Recycling a wardrobe = purge + donate + swap + sell

wrdrobeNow that summer vacation for both of my kids has finally arrived, it’s time to compile that list of “to do’s” that has been taking a backseat to kid’s activities all school year long.

Top of that list?… purging closets and drawers of clothing, shoes and accessories that are causing said closets and drawers to have stress fractures!  Yea… you know the feeling… that moment after finishing all of the laundry when you “attempt” to put everything away and it simply doesn’t fit in the “space” any longer.  Mine have reached that point.

First comes the purge. What is the rule of thumb?… if it hasn’t been worn in two years, face it… you won’t wear it. And if your children have outgrown it, truly… it’s over!  But many times your clothing is in great condition and you know it isn’t yet destine for the rag bag (although if you know it truly isn’t worthy, turning it into a rag IS a great choice for upcycling!).

So what are your choices? More than ever, there are plenty of them:

  • Ebay – everyone knows this one as “the original”… it’s still around and does a great job of buying or selling what you want or only want to get rid of! (*Hint: it’s best to sell in a “lot” of clothes – i.e. six size 4T boy’s outfits)
  • Craig’s List – this is the best way to localize a sale or search of items because you list by community (again, a “lot” works wrdrobe pilebest)
  • Freecycle – this list also centralizes items to specific communities and all items are offered for free, so you know someone who really wants it gets it!
  • Bigwardrobe – this site is brand new to the U.S. (after huge success abroad) and lists many high-end designer items for sale and SWAP.
  • Soles4Souls – this organization accepts donated shoes to distribute to those who simply need shoes.  (Right now there are 14 children’s feet safely covered in Haiti thanks to the generous donation of my own children!)
  • Good ole’ American garage sale – you’ll nearly have to give them away, but if someone wants them, they’ll buy them!
  • DONATE! – there is always a long list of community organizations that serve those in need.  This one is obviously my favorite because I’m not so concerned about making money… I just want to help those who are less fortunate and I find this the most rewarding choice.

Whatever you choose, just make it a choice that keeps valuable clothing and shoes from being tossed away. I know you have plenty to give… so come’on!  Let’s purge!!!

How to keep your birthday parties green!

bday ckeI hardly blinked and my kids’ birthdays were staring me in the face again! Besides the celebration of the two amazing days that they arrived, I knew it also meant lots of planning… for parties, presents, treats, favors and everything that goes with their big days.

I also knew that I didn’t want to get sucked into the vortex of waste… something that seems to go hand-in-hand with any celebration!  So, was I able to keep it green? You bet I was, and here’s how:

  • Gifts – only one gift each:  a new bike.  The outgrown versions will be donated to a charity so some deserving kids can ‘get their pedal on’ too!
  • Party – hosted at home, I pulled out all the dishes, the cups and glasses, utensils, serveware… every last thing.  Use of disposables: NONE!
  • Wrap – all wrapping paper was recycled, gift bags were flattened and saved, along with ribbons and bows.
  • Decorations – yes… I tried to talk my kids out of balloons, but they insisted… so I insisted on the biodegradable versions and they will be properly disposed of.
  • Waste – there was none.  At the end of the night, I asked my husband if he had taken out the trash… he said he hadn’t, but there wasn’t one piece of trash that was added to the can during the course of the entire party.  Even the cake box… recycled!nyln bag
  • Party favorsjust like last year, no plastic junk here!  I instead opted for drawstring tote bags (picked up at the local craft store for $1.99 each!).  They’ll get used by the kids again and again!
  • Treat bags – everyone at my kids’ schools traditionally brings a treat bag for their friends on the day of their birthday.  Instead, we gave their friends a recycled paper mini-notebook and pen.

Each year I seem to get a little better at this!  For every choice you make, there IS a greener, more environmental option… don’t let yourself go down the usual road just because it’s what you’ve always done.  That’s a route you don’t need to take.

Remember, “green parties” are NOT just for St. Patrick’s Day or politics!

In the aftermath of the earthquake… help Haiti…

haiti quakeTuesday evening we were all reminded about the true instability of our planet. When she decides to release some fury, it can have catastrophic consequences.

My heart is absolutely breaking for the people of Haiti.  They were already living with such suffering and struggle in their daily lives and now to have what little they possess destroyed and literally topple around them is just inconceivable.

It is believed that this earthquake has directly affected up to three million people… one third of the country.  The situation is absolutely dire.  The death-toll is expected to reach 200,000.  And sadly, we may never know the true magnitude and number of precious lives lost… there is a cohaiti bldgsmplete loss of human dignity because the bodies are being deposited into dump trucks, never identified by their loving families and hauled away. Truly devastating.

The need that exists is unimaginable.  Medical attention, food, water, shelter… even those who survived this catastrophe are in jeopardy if they don’t receive antibiotics for even mild injuries.

Today, please commit to helping in the rescue and relief efforts…

  • Text “Haiti” to “90999” to make a simple $10 donation to the Red Cross  haiti child

If you can do more, please donate directly to:

All are currently in Haiti… helping our fellow citizens of the world who so desperately need our help.

The devastation is unbelievable.  The need is immense.  Please help.

Mom Goes Green’s 250th post… a holiday review!

ornament recycleWhat a whirlwind this holiday has been! It’s hard to refocus after all of the craziness… and to top it off, this is my 250th post!  Ironically, last year’s post on the same date was my 100th post… 150 posts in one year!  I knew I could be a chatterbox at times but never imagined I would chatter that much!

