September 13, 2010

It's So Easy Being Green

I am a true environmentalist. I really am one of those people who feels that the earth does not belong to us - we belong to the earth. I am passionate about finding ways to adjust our lifestyle so that it's more earth-friendly. I don't expect perfection from myself - it's going to take me a long time to get to where I want to be.

But when I find a new green thing to do, I must confess that I get really excited.

First up, my dilemma about wrapping paper and gift bags with tissue paper. We always reuse what we get, but storing it takes up a lot of room. We had one of these things, which was very handy, but as we began to work on uncluttering our house, we just couldn't find a good place for it. So we sold it at our yard sale this past Saturday, along with all the wrapping paper in it, and made some lady very happy.

So on Sunday, when I had a gift to wrap for a birthday party, I did it differently: I used fabric. I had some leftover from making Charlie's quilt, so I cut out a piece, placed the present inside, gathered all the edges in, and tied it up with a cute piece of scrap fabric. If I were super duper crafty and gave myself a ton of time to do this, I would have probably made it all a little neater. However, I had a kid who was very interested in my rotary cutter crawling all over me at the time, so nothing else needs to be said.

Here's the finished product.

Super cute, and super simple! Plus, the green factor is wonderful: no wrapping paper that will be thrown away, a piece of fabric that is more likely to be reused, and less fabric in my growing stash. I'm not sure what I will do when I run out of fabric, but I'm sure I will think of something.

Now allow me to sing the praises of Craigslist. It's not always easy to deal with people through that site. So many of them are flakes or lowballers. It's annoying. But if you can hang in there, you can find someone good to work with to get what you want.

Last week, the temperature here dropped enough for Charlie to need some warmer clothes in the mornings and evenings. We had a few things, but not nearly enough. So I started asking around for recommendations for good consignment stores in the area (and even visited one). I also started looking through Craigslist to see if I could find anyone selling a big lot of baby/toddler clothes. I hit the jackpot on Saturday night, and we made arrangements for Sunday for us to come pick through her son's old clothes.

Here's what we scored.

You probably can't tell the sheer volume and quality of the clothes we got, so let me break it down for you. (Everything we got ranges from newborn sizes all the way up to 3T.)

6 pairs of shoes
3 pairs of socks
9 jackets
3 pairs of overalls
12 pajama sets/sleepers
4 pairs of jeans
1 pair of swim trunks
6 gowns (similar to sleepers, and supposedly good for newborns)
18 long sleeve shirts
6 pairs of pants
3 short sleeve onesies
4 long sleeve onesies
20 short sleeve shirts
2 sleep sacks
13 pairs of shorts

That's 110 pieces, if I added correctly, and we paid $120. Everything is in great shape (some new with tags), and the brands are incredible (think Robeez, Baby Gap, Gymboree, Old Navy, Airwalk, Puma, Chuck Taylor, New Balance, Carter's, Circo, etc). STEAL.

Now, 110 items of clothing may seem excessive, I realize. But the majority of them will outfit both boys up into the 3T sizes, and I think that's awesome. I'm sure that some things may end up being the wrong season/size for one boy, but I'm sure they'll end up being the right season/size for the other.

Green factor: HUGE. Buying used means that we are not contributing to the demand for new things. We're putting something to use that was no longer being used - less potential for it all to end up in a landfill. We're also putting money back in the pockets of actual people, as opposed to some huge corporation that has money coming out its ass (and probably shoddy business practices as well). And let's not forget how cost effective it can be to buy something used. I haven't really crunched the numbers, but I'm pretty sure that the six pairs of shoes alone would have gotten us close to spending $120 if we were paying retail.

So there you have it, our latest green adventures. We agreed months ago that if we needed something, we'd try to buy it used/secondhand (unless it comes from a mom and pop store/site), and we have been mostly good about it. I did buy the boys a few things at Target a month or so ago, and I felt so guilty about it. Live and learn, I say.

Or maybe I should rephrase that to live, learn, and go green. There's only one Earth, so we might as well take care of her.


mj said...

Have you heard of thredUp ( Someone recently told me about them and it's a pretty cool idea - it's basically like paperbackswap except with clothes :)

Sara said...

Wow! Thats quite a haul!! Right on!! Oh and Zara loved your cloth wrapping...she drug the cloth around for a decent part of the night! Such a great idea!

Amanda said...

I found a site that carries the fabric bags already made for wrapping gifts. Brent and I decided we could totally accomplish that (or rather, he could since I can't sew). But he broke out the sewing machine the other day and is teaching me how to use it so we can make gift bags. Your idea is less complicated though. I like it.

amber said...

DUDE! You scored HUGE on that lot of clothing!! Such cute stuff - I'm very impressed. :)