Free Thinking

The business of bringing up children is filled with stuff: plastic playhouses, turtle shaped sand boxes, swing sets, soccer cleats, large plastic ride on toys, skateboards, bicycles, scooters, and more. So when it comes time to clean out the basement or garage, a well mannered mother may want to squeeze her eyes closed, clap her hands to her head and run, run away. Or haul it all out to the curb and hope the garbage truck will take it away. But landfills don’t need another plastic rocking horse, children’s easel, or bicycle to rust away in the stew of broken plastic party favors and other debris. Surely, there is a child somewhere who could use it. And, aren’t there enough sand boxes, booster seats, and pairs of youth sized in-line skates on this earth already? Wouldn’t it be best to find someone who could use your family’s outgrown gear? Wouldn’t it be better to use your neighbor’s gently used hand-me-down instead of rushing out to buy the newest baby swing? Not only does everyone save money, but we send a message to the retailers and creators of cheap plastic kids’ stuff: “Enough already! The world has enough of your junk. We’ll just pass it around amongst ourselves now, thanks.” No one should ever have to buy any of it new again. Never, ever. Of course there are exceptions, like car seats, and things do wear out over time, but for everything else, go for the vintage, the tried-and-true, the hand-me-down. The well mannered mother who enjoys shopping can think of it this way: if she can find a serviceable second-hand sand box, the children won’t know the difference, and she’ll have some extra cash to buy some truly fabulous foundation wear or irresistible bauble.

It can take a little extra time and determination to find new homes for some items, so we counsel you to stay strong and we offer these suggestions: Offer it to a friend with younger children. Find a local consignment shop or Play it Again Sports. Try ebay, Craig’s List, or freecycle. Donate to Goodwill, Vietnam Veterans of America, Big Brother Big Sister, Sports Gifts, or Cradles to Crayons. If all else fails, leave it on the curb with a sign that says “Free!” and make somebody’s day.

1 comment:

RTP said...

Giving away the plastic stuff is like Christmas in reverse; the joy of gifts disappearing.

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