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New Homes for Old Pillows Hard to Come By

Being that our household includes two later twenty-somethings who still have a lot of things from college and from our parents, we have acquired some items from family members that have an unidentifiable and questionable age.

While there is nothing wrong with that for pots/pans, or baking sheets, it’s helpful to know how long someone had been sleeping on that pillow you found in the closet at your parents.

I was recently waking up with a sore neck, which I attributed to my pillow. So for Christmas, I was given a new one (#adultstatus).

But now I have an old pillow that I don’t know what to do with.

We already have at least 2 extra pillows lying around for when the occasional guest stays over, and we don’t have the room to be piling up pillows.

I am not going to make it into a dog bed (don’t have a dog), or craft it into throw pillows (no room for those), and donation centers don’t take used pillows.

So what is a person supposed to do?

I wanted the pillow to avoid a landfill end and was intrigued by it keeping a shelter pet nice and cozy. So, I checked almost every Chicago animal shelter’s website to see if they were accepting old pillows.

None of them do, but many took sheets, blankets, towels, and comforters, which is very good to know since we will be getting all new versions of those when K and I get married.

Here are the Chicago animal shelters that take various old textiles, but not pillows:

So I have a home for all of that stuff, but not my delipidated pillow. Now what?

Since we don’t have a lot of seating in our place, I am thinking that I might get some fabric and make a nice floor pillow with the stuffing like this one here.

Otherwise, there are plenty of other options for what to do with sad pillows:

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My First Clothing Swap

Have you ever looked at your closet exasperated and just said “UGHHHHHH!!”

Have you ever tried closing your dresser drawers only to have to shove a bunch of stuff down to get them closed?

This happens to me in cycles. I clean out my clothes, donate, and organize, only for several months later having to do it all over again. It is exhausting!

When I saw that the Sugar Beet Food Co-op was hosting a clothing swap, I was immediately on board.

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I tore apart my closet and dresser, pulling out everything that barely got worn, or no longer fit right. I had already had a pile of clothes that still were at my parents’ house, including multiple pairs of jeans I will never fit into again (sad day).  With the bags of clothes piled into the back of my car and I headed to Sugar Beet.

Upon arrival, we were instructed to sort our clothing by category onto tables.

clothingswap1

After everyone had laid out their pieces, we were then able to browse and pick anything that caught our eye (and was our size). My intention of attending the swap was not to get new clothes, it was more to offload what I had accumulated over the years.

The whole experience was neat because I was able to see other people pick up my articles of clothing and be excited about them. That was much more fulfilling than dropping off a bag of clothes at a donation center. I loved knowing that my pieces were exactly what someone else was looking for. Even so, not everything was picked up, so what was left was donated.

I did leave with one article of clothing though. It was a knit vest and it is so cozy warm that I have worn it for the last two days.

 

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The only thing I allowed myself to take home from the swap! 

With my resolution of reducing my clothing purchases this year, hopefully, I won’t need to be attending too many more swaps!

 

How To: Stop Junk Mail

Getting stuff in the mail is awesome.

Getting unwanted stuff in the mail is not.

 

We all have experienced it. You open the mailbox and find something addressed to you or the current resident (whom you have never heard of) and have no idea why you are getting this piece of mail. You don’t even know what this company is that’s sending you catalogs.

Besides just tossing it in the recycling bin, there are a number of ways you can keep yourself from getting junk mail in the first place.

The biggest thing you can do is avoid giving out your address, but sometimes junk mail will find you anyway.

Below are some resources you can use to be removed from all sorts of mailing lists.

 

paper karma

Here are some of my requests I submitted to PaperKarma. Who are you King Ranch Saddle Shop?!

 

Another way to combat the onslaught of unwanted mail is to find the sender’s phone number, any number you can find, and call them to remove yourself from the mailing list.

Be warned that it takes over a month sometimes to be officially removed from mailing lists. A lot of the time, a catalog or a mailing is already in production and printed with your name on it before you make the call.

On another note, as much as I love giving money to a good cause such as a charity or non-profit, be careful. Sometimes when you donate, your mailing information can get shared with (or sold to) other organizations. For example, post-election, K donated to an environmental organization and now we get TONS of calendars, address labels (SO MANY), notepads, and more.

If you are looking for more, check out my friend Celia over at Litterless who also wrote a great post on getting rid of junk mail.

Recycling My Running Shoes

Does anyone else hoard their running shoes? I keep them around forever and use them as my already-gross-don’t-care-if-they-get-any-grosser shoes.

After writing in a previous post about what to do with materials that are no longer usable to someone else, I learned about Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe Program that turns your completely destroyed shoes into Nike Grind materials for floor surfaces and new products.

