More and more people are buying clothes at secondhand stores -- not just cool college students trying to save a buck. Not only can you find trendy and one-of-a-kind items at a fraction of their original cost, you can be environmental while doing so. Recycling is as important as ever, but shopping at consignment stores means you are partaking in the “re-use” part of the “Reduce, re-use, and recycle” trifecta mantra.

A couple years ago, teenager Jocelyn (pictured below) found a lovely, Grecian style navy dress from Goodwill for $6, marked down from the already amazing low price of $12! After having it dry-cleaned and a tiny hole mended, her grand total cost was $28, quite a bargain for a formal ball gown she may or may not wear again after one school dance. Jocelyn may even consign this dress for a small profit, and then someone else will benefit, without spending a fortune. Wikipedia explains how this “recommerce industry” is a “collaborative consumption movement (that) encourages consumers to live in a collective sharing economy.” In short, it’s another great way to practice sustainability!

In addition to haunting classic thrift stores like Salvation Army, Goodwill, and St. Paul’s, or eclectic secondhand stores at college campuses, or that nifty neighborhood in Portland, for example, more savvy shoppers have expanded their searches to resale websites like ThredUp and Poshmark, where, unlike eBay, you ship clothes you no longer want, free of charge, and they’ll do the work for you -- photographing, marketing, and handling payment transactions, while you get a portion of the proceeds. Items that don’t sell in the end can actually be recycled for things like carpet or pillow stuffing. For a resource guide on Central Contra Costa County thrift stores, recycling centers, and more, go to Local%203R%20Resource%20Handout%209-2017.pdf

Walnut Creek recently opened their hip new brick and mortar ThredUp store (1450 Mt. Diablo Blvd.) in the former H&M location in Broadway Plaza and offer on-trend, name brand clothing, sometimes with original price tags still attached or in like-new condition. If shopping and consigning through their online store (www.ThredUp.com), you can order their Clean Out Kit, which comes with a pre-paid shipping label, so it costs you nothing. If you decide to opt out of waiting for shoppers to buy your clothes and prefer to just donate everything, they’ll send you a tax receipt. It’s a win-win for seller and buyer, and you get clothing that is stylish and affordable, without supporting sweatshops or sending stuff to landfill. Reducing clutter in your closets and drawers is a nice added benefit!

You may even wish to coordinate a closet clean out with our de-cluttering workshop, “Getting More From Less,” February 15, 10am – 12pm, at Rodgers Ranch, 315 Corsten Rd. in Pleasant Hill. Cost is $25. To pre-register, go HERE.

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