Recycling and Repurposing

So part of this lifestyle is to try to trade or barter for things that we need. It feels a little funny at first asking someone if they’re willing to barter, like your making a salacious proposition.  But you’d be surprised how many people are into this. My chiropractor, for instance, trades me a $50 adjustment for cookies. I trade my caramels to a friend who owns a lovely gift shop in town for credit. I do a lot of gift shopping this way. Win-win, I say!

In addition to bartering, we are also trying to buy items that we need at garage sales and resale stores. When we buy new, we try to hit the sales. This has been a particularly hard adjustment for me. I’m not really sure why. I venture to guess it’s because we are trained to believe that people who shop ‘used’ are hard up for cash.  Add to that, I have a great history of consuming. To steal a bad cigarette slogan, I’ve come a long way, baby! In the last couple of years I have outfitted my little girls in the most beautiful, almost new, clothes for pennies on the dollar.

My sister-in-law Stephanie has always been a fabulous resale shopper. Back to her Bay Area days, she would go to Goodwill like it was her religion. And hallelujah, sista, she scored almost every time and still does!  In fact, I will often tell her what I’m in need of and she searches it out. She’s our very own family Columbo.

This year for Christmas we’re giving each other a $10 limit for gifts. The idea is to find or make a gift that is more meaningful. In years past we have spent enormous amounts of money only to be overwhelmed by the excess. I have already purchased 3 of my gifts at garage sales. My self of old gasps at the horror of it! But the bottom line is, if you let your ego get all wrapped up in sustainable living, you are doomed for failure.

On a final note, lest you think I am a total freak, I must tell you that I am not in favor of everyone limiting themselves to $10 gifts for me. I quite love the extravagant business gifts that find there way to my door during the Holidays. So please, should you be one of those people who indulge me, don’t stop!


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