The holidays didn’t start in a pleasant way with both kids getting horribly sick… vomiting and other intestinal problems that shall remain without description!  Our poor son’s bout arrived on Christmas Eve and continued into the wee hours of the morning, but luckily he rallied like a trooper and made it through Christmas Day.  And somehow Santa managed to sneak in between the “episodes”.  The way both of them were able to recover so quickly has made me an even bigger proponent of breastfeeding (yes, without getting too personal, I exclusively breastfed both of them).  There is truly something to be said for the way nature “built us”… it certainly gives us a healthy, strong start that obviously continues through life. This is also a likely testament to good eating and healthy food choices!

This year all gifts were given in recycled gift bags.  Not a single supply was purchased, including gift tags that were made from last year’s Christmas cards.  Every recyclable ounce of paper and packaging was most definitely recycled and our recycling can “runneth over”!xmas place set

I’m happy to say, during all of our gatherings, everyone pulled out the real dishes, silverware and glassware.  No disposables to add to landfills… and that definitely made me happy!  I don’t know if it’s my influence or our families simply didn’t want to deal with my complaining, but either way… I was happy with the outcome!

I am grateful for the generosity of our families but simultaneously cringing at the way the corner of our dining room looks like a toy store due to all of the yet-to-be-unpackaged gifts!  The upside is that both of our kids have agreed that it is beyond due time to clear out all of the toys they’ve outgrown and give them to children who aren’t nearly as fortunate as they are.  I think the entire family will be taking an inventory and making some generous donations (and I hope you will too).

We also gave only gifts that were on wish-lists.  Those without wish-lists received gift cards or good ‘ole cashola!  And who can complain about that?  I just don’t think it makes sense to buy something for someone just because we think we’re supposed to give them something.  It just seems wasteful to give someone something that will clutter a house… that’s certainly no gift!

Last year we were gifted with unseasonably warm weather in late December (upper 60s in Ohio!?!).  This year we were gifted with a snow storm.  Our kids are ready for lots of snow time, but this simultaneously means I’ll have to contend with the naysayers “Global warming my a$$!” comments.  My response to this goes without saying.

chpstx basktOne of my favorite gifts this year came from my mother-in-law:  a basket made from recycled chopsticks!  I think she was as excited to give it to me as I was to receive it, but it’s apparent that our family is definitely catching on to Mom Goes Green’s way of thinking!

Soon we will also re-gift last year’s Kiva donation.  The money we loaned to a farmer in Tajikistan to purchase seeds for farming has been repaid, and we will donate the repaid money to another “working poor” recipient so the cycle can continue.  I’m also considering making an extra donation so one more family can receive much needed financial aid. Take a look at Kiva to learn more about this amazing organization.

Overall, despite the challenge of the “pukies”, we’ve had a wonderful Christmas and enjoyed all of our celebrations.  Isn’t that really what the holidays are all about?  I hope you created amazing memories with your family as well.

Sadly, I also know of a few families who lost loved ones, unexpectedly, during the holiday.  This, unfortunately, put life into perspective.

Here’s to love, happiness, family and friends that make life worthwhile… and cheers (and fears) about the NEXT 250 posts… I’m sure there will be plenty to say!

Green gift guide II: gifts that give back!

christmas globeTick, tick, tick… yes, the countdown clock to Christmas seems to be moving at warp speed!

I’ve given my list of favorite green gifts for when you want to give something tangible.  But there is certainly another way to go…  for gifts that don’t clutter up a home or sit unused in a drawer or closet.  These are the gifts that give to a worthwhile cause:  wildlife, nature or the environment.  They certainly need the “gifts” more than we do!

So, here are some ideas for when you want to give a meaningful gift that really counts:

  • Adopt an Acre of Rainforest and other of earth’s wonders (The Nature Conservancy) – for preservatiglobal warming bearon and restoration of some of the world’s most amazing places
  • Adopt an Endangered Species (WWF) – to protect endangered animals and their habitats
  • Adopt an Animal (National Wildlife Federation) – to protect additional animals and their habitats
  • Rescue the Reef (The Nature Conservancy) – for preserving an undeniably crucial part of our world’s oceans
  • Plant a Billion Trees Campaign (The Nature Conservancy) – for protecting and preserving Earth’s largest and most endangered tropical rainforests in Brazil
  • Give-a-Tree (Arbor Day Foundation)– plants a tree in one of America’s National Forests in honor of a recipient
  • Change the Present – you can contribute and honor someone by helping to restore a fragile ecosystem in Kenya, purchase carbon offsets, plant trees, preserve wildlands, adopt wildlife or any one of about 1600 causes of your choice!

If you want to give a gift that supports a worthwhile cause but still gives to the recipient too, consider:coral_reef

  • A zoo or aquarium membership – there are 218 AZA accredited zoos and aquariums in the US and all are dedicated to excellence in animal care and welfare, conservation, education, and research that collectively inspire respect for animals and nature (but please, no circus tickets!).
  • A botanical garden, arboretum or nature center membership – again, they dedicate themselves to the conservation and preservation of nature and the environment, and help us understand the delicate and important connection between people and nature.

And finally, one of our favorite gifts last year:

  • Kiva – Through their gift certificate program you can “loan” your gifted money to a “working poor” recipient of Kivayour choosing.  (We selected a man in Tajikistan who desperately needed money to buy seeds for farming and help support his family.)  Once they are able to repay the loan, you are given back your donated money to grant to another needy recipient… and this wonderful cycle starts all over again!

These should be the choices for the person on your list who has everything… on second thought, these choices should work for anyone and everyone… it is truly better to give than to receive!