[‘Nothing New’ is a blog about my personal journey attempting to help the planet, my pocketbook, and my conscience by buying nothing new for at least the next month.]
“Ok, Mom. Here’s a list of things that I need for Science Camp. Eight pairs of socks. Three pairs of jeans. A rain coat. Gloves.” In the past, I would have jumped in my minivan, headed off to Target, and checked the items off the list. But with the Nothing New Project, we did something new. We started taking inventory. Here are a few Nothing New anecdotal tips for responsible consumerism.
N.N. TIP #1: PAUSE, TAKE INVENTORY, & BUY SMART
We found that we did have enough socks and long pants after all — in the laundry and the closet. And while cleaning up and going through my sixth grader’s closet, we also found a whole bag’s worth of clothes, jewelry, and toys to pass along to a couple of thrilled 3rd grade girls from our neighborhood.
RECYCLE, REDUCE, and REUSE. Check, check, check.
There was not enough time to rely on eBay for the raincoat and gloves. So, we drove to the local Salvation Army before heading to Big 5 Sporting Goods. The Salvation Army does a LOT of GOOD for a lot of people, but we did NOT find a raincoat for my daughter. (However, the heroin junkie nodding out on the sofa outside made us VERY grateful for our family, home, and health.)
We found a high-quality, new raincoat and gloves for around $80 at Big 5. Here’s the best part: I bought a black unisex raincoat that my daughter can wear for the next 2-3 years…then my son can wear it for another 2-3 years until he grows out of it. That is a lot of use out of a very practical item. GOOD PURCHASE.
N.N. TIP #2: BORROW FROM FRIENDS & NEIGHBORS
Another little thing that happened this week is that my right knee started feeling unstable after a tennis game. This is the first time that I have experienced this, and it felt like my knee might give out. So, I called a friend with “bad knees”, and asked her if she had a brace that I could borrow. She brought me a bag of six knee braces! AMAZING! (I am so glad I didn’t go to Rite Aid.)
N.N. TIP #3: SHOP LOCAL FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Y’all know how much I love my friend Joan’s delicious medjool dates as a holiday gift ($16/box plus shipping) and I am not the only one. She was just featured in Forbes Magazine’s Top Ten Budget-friendly Gifts for Millionaires. She ships nationwide, and all her packaging is biodegradable — something you can feel good about sending to family and friends.
Last week, I also discovered another gifted neighbor, Brenda Kristine, who makes beautiful fabric bags that make great gifts. In connecting with her, I learned that her primary business happens to be slipcovers and pillows, so she is helping me with my Nothing New Project by giving NEW LIFE to my armchair with a gorgeous white denim slipcover. Bonus: the chair came from a local consignment store. (Confession: I celebrated my nothing new slipcover victory by buying a laptop cover/case from her. It was made of a fabulous, linen, natural fabric and it was a local purchase. I love it, and I don’t feel guilty even for a second.)
N.N. TIP #4: CHECK OUT eBAY
My son needed a couple of sweaters for the Fall/Winter and I managed to get three “new with tags” sweaters from eBay. Free shipping, and a fraction of the cost because they were “last season”. You can find a lot of stuff on eBay — from shoes, handbags, clothes, video games, bike parts, even CARS. Just take a look before you head out to find something “new”. My kids want the board game “Life” for Christmas and video games, and I am sure I can find it all on eBay.
N.N. TIP #5: TAKE A FIELD TRIP TO THE FLEA MARKET
The Long Beach Antique Market is one of my favorite places to go spend an afternoon. I rarely buy anything, but sometimes I will find a vintage treasure or two. (And I ALWAYS get at least 6,000 steps clocked onto my FitBit. Shopping and exercising? Sign me up!)
It is happening this Sunday November 19th and I plan to buy several yards of African mudcloth to recover some old cushions. (Last month, I found a cute orange and grey striped sweater for $10 — kinda Marc Jacobs meets Freddy Kruger.)
Do you have a Nothing New Tip or some responsible consumer inspiration?