May 12, 2009

Go Green: Make A Shopping List for Thrifting

It's been a while since I've chatted about anything eco-friendly. Not on purpose. Just busy, you know? Things like Moo falling off the 'loo (is that not funny to anyone else? Get it? Moooo? Loooo? Whatever.) and my new obsession with altering my own clothing (I am delerious at the money I've saved!).

Today I want to advise you to make a list of items you need to shop for at the thrift store. Before you walk into a department store (or even a discount chain like The Walmarts or Target) investigate your local thrift store for the items you need. Even toasters. Or coffeemakers. Or salt & pepper shakers. Sheets. Sports equipment. A deck of playing cards. If you are patient and dedicated to looking, you can find what you need in great condition at a fraction of the price - and (the best news), you have done something to reduce your global footprint.

Some believe you shouldn't thrift with a list because it turns thrifting fun into a retail experience (in my mind, anything that requires me plopping down my hard earned money IS a retail experience - period). These nay-sayers will also say that shopping with a list closes your mind to possibilities. (I say open your mind in the first place.) Just like any store, if you walk into a thrift store with no purpose you are likely to leave with something you don't need. Isn't that what accumulating clutter is all about? It's one thing to come across a darling vintage babydoll bed and quite another to collect 47 sets of vintage sheets just because they're pretty and you might someday use them (CLUTTER!). A list can be your friend.

So, let's chat about this thrift list. Let me tell you, when I left the house and cut the strings of my marriage two years ago I didn't pack a whole lot. I packed the essentials and knew the rest would work itself out once we found our own place. And the rest did. In fact, I've written posts (here and here) all about successful thrifting for domestic essentials. I saved a TON of money and didn't lower my standards.

Blogs like OhDeeDoh and ReNest are magnificent at showing you what you can make or do using something repurposed or thrifted - and their designs are very modern and beautiful!

In addition to shopping at your local thrift stores, don't forget Etsy. There are hundreds of Etsy storefronts that offer "vintage" housewares (the result of their thrifting finds). Their shipping fees are usually quite reasonable and even though you're still paying to ship the item, your use of an already-produced something is much better for the environment than opting for something new.

Here is my current thrift list (as you can see, totally not in any order):

2 aluminum bats
extra baseball gloves (kid-sized)
Softballs or wiffle balls for practice (tennis balls okay)
Rain boots for Mabel (size 7+)
Play food/kitchen for Mabel
Outdoor play equipment/playhouse for Mabel
Skirts (me)
Satin slips (me)
Outerwear (me - trench, leather jacket, blazers)
Nightgowns for Mabel
4 dinner plates
Deck of playing cards for Trevor
Baby gate
Twin boxspring
Twin bedframe
Twin mattress cover
Winter gloves (kids)
Round mirror with stand
Birds on wire

What's on your list?

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