This blog chronicles my life as I try to balance healthy lifestyle habits with my husband's penchant for pizza rolls and my daughter's desire to watch iCarly 8 hours a day. It contains a mostly humorous, kind, and somewhat spiritual look at everyday life and the people who live it.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Green Tip Tuesday: The Yard Sale
In New England they say Yard Sale. In the Midwest it's a Garage Sale. In a church it's a Rummage Sale. To a techie it's eBay. Yuppies go Antique-ing. Whatever you call it it's recycling.
On any given weekend a sign like the one on the left can be found somewhere in my neighborhood. Anything and everything is for sale and usually at rock bottom prices as long as you have cash and can take it with you. It's one of the greenest traditions we have.
Buying things new-to-you sometimes takes a bit of a mental shift. For years I couldn't quite get past the idea of wearing, sleeping in or on, or cooking with something that has been used by somebody else. What if they were gross? I'll never get all the dead skin cells out of that sweater! I don't want to wear somebody else's dead skin cells! That purse is gorgeous but it probably has someone else's purse crumbs in the bottom. Or old gum wrappers. Surely I can't be expected to use a previously-gum-wrappered-purse? What a little snob I was. The truth is that I'm more likely to spend time swimming around in other people's dead skin cells in a movie theater seat than I am in clothing/bedding I can wash. And gum wrappers? How about throwing them out, putting in a little baking soda, letting it sit for a few hours and then vacuuming out the purse to reveal a fresh interior and a beautiful new bag?
I have a deviled egg platter that I bought years ago. The price tag is still on the box: $18.95. I use that egg platter once every..oh..say 3 years. I don't think I've ever gone to a yard sale where I failed to see an egg platter, usually around $1.00. I spent $17.95 (plus tax!!) I didn't need to spend. Dishes, cookware, gadgets, tchotchkes, the minutiae of life that costs so much to buy new, both in dollars and environmental impact, can all be found at the yard sale.
About that environmental impact...according to the box my egg platter was made in (wait for it...) China. Big surprise, right? That platter had to be manufactured, boxed, and shipped all the way from China to where I purchased it in Ohio. It probably went by boat rom China to a port in the United States where it was then trucked to a distribution center where it was then scanned, inventoried, stored, then ultimately trucked again to the store where it was once again scanned, inventoried, shelved, then finally sold to me who drove it home and stored it for 18 years. Every time it's on a boat or truck it is using oil and every time it is being scanned and stored it's using electricity. That's a pretty big carbon footprint for something I have used 6 times in the years I've owned it. And with the advent of eBay, forgeddaboutit! There's no excuse for not being able to find absolutely anything you need no matter how obscure, probably from several different sellers!
I've really gotten off easy since my daughter was born because my in-laws are avid garage-salers and pretty much kept her outfitted in her baby years with their finds. Toys, clothes, books, they found everything for me so I didn't have to look myself. Now that we live so far apart it's up to me to become more recycle savvy and seek out used options first. It's virgin territory for me and I'll let you know how I do with it. My first order of business will be picture frames. I am embarrassed to admit how much I have spent on picture frames at Target. And napkin rings. And throw pillows. All things that I could have easily found used.
Also I'd like to acknowledge the people who take the time to have a yard sale as opposed to simply throwing away what they are no longer using. I'm more of a leave-it-on-the-front-porch-for-the-charity-truck-in-the-neighborhood-to-pick-up kind of girl but perhaps one day I too will find myself with a few tables set up on my driveway and my no-longer-needed household contents artfully arrayed.
Hey! I bet I could even wear my apron with the big center pocket!