Tag Archives: reuse

Baby Clothes

Baby clothes. They are so stinking cute. Just perusing through them can make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. People cannot seem to help themselves, and our friends and family were very generous in gifting us with lots of precious ensembles for our little punkin. The only thing we’ve actually needed to add to our collection thus far were baby mitts, socks and pajamas. I tried to hold tight to my less is more fun principles, but alas I could not help myself entirely from the temptation of buying teeny tiny pieces of sweetness.

I first fell victim at my friends’ yard sale. We had yet to receive confirmation one way or the other, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to buy a few neutral(ish) onsies.

Yard Sale (Carters)

Yard Sale total: I can’t remember. It was not much. Our friends actually offered to just give us the clothes, but they were putting the proceeds towards a charity so I figured I could cough up a buck or two.

This will probably be the 1st and last time I hunt down baby gear at a yard sale. I like the idea of it, just not enough to get up before the sun rises and forfeit all the time and gas driving around town.

Then I did not buy anything for a long time. If I’m honest it was less about simplicity or frugality and more about my fear of jinxing it. I caved just once before Leila arrived and bought two dresses.

Zulily (Violet + Moss)

Zulily total: $30.93

I first learned of Zulily via a friends FB post. There are tons of great brands, including lots of organically grown and fairly traded items such as these adorable dresses. The S & H is a bit much if you’re only buying a couple of items (which significantly brings down the overall savings), though it is a one and done fee for the day or weekend – good news if you see several items you’d like to purchase. It’s been my observation that even with the great discounts, like restaurant.com or other deal sites, it is important to remember that I am still spending money and I constantly need to ask myself whether it is something we really truly need.

My friend actually wrote a post about Zulily – check it out!

A month or two after Leila was born I made a run to Marshall’s and T.J. Maxx in hopes of adding one or two nursing friendly items from my wardrobe. I walked out with these.

T.J. Maxx (Savannah & Carters)

T.J. Maxx total: $16.23 ($11.91 + $4.32)

Not bad. Not great. I find places like this a bit overwhelming and tend to only venture in when I’m looking for a specific type of item. I don’t think that will change.

Then I used a coupon as an excuse to wander into Old Navy.

Old Navy

Old Navy total: $14.53

Cute stuff and pretty decent prices, especially if you only shop clearance.

Finally, an afternoon on South Congress led me to the best possible place to get my baby clothes fix.

Charitable Resale Store (Carters, Old Navy & more)

Charitable resale store total: $6.24 + $35.30 to buy the following…

9 outerwear/sweaters (Ralph Lauren, Gap, etc)

6 pajamas (including a Janie & Jack piece, which I didn’t realize was such a steal until a friend commented about the brand on FB)

3 tops

3 dresses (there’s even a smocked one in the bunch)

1 onesie

That’s a grand total of $41.54 for 30 pieces. By far the best deal. Every once and awhile I pop into a store and pick up a few items (almost always 50% off their already ridiculously cheap price tag) for the near future when Leila outgrows her current bounty. Maybe it’s flawed logic, but on top of the frugal factor, this also seems to be the best option when considering the other stuff that matters to me.

What about you? Where’s your favorite place to build your baby’s wardrobe?

Reusing Is Not Necessarily Cheap

Items at our house often have two fates – getting chucked when they’re old and worn or getting passed on or donated when we’ve finally admitted we just aren’t using them or (on the very rare occasion) decide to upgrade. We are not wonderful in the reusing department. Tinkering with crafts has made me better at sometimes seeing the maybe potential of items, though Ben is not particularly fond of the ever-present collection of jars and miscellany that clutters the corner above our sink in hopes of eventual use. More often than not, we enjoy the clear opportunity to downsize too much to figure out a way to repurpose most items. Alas, many a good potential dusting rag has been lost to the trash.

Recently though, we have chosen to give several items a second life instead of abandoning them to the landfill or Goodwill. I think the nature of these endeavors was uniquely expensive. Certainly it costs nothing to cut an old undershirt into rags. That said, this has taught me that reusing is not necessarily inexpensive, or even the cheapest option.

First it was the oven. To upgrade the igniter so the oven would work again we paid $229.49 for parts and labor. We did not even price the cost of a new oven. I love our 1950’s double oven that fits perfectly in the cabinetry. To be able to continue to use it without the hassle of shopping around was good enough for me. Then it was some shoes. To buff and polish one pair of Ben’s dress shoes that seemed worn beyond hope, to repair a heel one of my rarely worn high heels and to resole and replace the insole of Ben’s favorite pair of brown dress shoes cost a grand total of $135.86. For two of them this was a steal. All of $100 went towards repairing the brown pair that we bought for about $50 (thanks to a sale). It was not easy to choke up that cash, but saving time trying to find another quality pair that would endure seemed worth the investment to give these well-loved shoes a second life. Finally it was my great grandmother’s old glider. Since my parents are the ones graciously paying to reupholster our upcoming nursery staple I won’t share the price. Suffice it to say, it would cost the same to buy a new one.

In fact, knowing we could buy new for about the same price, or maybe even less, for a couple of the items created a financial dilemma, at least for me. Ultimately, we decided that environmentally it made more sense to do what needed to be done to continue to use the items. It also helped that we were extending the life of quality products that were made well, or in the case of the shoes, could be upgraded into something even better. Just as importantly, in all three cases, we were able to use small local businesses with a focus on making sure their work was so great you would not have reason to come back to them. When all is said and done, we feel great about the money being spent, but trying to fight the message that replacing and upgrading is better is not easy, especially when it costs less to do so.

Have you ever paid as much or more to reuse something? How did you weigh the costs? Do you have any great reusing stories or ideas to share? (I need ideas for my collection)

Accomplishments of Sorts

I would like to take a moment to congratulate myself for doing some things that most definitely should have already been done. Is such a self-congratulatory post utterly narcissistic? Yes it is. However, this is a blog in which I am the sole contributor and editor, so despite my best interest I suppose self-absorbed banter has always been the norm. Without further ado, let me share some accomplishments of sorts.

  1. It took us two whole weeks to fill one whole kitchen trash bag. I wanted to cut our trash consumption from the usual almost bag a week to one a month. Looks like we managed to get closer to that previously unspoken goal in spite of ourselves.
  2. Instead of wasting a paper towel or napkin/two every day at lunch, I have packed along my own cloth napkin. Moreover, my lunch napkins were actually repurposed from an old high school skirt by yours truly. This means that my lunches are now officially 100% zero waste.
  3. I made a dinner using most of our collard plant that even Ben found delicious, though I should note that it also included an unholy amount of meat. But let’s focus on the positive – Ben ate and enjoyed collards!
  4. In the past week I have done yoga five times, four of which were credited to the monthly unlimited pass the generous owners of “my” yoga studio graciously sold for a mere $25.
  5. Our yard looks like people actually inhabit the house. We paid people to make it look this way, but it was an investment in a local business (win, win).
  6. I took a moment to finally remove the labeling from the jars I keep stowing away. Out of the landfill, helping with food storage and looking decent to boot.

There is so much that is not getting done, but I want to take a moment to bask in these victories, small as they are

Thank you.