I’m going to be the eager beaver today, and I’m just going to say it. SPRING IS HERE! Sure, sure…technically, the budding season doesn’t truly begin until the Spring Equinox on March 20, 2014 – but it’s a beautiful and sunny sixty degrees here in Happy Valley today. We played outside, the windows in my living room are open, and I’m doing my best to ignore my weather app it’s snowflake symbol and the “1-2 inches” warning for tomorrow night. In my mind, spring is upon us – the beautiful robins hopping around our front yard agree.
I love spring for so many reasons – first and foremost being the commencement of nearly nine gorgeous months of running outside. Heaven. On. Earth. Another reason I love spring? SPRING CLEANING! Now, if you’ve been following my blog via The Animal Kingdom website, you may have already picked up on some of my Type-A personality traits, and my OCD-style thoughts on cleaning. Since spring is a season of renewal, I love nothing more than to spruce up the house, do some gardening, and get rid of things that are simply taking up space around our house.
In the vein of “out with the old, in with the new,” and in effort to reduce clutter around our house, whenever possible, I like to impose a rule upon myself. If I buy a “new” pair of pants, I will then need to pass a pair of “old” pants on to someone else. One for one. In addition, every season I like to go through my clothes and decide what stays and what goes. I make this decision based on the number of times I wore an item in the last year. If I wore a blouse one time (or less) over the last year, I think it’s safe to say that it might be a better fit in someone else’s closet!
The same goes for children’s toys, clothes, books, furniture, etc… spring time is an EXCELLENT time for thrifty shopping where your children are concerned! Our Valley is blessed with a number of amazing secondhand stores, and they all seem to burst at the seams with great deals and designs around this time of year. There are also two great seasonal consignment sales coming up in the State College area.
In effort to avoid “over-buying” – which I define as, the art of purchasing things that you probably don’t need simply because they are a great deal – before I even leave the house, I like to make a list for myself that includes only the items that I really intend to buy, and then I do my best to stick to that list and wear blinders while I shop. If I don’t see or look at the Gymboree 4T Easter dress that would look sooooo cute on Nora next year, I won’t buy said dress and thus her closet won’t be cluttered with clothes that she won’t be able to wear for another year – if ever.
Online outlets are another great option. I’ve found great deals on ThredUp and Craigslist. I’ve told friends and family, and I will tell you – if there’s something I want, I check Craig’s List first. Chances are surprisingly good that I will, at some point, find what I’m looking for. Our bedroom suite, Nora’s bedroom suite, her train table, kitchen set, toy shelves with bins, dollhouse, Leap Frog reader, and art desk are all secondhand finds. Why would I pay full price when there are people out there trying to get rid of exactly what I’m looking for?…and for CHEAP!
When I spoke with Lindsay and Jason (owners of The Animal Kingdom) about my intention to write about thrifty shopping, they were onboard 110%! They agree with the idea that the life of an item shouldn’t be limited to one family’s use – and the high quality items they choose to offer in their store absolutely support the secondhand movement. For example, not only are the incredible line of Green Toys made from recycled plastic and cardboard, but they LAST – from one sibling to another, and then from one family to the next. If you can share your pre-loved toys and clothes from The Animal Kingdom with another family, be green and GO FOR IT! The Animal Kingdom supports “family,” and they hope you will get as much life out of your toys and clothes (and money!) as you can.
Now, if you’re thinking you couldn’t possibly use something that someone else had in their house, or that someone else’s child wore previously… just think of how much less upset you’ll be when junior gets grass stains and spills grape juice on that secondhand sweater from the Gap, or when Susie channels Jackson Pollock with every Crayola product in house on her secondhand dresser. Live and learn… and then open your mind to sharing secondhand stuff this spring!
Have you shared your Animal Kingdom toys or clothes with friends, family, or people you just met? Have you made any AMAZING secondhand purchases? Let us know how you like to buy and share pre-loved items….
Katy Stager, proud mom and wife, is a fan of all things "active." She's a marathon running, swimming, cycling, hiking, art loving, community volunteering, book reading, Instagraming, Animal Kingdom shopping kind of mom who does it all with her little girl in tow. A Bloomsburg University grad, she now studies homemaking, successful childrearing, and thriftiness through the school of life's successful parenting program.