many of us need a helping hand:

  • Find a tailor or alteration service. Getting things professionally mended is cheaper than you think and Auckland is blessed with 100s of local tailor shops, so you won’t need to look far
  • Check if the shop you bought it from does repairs. More and more clothing retailers are starting to offer a repair service, including Kathmandu, Macpac, Kate Sylvester and Karen Walker. If your favourite shop doesn’t fix things, ask them to consider it
  • Learn how to mend it. Come along to one of Sew Sustainable and Conscious Layers upcycling events and learn some sewing skills from their experts (plus, there's usually tea and nibbles provided too).

Borrow or hire it

There’s the right tool for the job, but once it’s done will you really need it again? For one-off jobs, hiring tools or borrowing from friends and family just makes sense. And it’s not just tools either. If you only need something for a short time, you can rent or borrow nearly anything these days:

  • Need a special outfit? Want to go designer without the cost? Consider renting it. Good places to start are Frasercrowe, Designer Wardrobe, Oh Rent Me and Lend the Label. But sorry guys, other than formal suit hire, there’s not a lot of clothing rental options for you, yet
  • Kids bored with their toys? Refresh the play box with something from your local Toy Library. They’re all over Auckland
  • Need to furnish a short-term flat? Hiring your kitchen, laundry or entertainment appliances is a great option. You won’t need 100s of dollars to get started and they’ll take them all back again when you move on.

Repair your broken gadgets

Toaster on the blink? Weed whacker not cutting it? There's a DIY fix-it guide for almost everything on But if you prefer to have an expert take a look, bring it along to a local Repair Café event. Broken lamps, furniture, kettles and computer screens are just some of the things that have been fixed for free by their volunteers. Follow the Auckland Repair Café on Facebook to find out more, or head along to their next events:

  • Browns Bay Community Garden, Sunday 12 August
  • Highbury House, Birkenhead, Sunday 9 September
  • Gribblehirst Hub, Sandringham, Sunday 28 October

Make a Live Lightly pledge 

There’s plenty more ideas about mindful shopping on the Live Lightly website: why not take our pledge to buy nothing for a month, to rehome items you don’t need anymore, or pledge to go second hand for that next spot of retail therapy.


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