After some reflection, we concluded that it has been about three years since Franklin last purchased a pair of trousers. While his current job isn't super dressy, his collection of khakis is getting a bit less than workplace appropriate.
While this sounds praiseworthy on some level, it actually reflects how very wasteful we once were. On Saturdays, we woke up and went shopping. Not every Saturday - but often enough. The result was troves of clothing, vast reserves that we've yet to run through. Did we have the money? Not really. Did we need it? Obviously not. We just bought the stuff anyhow.
Franklin's trousers are probably wearing out in part because he now commutes on mass transit and foot. It's rougher on clothing than our previous car-based travels. If we were still driving to work, maybe our conversation wouldn't have taken place.
For us, the wake-up call came when we moved four hours away. Franklin went first, to a small sublet, while I stayed behind to sell our old house and pack up our worldly goods. Seeing just how many worldly goods we'd amassed - and having to pack, ship and store those goods while we waited for our new house to be completed - served as good incentive to have less stuff.
It's amazing when you stop buying things how very long you can go without needing a replacement. In fact, I suspect Franklin will go a few more weeks - probably months - before he actually buys those pants. Once you break the habit of shopping, it's actually hard to start again.