Saturday, August 25, 2012

How the Environmental R's Can Save You Money - Part 3

So these are my favorite 2 - REUSE and REPURPOSE!

When I was growing up, it was a real treat to get new clothes for back to school.  Usually, I had hand-me-downs of some sort.  Same for school supplies - if the crayons were still in good shape, the colored pencils still able to be sharpened, and we knew where the scissors were, we didn't get new.  We reused.

Our local public school district started its school year this past Wednesday, and as I've listened to some of the moms in our area, they are all lamenting the costs associated with the new school year.  Many of them spending hundreds of dollars just to send a couple kids.  Everyone needed new shoes (regular and gym shoes), all new supplies, and practically a whole new wardrobe.  And at this point of the story, I ask "need?".  I know kids are constantly growing, and their sizes change quickly.  Trust me, I'm an expert on this - I have a teen-aged son!  But a whole new wardrobe?  Or nearly so?  Seriously.

These same parents often complain about the amount of crayons and pieces and other school supplies they have at their house that nobody uses.  Why?  Aren't they good enough to go back to school a second or even possibly a third year?

And what kind of lesson are we teaching this generation of youngsters about being wise and frugal consumers?

The best way to save money, hands down, after you've RETHOUGHT and REDUCED is to REUSE and REPURPOSE!

We've done lots of fun projects here over the last several months by reusing or repurposing what we have on hand.  Everything from scraps of fabric to bed sheets and pillowcases to old jeans that are too holey to wear.

One of the best ideas I've ever heard and read about reusing is a neighborhood kids' clothes swap.  That's right, not even money spent at a garage sale (which is still a great place to find bargains, don't get me wrong!).  This is the old hand-me-down bag routine we had when I was a kid.  One neighbor, who has older kids, passes their clothes along to someone with younger kids. If you'd like to repay your neighbor for their kindness, bake them some cupcakes.  When the clothes get to the last child, they are donated to a local charity.   Plain and simple.

If the clothes are worn out, find a way to repurpose them.  Our great-grandmothers did this by making scrap quilts.  Make yourself a scrap box, or two, or more depending on your needs.  I have one for denim that has been graciously donated by friends and family, one for flannel shirts and flannel bedding that is past its prime but still has usable pieces, one for cotton-type fabrics like sewing scraps and plain cotton sheets and pillowcases that also still have some usable bits.  To this I could easily add cotton dress shirts.  I've also recently started a box for t-shirts and old sweat pants.  I'll use these to make strips for yarn to be made into rugs.  And did I mention, be sure to shop your stash before you buy new?

And don't forget that donate part for items that are still in good condition.  With the economy the way it is, charities are really taking a beating financially.  More and more folks are turning to resale shops run by these charities to save money.  If you have something you can't personally reuse or repurpose, please find a way to give it to someone who can.

Shop your house and see what you can reuse or repurpose.  Be creative, and you'll be amazed at what you can come up with!

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