Thursday, April 10, 2008

The downstream value of dresses

This morning, I swear my daughter grew again overnight. It made me realize, yet again, how quickly our children grow and how many resources support them during that journey.

I'm talking clothes.

Savvy moms have known for some time that hand-me downs save money. But there's definitely an environmental impact, too, from landfill space to manufacturing to the semis that take the clothes to Target.

I've been fortunate with both my children to have a network of friends and co-workers who are thrilled to remove those too-tiny tees from their children's closets. And their generosity helps not only me, but several other families, saving money and eventual landfill space.

I know four people, two with girls, two with boys, who shared their leftovers with me. As we had a son this time, our daughter's clothes were able to help four others we knew, with other items going to a resale shop and to our friends at Fresh Start of Indiana, which provides transitional services to survivors of domestic violence. Very few things went to waste.

This week, I sorted my infant son's clothes and found I have enough in good shape to clothe him through size 2T. I may have to buy a few seasonal pieces in an unexpected growth spurt (such as the three weeks my daughter wore 12M clothes) and PJs in one size, but I've got him covered, plus have two diaper cases full for Fresh Start clients.

I've also recently discovered Zwaggle, a Web site for exchanging children's items. I'll let you know how it goes. Right now, I'm trying to "save" for a double jogging stroller from there.

So here's my challenge: As you're spring cleaning, don't just toss old kid clothes, especially if they're in good condition. If you don't have someone to share with, find an agency tht could truly make use of the items for its clients. You'll make a difference for those families and for us all.

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