Saturday, March 15, 2008

10 outfits and 1 book for $37

Hanna Andersson, Old Navy, Gap, Children's Place and OshKosh--those are just a few of the brands I stuffed into an extra-large garbage bag while shopping at the Parenthesis Spring Rummage sale this morning. I've always believed in shopping the sales, but I see little need to venture into retail stores for kids' clothes and toys these days. With so many families in Oak Park, the quality and prices I can find at community rummage sales really can't be beat.

But it isn't just economics that has me purchasing barely-worn embroidered denim and kitty-cat pajamas for my young-uns. Ecologically speaking, reusing children's stuff makes sense too. The world doesn't need to manufacture plastic for yet another high chair or Cozy Coupe (and pump enough oil to ship it here from China).

That's why our high chair is a Freecyle find and Z's push-powered car was picked up at our synagogue rummage sale. Our toddler bed, Britax car seat, bouncy chair and Exersaucer are hand-me-downs and both my Baby Bjorn and my Hug-a-Bub carriers are on loan from friends. Even our plastic kiddie picnic table was a freebie--we swapped it for a mini backyard slide we'd inherited from friends.

With day care, preschool and babysitters, kids are expensive enough as it is. I don't need to spend a fortune on crap that we won't be using for more than a couple of years. That's why I was intrigued when Parent Bloggers Network alerted me to a new resource for parents who want to expand their baby gear sharing beyond their immediate circle of friends. Zwaggle assigns point values to children's items given away to other members--points which can then be spent on new used stuff. There don't appear to be many Chicago area members yet, but I'm tempted to join anyway since some items won't be too expensive to ship (FedEx is integrated into the site).