Feb 27 2011

give some, get none [day 277]

Yesterday, I spent the early part of the day running errands before work.  Most of them were driving the Infiniti sleigh, full of donations, to all of the required destinations for drop-off.  I started at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, dropping off my old back door, extra slate tiles and a bag of hardware.  I went inside to look for a new front door.  The style I want, the size and that fact it needs to be used is making it difficult to find one.  Yesterday I found 3, and 2 of which I liked, but I decided not to purchase one.  I don’t need it and I’ve spent a lot of money on my house lately.

Next stop was the purple thrift store in McKinney, benefiting the Samaritan Inn.  I dropped off a few bags of my stuff, a box of stuff from work and two bags from my friends.  Of course I had to go inside, but I did it with my new minimalist trajectory.  Here’s what I didn’t buy.  2 blue ceramic bowls.  I thought about buying them because we don’t use paper plates or plastic utensils, even when entertaining, so I tend to keep more of these in the house.  I have all solid colored mis-matched dishes.  I chose not to buy them, as I really don’t entertain that much and I didn’t need them.  Just saved $2.  The other thing I didn’t buy was a metal orange tray for $3.  My kids like to occasionally use a tray to eat upstairs, which I allow about 2 times a year.  We have a plastic red tray, and I didn’t need the orange tray.  No need for 2 of anything like that.  I probably don’t even need to keep the red tray.  I didn’t need anything in there, so I left without buying anything.  Time for my next stop.

I decided to go to Half Price Books since I had a pile of books I didn’t need.  I’ve sold books to them in the past and I swore I would never do it again.  For the number of books, the value of them as used books and the condition, I always felt financially raped when I left there after selling books.  I thought this time I’ll go in, sell my stuff and be prepared for any amount of money I might get.  I gave them 8 classic novels, 4 current magazines, 1 current novel, 3 cookbooks and other miscellaneous books.  23 pieces in all.

All of these are used, my best estimate is $40.00 out of pocket.  Since it was a weekend, Half Price was busy so I had to wait a little while for them to process my stuff.  That was no problem, as I wanted to look around a little bit.  I was hoping to find some books on hoarding or materialism, but to no avail.  I looked on the ‘housekeeping / organization’ shelf first.  Continue reading

Dec 16 2010

what are you getting your kids for Christmas if you can't retail shop? [day 204]

I’ve been asked a lot, “…what are you getting your kids for Christmas if you can’t shop?”  Here’s the answer you’ve all been waiting for.  I can shop, it just has to be pre-owned things, so here’s the plan.

Half Price Books. I got my kids each a gift card for $10 from Half Price Books.  They have a lot of used books to choose from, although I do allow my kids to retail shop, but only with their own money.  They love used books as much as I do.

Right after making this purchase, we got the Angel Tree list from each of their classes at school.  We always participate, but this year, we can’t buy the things on the list.  Instead of buying things on the list, I gave the cards I bought for the kids, then replaced them a week later.  Hopefully the cards might encourage the love of reading and buying things used.

Game Stop. Game Stop also carries used items, game systems, video games and accessories.  My kids both have a Nintendo DS and and an old Gameboy.  They together have an old Xbox and a Wii.  The great thing is that they enjoy the old gaming systems as much as the newer ones.  As a matter of fact, one of my friends saw my son playing with his old, beat up Gameboy and offered to give him a DS he wasn’t using.  I, of course, explained that he has one.  My kids are not technology deprived.  I don’t buy the best and newest stuff, I encourage them to use what they have.  I bought each of them gift cards with $20 on them.

Thrift store. I bought them some clothes at the thrift store.  They know their clothes come from there, and that’s the norm in our family.  This might sem a bit odd.  It’s not that I want them to not experience Christmas like their friends do, but I want them to hopefully think of it a little differently than what they learn in our culture.  Besides, they’re boys and they could care less about clothes, as long as they have some to wear.  The younger one is a little bit picky, but overall, they’re pretty easy in that department.  I got jeans, t-shirts and pajama bottoms.  I also found a camo water bottle and a school planner, both of which the kids asked for.  I also found a few cool books for them too.  Oh yeah, I also bought myself a robe.  See?  Even I’ve been culturally trained that I must have a gift under the tree.

amazon.com. There’s some specific books they both wanted, so we went online, found them used and ordered them.  Yes, they know what they’re getting, but that’s how we roll.  We don’t wrap anything either, we stick it under the tree in the box or envelope it was shipped in.  It’s more economical and environmentally friendly.

I posted a Santa Claus flashback from my blog last year and added a little bit to it this year.  It addresses some of the questions about gifts, Santa and kids, questions that most of us ponder when Christmas planning.

Dec 11 2010

AWESOME dumpster diving video! [day 199]

This video was created for a school project by a student at the Clarion University of Pennsylvania for a Physics of Energy and the Environment class.  It’s a wonderful video on the how-to’s of dumpster diving with some alarming statistics.  Check it out.  It’s well worth 8 minutes of your time.

Sep 10 2010

second-hand stuff [day 107]

My boyfriend bought me a sweater from Plato’s Closet a couple of weeks ago.  I didn’t think to try it on because I was familiar with the brand and it was my size.  The person that owned it before me must have washed it and dried it (high maintenance sweater) because I couldn’t even get my arm in the sleeve.

I needed to return it, but I didn’t have the receipt and with this being a second-hand store, what is their return policy going to be?  I brought it back yesterday.  They not only took it back for a store credit, but it was no hassle and the employees were extremely nice.

I’m happy to know there are retail stores that deal in second-hand merchandise that operate with fair policies and good customer service.  I exchanged the sweater for a sweatshirt and a shirt.  It was a pleasurable shopping experience, and within my shopping criteria of second-hand, or that word everyone hates… “used”.

What second-hand stores do you shop?  Here’s a few of my favs:

  • Plato’s Closet – It’s a good place for the trendier name brand stuff, probably good if you’re shopping for a special occasion, as thrift stores can have a lot more not-so-trendy stuff to weed through.  This is a business, not a non-profit.
  • Half Price Books – Again, a for profit company, but they keep a lot of books in circulation and out of landfills.
  • Frisco Resale – The store is small, but they do a great job with the space they do have.  All proceeds go to Frisco Family Services.
  • CCA – These are in The Colony and Lewisville.  The stores are huge and they have some great stuff.  The money goes to helping many cities in the North Dallas area.

There are many more in the area, these are just a few that I frequent.