Sunday, June 24, 2007

Day Four - Prewashed (And Worn) Denim

PURCHASING USED CLOTHING

OK, a little background here might be in order. I have two children - Ethan (3 1/2) and Daphne (2) - who are CONTSANTLY GROWING. It seems like I buy them new clothes every week only to see them worn and washed a few times before they're too tight or too short. So last week, when I came down from working (more background, I sew part-time and work upstairs while my sitter (Nicole) watches the kids downstairs) I found that Ethan, my son, had changed his shorts while I was working. This isn't unusual, as Nicole is always finding fun things to do that involve getting soaking wet. What was unusual is that they were totally unzipped and unbuttoned because they were WAY TOO TIGHT. How they fit him fine last week and virtually cut off major arteries this week, well it's a mystery to me.

Anyhow, I determined that he needed to replace three pair of shorts and Daphne needed a new swimsuit. Normally, I would skip happily into Target or Old Navy and buy some imported cotton shorts and a Dora The Explorer swimsuit for these purchases. Not today. Today I used my new mantra "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" and headed off for the local kids' consignment shop KidtoKid.

Can I just say they had AWESOME STUFF THERE! I was able to get four pair of shorts, a SPIDERMAN short set (he thinks he is Spiderman), a SPIDERMAN cooking apron, a pair of swimtrunks, and two new swimsuits for $32. This would definitely have cost over $50 at either Target or Old Navy. In addition to the cost savings, I also got a free pair of SPIDERMAN sunglasses for spending over $30, a "frequent shopper punch card" which gets me $10 worth of goodies after 10 visits AND I was entered in a monthly drawing for $25 of free stuff. Unbelievable! I also feel good about shopping locally and supporting the "mom and pop" store.

Of course, I've always been a fan of pre-worn clothing for the kids. I have a friend with a daughter who is 5 and she gives me TONS of hand-me-downs. I've also participated in several toy and clothing exchanges. Also, I always pass on any clothes or toys that the kids don't use anymore. The question is: will I be able to bite the bullet and hit Goodwill when it comes time for me to do personal shopping? I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, here's the stats:

SAVINGS:

I was very surprised to learn that only 10% of the clothing produced in the world is reused. 90% gets tossed. Amazing, since I don't think I've ever tossed any clothing away (whatever isn't good enough to give away, sell at a garage sale or donate to goodwill becomes a cleaning cloth, sock puppet or dog toy in my house).

Here are some more interesting numbers from an article on treehugger.com: "The reuse of 1 ton of polyester garments only uses 1.8% of the energy required for manufacture of these goods from virgin materials and the reuse of 1 ton of cotton clothing only uses 2.6% of the energy required to manufacture those from virgin materials". I didn't purchase a ton of clothing, but regardless the amount, I saved over 95% in energy! HOLY CRAP!

In addition, I saved about $20 in "personal green". More, really, if you count all the other SPIDERMAN items that would have been thrown in the cart at Target! Sweeeeeet.

For more interesting facts, check out a New York Times synopsis of a study done at Cambridge University called "Well Dressed? The present and future sustainability of clothing and textiles in the United Kingdom".

DIFFICULTY LEVEL - 1 out of 5

Super easy. No different than shopping in Target or Old Navy. Easier, in fact, since the store was small and the kids could free-range while I shopped. I'll be making an appointment this week to bring down a lot of my kids' used items to be resold too. To find a local consignment shop near you, go to www.bigyellow.com and search for "consignment shop" in your area.

2 comments:

Mary Elizabeth said...

Hey! Found you through your sis;) I was going to say that yard sales are a Great way to find cheap pre-worn stuff for the monkeys. But I suppose that driving around that much isn't so green. But if you found neighborhood sales (where the subdivision has organized everyone to yardsale at once) - it'd be like hitting 15-20 consingment shops in one fell swoop - not so bad on the gas, and great on the variety!

Kara B said...

about half of my clothes are second hand, and I have no problem with it :D My favorite pair of pants came from a church yard sale for a quarter, and my favorite shirt used to be my dads.

And then they're too worn-out to wear, i cut them up into bits and use them as stuffing in messed up stuffed dolls I make