Last Economy’s Trash = This Economy’s Treasure

Once thought of as a case strictly for charity, reusing clothing items has become an integral and environmentally savvy facet of green parenting. Now that Goodwill clothing is ‘hip’ (the D.C. stores have a Goodwill Fashionista on their payroll), and we are witnessing the advent of the ‘frugal teen’, can a shift in thinking among parents who once turned up their noses at the idea of hand-me-down or gently-used options for children be too far behind?

It’s a fact that due to the recent meltdown on Wall Street, Salvation Army stores on Main Street are at risk of running out of stock because they are selling more items than are being donated. Further, the threat of a second depression has made Goodwill stores très chic. This just might be the silver lining in the economy’s dark cloud.

Seasoned parents will attest that when it comes to accepting or purchasing used clothing items, there are various economical, environmental and social benefits to be had. And because one can purchase an article of clothing, use it and then return the same item to the store for credit, the life cycle of the garment is lengthened exponentially, and it does not immediately end up at the landfill.

Secondhand clothing is only the beginning. Strollers, highchairs, cribs, playpens, toys, and all other forms of children’s gear can be purchased at gently used kids stores for a fraction of the retail price. Doing so supports local store owners, and leaves a minimal impact on the environment. (‘Minimal’ because with all of this using, at some point the gear simply has to be trashed).

With 3.9 million first-time mothers of children under the age of one shopping the maternity/infant/baby markets for the first time (2000 US Census), it is important that we see a skew in these figures for 2008 with at least some of these purchases being of the ‘gently used’ variety.

If there isn’t a used store in your neighborhood, click on over to Craigslist, eBay or the newly launched
+Salvation Army Stores
+How to talk to your kids about the economy