Eco Improvements 4: Reduce, Reuse

"I love charity thrift stores. Amazing one-of-a-kind pieces at terrific prices, and all of the money you spend goes to a good cause." - Lara Spencer


It doesn't matter how much money you make, saving some green is always reasonable and seasonable. There are so many advantages to shopping at thrift stores, that it seems like everyone is catching on. For starters the money saved is unbeatable. Sure, they may not be designer (but often times it is!), and it may not be exactly what you're looking for (that's half the fun) but skipping a pair of $60 jeans in place for a pair that cost $1.50 (and is pre-shrunk) is fabulous.
Thrift stores also offer unique items guaranteed to set you apart, and believe me, people will notice. There's something to be said about finding a treasure at a thrift store, and knowing there aren't 200 more on the rack.
Possibly the best asset to thrift store shopping isn't just the money saved, but where that money goes. Shopping at the Good Will, Salvation Army, or Habitat for Humanity ReStore guarantees your money will go to a charitable cause. Help your pocket book, and the local community? That will always be in style.
And here's the fun part: people will catch on! About two years ago I switched almost entirely to only thrifted clothing. No one thought my clothes were strange. Nor did they come off as "old" or "worn." On top of that, when I started telling people I was acquiring my wardrobe second-hand the reaction was generally that of impressed. Now of course some weren't so easily converted at first, but when they noticed how trendy and unique my clothes were, and how I always had something new, and still saving more money than them - well let's just say to date my fiancé, sister, and 3 of my good friends are all solely thrifters. And the more people you convert, the more you're helping out the local community, not to mention casting your vote against child labor, high prices, and shipping costs!


"Upcycling" is a broad term that refers to re-purposing something to make it useful again, or turning useless or junked items into usable ones. The idea behind it is simple: save money and help the planet by recycling old objects.
By recycling something rather than throwing it away, you are saving space in landfills and subsequent resources to transport and dispose of the item. By recycling a used item from a thrift store or elsewhere, you are saving yourself money and likewise supporting local business. Buying from a flea market, local antique or resale shop, thrift store, or Habitat for Humanity ReStore, you can help your local community or a charity. Also consider the fuel and emissions spared by not buying a new product that had to be shipped from a different country!
Upcycling is wonderful because it broadens your horizons for decorating your home and outside spaces. A friend of mind reused tires as planters in her back yard, and they are now over flowing with succulents. Wooden pallets can be converted into furniture or wall paneling. A flea market table can be transformed into a butcher's block for your kitchen, and old records can be made into trendy wall art.
An old suitcase into a cabinet!

 An old CD case into a sandwich saver!

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