Friday, August 17, 2012

reduce, reuse, recycle

One thing Jeff and I are really passionate about is is buying used - and it's not just about being cheap! Sure, we love a good deal, particularly with me not working this year, but we also believe that is socially responsible to buy things that aren't new and therefore didn't require new resources to make them. Think about it.


New factories are built so that within them new things can be assembled and sold. If the demand for brand new things decreased, there would be less use of land, resources, and energy. Our Earth needs a break! We are running out of room AND natural resources. By buying pre-owned clothes, toys, books, etc., we are not contributing to the carbon footprint.

Of course it could be argued that factories provide jobs, but humans are resourceful. Just because a certain job market downsizes, it doesn't mean that jobs available will be forever downsized, too. Job types and numbers are not finite. New jobs will come to replace them. The people who had jobs creating and selling and marketing pagers (beepers) did not just stop working and sit in despair when people no longer used them. Cell phones, tablets, and laptops came to take their places. And as the demand for new things decreases, I already see entrepreneurs getting creative about creating jobs in the used goods business.

First, we saw the creation of Craigslist. Even the "Craigslist Killer" couldn't slow the popularity of this website. We use it mostly for kids' toys and furniture. We have gotten some NICE stuff off there! And consignment shops are not just considered for 'poor people' anymore. Someone FINALLY wised up to how quickly kids outgrow clothes, shoes, and toys, which leaves them homeless but in good condition. Here in Rochester we have a VERY popular Once Upon a Child and, even more recently, Kid to Kid. What's great about these places is that you can SELL your gently used items to them, too! So you can make a little money without having to go through the trouble of placing an add, etc. We love to go to OUAC and stock up on next season's wardrobe or size, sell a few bins of last season's wardrobe or size, and then take the rest to a Goodwill, Volunteers of America, etc. The tax write-off for donating is certainly helpful. I have also recently noticed a slew of "swapping" pages popping up on Facebook that are generally separated by category.

As if there were not enough awesome things about cloth diapering (have I not convinced you YET?!), there is big business in the buying/trading/selling (B/T/S) of used cloth diapers. Facebook has tons of pages, some by diaper brand alone! I personally have been very successful buying AND selling on these pages. I sold a bunch of "girly" diapers once we found out baby #2 would be a boy. People seem to be really "well-behaved" on these pages, too. It is truly filled with moms just looking for a good deal. (I mention this because sometimes I feel like there are some shady characters on eBay and Craigslist, etc. Sorry, but unfortunately that's been my experience. I won't even use eBay anymore.) So, I know the initial investment of CDing can be intimidating, but remember that it is less OVERALL than buying a new pack of diapers EVERY week until your LO is potty trained AAAAAAAAND now you know that you can actually make some money BACK by selling your gently used CDs.

This past weekend I made about $100 net after selling a bunch of my CDs at a local natural parenting store called Luvaboos. Luvaboos has these consignment events twice a year and they are always well attended. They are not just for CDs, either, but for all baby gear. I sold my newborn CD stash, since Elliott is on to size small, and also a bunch of Lydia's diapers since she is potty trained except during sleep times (so we need a MUCH smaller stash for her). I also sold a sling...since I have THREE! If there is a store like this in your community, suggest they have an event like this! It's beneficial to ALL parties involved. If you have no natural or CDing store in your area but do seem to have a nice-sized crunchy mom community, I suggest organizing some kind of event amongst yourselves!

So take advantage of a good deal and be a steward of our Earth and consider making your next purchase a gently used good. Whether it's actually brand-new or just new to you, shopping is fun and you still feel the same contentment that comes from securing a product you need to make your life easier and more enjoyable!


  1. I love buying used stuff, it just makes sense, less waste (there's so much packaging on new stuff, AND something gets diverted from a landfill!) also it saves tons of money. we have given (and will give) Lily used toys for birthdays/Christmas. Most of our big ticket baby items were purchased used, or given to us, our changing table was even found free on the side of the road! :)

    1. Right on! I forgot to mention all of the ridiculous packaging that comes on new stuff. That drives Jeff absolutely bananas! And a good friend of mine has the BEST luck finding outdoor toys on the side of the road!