Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Back to School: Eco-Friendly Clothes Shopping

It's not rocket science, but it's worth noting that children are tough on their clothes. They get 'em dirty constantly and grow like weeds. Not to mention the tiny divas who will only wear that one glitter-purple leotard for 17 consecutive weeks (while grandma begs for her to wear the smocked heirloom in despair). So while thinking about back to school shopping, don't forget the ease and thrift of the secondhand store.

If you're traveling, you may want to keep your eyes peeled for gems like the children's consignment store I hit up in Healdsburg while visiting family at Preston Vineyards. We got all of EGirl's back to school clothes (she got to do the old thumbs up, thumbs down, and her brother got to play in a rockin' toy area). Her brother is awash in hand me downs so we didn't need to buy him a thing. If you don't live near a thrift store, don't forget EBay, freecycle, craigslist, and yard sales.

I figure if we get everything possible secondhand, we can (more often) afford to shell out the big bucks for fair-trade, organic, sustainable duds when we've got a gap in the system. It's always much easier on the planet to reuse (energy and materials use to create anything new, no matter how sustainable), and this way, you can feel good about your once-in-a-blue-moon extravagances.

Either way (thrift store or hand me downs), don't forget as you are clearing the closet to make way for bigger clothes to make sure you find a good home for the old ones. Whether you give them to family or friends or sell them, those tiny duds can be used and used until they fall apart! And even then someone might be able to upcycle the scraps into something cute.

Now to find myself some good consignment stores....

12 comments:

Burbanmom said...

Yeah, the consignment shops for the kids ROCK! But I agree, finding a good consignment shop for grown ups is hard work. Goodwill has the occasional "find" but it takes so long to dig through all the crap before you hit paydirt.

Maybe we should get together and start one!

Green Resolutions said...

Hand-me-downs are the best!

We even hand up, sometimes. My nephew is several years older than my son, so when we get hand-me-downs my son hasn't grown into, I loan them to a friend whose son is a year older than mine. We just mark the tags and she gives them back as her son outgrows them. (That also means I don't have to store them!)

MamaBird said...

burbanmom - I think you are onto something! would love that biz - we can corner the southeast crunchy mama corridor, no?

green rez - so funny! we hand me up too! storage is a huge motivator, eh? our clothes don't sit for a moment longer than I have to let em!

MamaBird said...

love this too:
http://bean-sprouts.blogspot.com/2008/08/make-do-and-mend-challenge.html

Bobbi said...

My 16 year old daughter is not your typical girl - she loves shopping for clothes at the GoodWill! She finds some really cute clothes.

Green Bean said...

Love this post. Absolutely no reason not to buy second hand for kids (or adults for that matter). Our culture is very affluent, throw away. I find the cutest, most trendy name brands at thrift stores all the time. Yes. You have to dig a bit and sometimes do a minor repair (sew on a button, stitch a tiny hole) but it is so worth it. This is one place where the planet and the bank account win.

Thrift Store Mama said...

This one is easy for me - I've been a dedicated thrift store shopper for over 2 years. I live in Prince George's County, Maryland and have three! fantastic thrift stores all within a 15-20 minute drive or so. I'm also in a children's clothing co-op and I'd be happy to talk with anyone else about how ours runs so that you could start one in your area.

Anna said...

I have started buying from affluent thrift stores for special occasion. Many women only wear a dress once in my area. Sometimes thrift stores have close-outs from other stores. So, in essence you are buying new.

As for kids clothing, I teamed up with another family with younger boys to give my kids clothes too. The ones that are too ratty to hand down, I give to a local charity that takes them and resells the fabric to someone who makes rags. I think Goodwill does this too.

Gray Matters said...

I love shopping eBay, but don't feel like paying for shipping anymore. I just found a consignment shop near our new home so I'm checking it out soon. I also try to extend the life of Meg's summer dresses buy using long sleeve tees and tights. Great post!

wrekehavoc said...

all about consignment stores and ebay, sistah. all over that. and then i do hand-me-downs. i only wish someone would hand down to us, but everyone i know has kids younger than mine. ah well. hopefully karma is taking note ;-)

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

It's harder as the kids get older, but we definitely do a hand-me-down rotation with the girls in the neighborhood. It's really great to see the clothes you loved on your kid on another child.

Rob said...

I know from first hand that organic cotton clothing is a great way to naturally alleviate some skin conditions.

That is an easy call since conventional methods of cotton production use such harsh chemicals.

I have heard some varying numbers on the amount, but everyone agrees the chemicals just are bad for the earth and us.

"Traditional cotton production also attributes to 25% of worldwide insecticide use and 10% of worldwide pesticide use."

http://www.peacefuldisorder.com