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September 22, 2015

thrifting for babies

Since Beatrice was born, life has become a bit busier and convenience is often the trump card in decision making and buying power.  However, in an effort to not only keep my bank account happy but also consume less and teach my daughter about secondhand living, I have found there are still ways where thrifting is totally possible and can be convenient.  To me, the key to avoid high costs and buying new is to plan ahead and strike while the iron is hot.  That is, stop at the thrift store when I have an extra 20 minutes without Beatrice, or plan a Saturday morning to hit up garage sales and stock up on clothes for the future.   And don’t get me wrong, I have had my (many!) times of frantically running to the store to buy a new pacifier, swaddler, sound machine or nightlight- anything to help her sleep through the night!  And of course I am certainly not advocating not providing well for your child’s needs, nor do I want anyone to feel judged by buying new, I am just offering areas where it is possible if you are into the secondhand thing.  So here goes! 

1.       Clothes!
Growing. Does. Not. Stop! My daughter has been swiftly moving up in sizes proving that clothing I have for her doesn’t fit for too long! This is the greatest area where thrifting has been relatively easy and successful, and after comparing price tags on new baby clothes, it is worth it to the bank account. Check local thrift stores or websites like  Check your local newspaper or Facebook page for events happening in your area too.  Westmoreland County is having a HUGE thrifting event for children’s items next weekend at our local fairground.  Clothes are easily washable and because kids grow out of them so quickly, thrifted clothes are often in good shape too. Secondhand stores often provide a rewards program as well that adds incentive to keep going back.
Tip: For the sake of saving time later and planning ahead, look through entire sections of kids’ clothing in thrift store. I’ve found a few outfits that we won’t need for 2 more years for 25 cents each!  This only works if you can predict the general size of your child during the season they’ll need the clothing.
2.       Toys
Much like clothing, kids’ interests and activities change so often.  We have been lucky enough to have friends and family gift us a lot of their old toys so we haven’t had to buy much for Beatrice.  She will eventually start to want specific toys, but for now, we are keeping her well entertained by rotating many of the toys that were handed down to us!  I’ve combed craigslist often for good toys/activities that she may be interested in as well, especially with the upcoming holidays and a first birthday around the corner.  The best thing about kids stuff: IT’S ALL WASHABLE! There has not been a toy yet that I haven’t been able to clean well.  With a little elbow grease, they’re as good as new!
3.       Furniture
Furniture is one of those things that everyone may disagree on. When you have a baby, you need a crib.  Newer cribs are obviously the most up-to-date on safety features.  Depending on how comfortable you are with having an older crib and mattress (assuming it still meets the safety recommendations), receiving/buying a used one is totally worth it.  We were fortunate to have been pregnant right when friends of ours were getting rid of their nursery furniture, so it worked out well.  But even if you don’t know someone getting rid of furniture, search garage sales, Craigslist, or newspaper ads for gently used ones.  You can also use or upcycle a dresser to be used as a changing table, or paint an old set of shelves for the nursery.  
4.       Books
This is one of my favorite things for Beatrice to have a full stock of! She loves books and reading with children is so important. We were given stacks of books from friends and family, and a local Goodwill is usually stocked with mounds of children’s books for 25 cents each. And those little teeth marks from strange children? Don’t worry- germs don’t live that long on the edges of books, and especially if they are board books, they can be wiped down pretty easily.  One of the other suggestions I can offer here is to check out the local library or used book store. Often there is a section of used books they are giving away for free.
5.       Pay it forward!
I know a lot of parents, and I bet many of you are already doing a lot of the above tips for the basic purpose of saving money! That is certainly enough motivation to buy secondhand, but cutting down on consumption is definitely an added bonus. So my last piece of advice today is to take care of the kids’ items you have and save what you can to give away to someone who needs it.  And really this goes for everything! Take care of your things so that if you find you don’t need it anymore, someone else may benefit. Use local secondhand shops. Sell on Craigslist. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure!
**thanks for stopping by**


September 12, 2015

thredUP: a review

A few weeks ago, while researching secondhand living options online, I stumbled across a company called thredUP.  It is an online consignment shop, featuring all secondhand items! It eliminates one of the greatest difficulties of shopping secondhand- finding what you need in your size, when you need it.  The website features easy to navigate categories, including shops for children and women, that can be narrowed down into sizes, brands, relevance, and newest listed. 

The shop works out of San Francisco, CA, accepting clothing and accessories from people all over the country. They send people who would like to clean out their closets a clean out kit, allowing you to send your gently used clothing and accessories to them to be listed and sold on the website. Best part is, they pay for the shipping!  If they can't list an item to sell, they will either donate it or send it back to you with a small shipping charge. You can receive payment for your items, based on the listed price once the item is processed, adding a great incentive. Your payout can be transferred to store credit, donated to a charity, or transferred to cash. Win win!

And buying? Well, that is the easiest part! I looked for an item that I really needed, jeans that are long  (I'm almost 6' tall!) and fit well.  I knew what brand I liked, what size, and was able to easily add the item to my cart and pay for it securely. The website is so easy to navigate! The jeans came in less than a week, were true to size, color, and the description of being very gently used (I truly cannot tell they are secondhand).  And the best part is, if they hadn't worked out, I still could have returned them within 30 days.  But they fit like a charm, so they are staying!

One of my favorite things is that the company also sent a little booklet along with the jeans that features the staff members and the company's vision and purpose. I loved some of the quotes, so I couldn't help but feature them on the blog today because they jive with exactly what I believe in and why I write this blog.

"I fear we are becoming a throwaway culture, where everything is disposable. I want my son to live in a more thoughtful, considerate world." 
-Kristy Atkins-Kirshtner, merchandising

"how do we want to live today?"

"We know shopping secondhand helps the world in some small way, 
and we're proud to be a part of that."

Guys, check this website out! 
It is an awesome way to live consciously buying secondhand, but still be able to shop for what you really need and brands that best represent you! 

Here is the link: thredUP.

enjoy your weekend and thanks for stopping by!

September 6, 2015

an old frame

A few years ago, I posted a review of a sweet secondhand shop in Winston Salem (see it here).  This place was one of my favorites!  Against a wall in the shop, a gold picture frame that was tucked away, between other frames and artwork, caught my eye. I can't describe exactly what it was that attracted me to it, but because I liked it and felt inspired, I bought it. 
I haven't touched the frame at all in about two years, except to pack it in a box for two moves (my husband loves that! Ha!) 
This spring I decided to unpack and dust the ol' gal off and finally do something with it. I found the project on pinterest, so I can't take any credit for the idea, but I love how it turned out.  I decided to transform it into a framed "clothes line" to hang pictures and cards from. The frame is in our kitchen and already has already been put to use. A can of glossy white spray paint, twine, nails, and a few small clothes pins created the finished project! 
I'm happy that in the name of secondhand living, something old that caught my eye a few years ago, turned out to be a great and useful accent in the house today.

 ^^Before, in 2013^^


^^the after photos- located in a corner of our kitchen^^

thank you for stopping by
-happy sunday-