There are many things a person can do to minimize their impact on the environment. Some things will reduce garbage, others use less power, use less water, support organic agriculture, etc. Something not everyone might think of as "green" is to shop at garage sales. Since so much energy goes into the manufacturing of an item, any garage sale purchase that avoids the necessity of a new purchase makes a difference. So buying stuff at garage sales is good for the environment, but it doesn’t hurt the pocketbook, either. I also enjoy it as a no-guilt way to shop. :)
For many years, I really didn’t need much stuff and so I didn’t spend much time visiting garage sales. That was before Munchkin was born. The thing about kids is that they just keep growing! Fortunately, because kids also take up all your time, a friend gave me a tip on a group garage sale that happens once a year in our area. In one large, upscale neighborhood there are 150-200 families who have garage sales all on the same day. And a lot of them have kids!!! Of course, if you don’t have a goldmine like this near you, you’ll have to work a little harder, but it’s worth it.
I’ve been going to the group sale for 3 years, now (hmmm, could that be because Munchkin is 3?). I start writing my list months in advance and so far have never returned home without finding every item. This years’ sale was last weekend. I spent $42, which is the most I’ve ever spent. The most expensive item was the bag of wooden trains and track - I paid $8 for a bag of train stuff that was probably worth over $100 new. For the other $34 I bought (all for Munchkin): a kid-size sleeping bag, a new sleeping bag pad, snow boots, 2 pair of shoes, an almost new rain jacket, a fleece jacket,1 pair of shorts, 2 shirts, 3 pairs of jeans, 5 pairs of sweats, 6 sets of pajamas, 10 hangers, a junior size workbench, a fireman puzzle, and for myself I bought a strawberry lemonade and a chocolate chip cookie from a couple of enterprising kids. Do you think I overspent?
(Thanks to Katrina for suggesting I write this up as a post.)