Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Resale!

I’m doing a last-minute push to get things ready for my Mother of Twins club’s semi-annual Gently Used Clothing & Equipment Sale.  My club has been holding a “gently used” sale for a lot longer than I’ve belonged to the club, which for those who are wondering, is about 6 years.  The club holds the sale for a lot of reasons, that include raising money for the club, helping the members make a little money back on things they’ve bought (although it’s often a wash for most members,  since many end up spending about what they make) and providing a resource for terrific bargains for the surrounding communities.  What we generally don’t talk about is how great for the environment resale is.

If I didn’t have a venue like this sale, freecycle or craigslist to dispose of all my children’s gear and clothing,  a lot of it would go in the trash to landfills (there’s just so much you can pawn off on friends and acquaintances).  Have you ever been out on trash day and seen perfectly good children’s items out for the trash collectors?  It kills me when I see that.  Sometimes I think “well, maybe there’s something really wrong with it so they don’t want to even donate it somewhere”,  then I think “maybe I should stop and pick it up and do something useful with it.”   At this point,  I’m enough overwhelmed with my own belongings that I need to pare down that I can’t handle taking in other people’s stuff to get rid of (although my husband came home with 4 kitchen chairs he picked up on trash day last week that he has since repaired and intends to donate). 

I can tell that figuring out what to do with used children & baby stuff is a dilemma for many people, because with my new 3rd baby I didn’t have any baby gear, so I let my friends know that I was looking for things like swings, exersaucers and boppies.  Many of them were actually relieved to get rid of stuff and seemed to feel guilty when they said they didn’t want the stuff back.  They were concerned they were dumping the problem on me!

Another way to dispose of all sorts of household items that you don’t need anymore is to donate them.  Some charities need you to bring things to them, but there are some that will even come get them from you.  Some of them use the goods for their clients, but many resell them to raise money to support their operations.  When you donate to these organizations you can get a receipt to list the donation on your taxes for a tax deduction.

So,  things that are still usable shouldn’t be put on the curb for the trash.  Where should they go?  Here are some suggestions:
Craigslist – you can post for sale or for free.  Local listings,  you need to arrange a way to get the item to the interested party.
Freecycle – you give things away.  Often you can leave things out for the interested party to pick up at their convenience
Local mom’s groups & friends – Some groups have standards around buying and selling, others just informally pass clothing, toys and gear around.  My Mother’s of Twins group even gives each other high value coupons, particularly for formula.
Big Brother Big Sister Foundation – picks up all kinds of things in the greater Boston area, including cars!
Vietnam Veterans Association – Picks up almost anything about in about 30 states, you just call to schedule a pickup. They prefer items left outside, so you don’t have to be home!
Goodwill – Takes a lot of stuff, you have to take it to them.  They have collection spots throughout the US.

Now that I’ve talked about ways to get rid of stuff,  I’d like to suggest that you buy second hand as well.  For children about 6 and under, it is very easy to find nice, barely used clothing at great prices.  I am so used to shopping at these sales,  that I have a hard time spending more than $2 or $3 on a piece of clothing for my children.  It has totally ruined me for shopping in real stores!  It’s great for my budget and often there are things that someone else’s child would barely wear, my child thinks are “awesome!” 

Mother’s of Twins clubs have sales all over the country that are open to the general public,  often in the spring and fall.   I recommend googling for your local club & sale.  Goodwill stores are also all over the country and a great way to find bargains.  Keep an eye on craigslist, freecycle and church and yard sales as well.   For books I shop at my local library – twice a year our “Friends of the Library” group has a book sale where I can pick up all kinds of great books, including children’s books for 25 cents a piece!  They also take all my outgrown books 🙂

Happy Green Shopping and Disposing!

And for those in the Boston area, come shop at our sale this weekend:
March 27, 2010 – Spring Sale!
Winchester High School

80 Skillings Road
Winchester, MA 01890-2899
9:30am – 1:00pm

Cash only!

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