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Last week I popped over to our local Nike running store and dropped off one of my oldest pairs of running shoes. They have no cushion left and the heels are all torn up inside.  No one is going to want those, but Nike does, and they will give your Sole Mates a second life.

Your Beyond Repair Clothing Does Not Have to Be Destined for a Landfill

conservation queen text

My cousin sent me this text message the other day.

It is a good question and while there are plenty of places in the Chicagoland area where you can bring your gently used clothing, there are not so many places to drop off clothing and textiles that are longer wearable or useful.

The U.S. EPA has found that 85% of all discarded textiles (that’s 12 million tons) are sent to landfills every single year.

USAgain

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USAgain has drop-off collection bins all around the city. They accept clothes, shoes and household textiles (like towels, bedding, tablecloths, etc) regardless of condition.

Usagain chicago locations


Chicago Textile Recycling

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Chicago Textile Recycling provides textile recycling outlets and fundraising opportunities for organizations, businesses, and municipalities. They collect used clothing, shoes, and household items for reuse and recycling, resulting in a diversion of over 2.5 million pounds of waste from area landfills annually.

Unfortunately, they don’t have as many drop-off options as USAgain does within Chicago and Cook County (as in they have zero). There is a drop-off box at their warehouse in Hillside just outside the city and about 20 locations within Lake County.


Patagonia Worn Wear

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Through the Patagonia Worn Wear Program, you can return Patagonia products that are well beyond repair to be recycled it into something new, or repurposed, by bringing it to a local store or mailing it in.

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The North Face Clothes the Loop

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The North Face Clothes the Loop allows you to bring in used apparel and footwear of any condition or brand and receive a $10 reward towards your next purchase of $100 or more. Items are repurposed for reuse to extend their life or recycled into raw materials for use in products like insulation, carpet padding, stuffing for toys, and fibers for new clothing.

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Other Options:

 

So now you know that your stained and ripped clothing can be used again!

How To: Combine 2 People’s Stuff in 750 sq. ft.

Moving day has come and gone!

For the most part, the apartment looks presentable, except that we have a few piles of things we are not sure where to put yet. In addition to those piles, we also have a recycling pile and a donation pile. Our building does not have recycling yet (there will be a post about this later), so I am figuring out what to do with it until then.

With the two of us having lived alone before, we had a lot of the same things, and we did not need to double up on them in our 750 square foot apartment. So some things had to go!

Here is how we did it:

  1. I pulled all my kitchen stuff out of the attic before we moved and we went through it all together, marking what we already had and what we needed. If we had doubles of something, we decided whose was in better condition and that one was kept. The one in poorer condition was to be donated.
  2. Better quality was pretty much how we decided a lot of things. I had a better couch, so K’s was sold on Craigslist. I also had a better bedroom set than K’s wobbly IKEA dresser. (That will be getting the boot soon)
  3. Since our apartment is pretty small we knew that certain larger items would not fit. These were donated or left in storage.
  4. When I moved back from DC, I sold all of my furniture and left it there. Thank goodness I did. We definitely didn’t need even more duplicates than we already had. I even sold a few pieces that I had pulled out of a dumpster, so I made a profit off those!
  5. If something didn’t jive with both of us or bring at least one of us joy, then it did not get to come with us.

There are a couple of things that we still have too many of though and that includes:

  1. Pyrex
  2. Candles
  3. Pillows
  4. Blankets
  5. Books

I personally think those are great things to have too many of though! Overall, we still have plenty of space to you know, live. So it is all good. 🙂

Bye Bye Bye: Donation Pick Up Day

Today, our donations are being picked up by Amvets (see earlier post for where everything else is going). So I got to spend most of yesterday afternoon hauling bags up from the basement. The majority of this stuff had already been piled to be donated, or had yet to come from my closet. Right now I have the basement divided up into numerous piles:

  1. To be moved with me
  2. To be donated to Amvets
  3. To be donated to Neat Repeats
  4. To be recycled

Luckily (sarcasm) we have a room in the basement that has essentially become our holding area of stuff. We just call it “The Room” and usually if anything is in there, it is meant to be donated, stored for the time being, or we just are not sure what to do with it.

donate pile

Here are some things you can see in the above picture that are heading out the door to someone else who may need/want it:

  • Alarm clock/ipod player from college that woke me up for the past 7 years
  • Some pots and pans that I am not even sure where they came from
  • 2 yellow Target pillows from college
  • Denim loveseat cover
  • My brother’s old bed spread
  • Old Christmas decorations that have to be 20+ years old
  • Lap desk that I did lots of homework on and occasionally use as a meal tray
  • Lamp base I bought at a garage sale in IN

We do not use this stuff sitting in “The Room” and I am sure someone else could. So I am glad my pillows will get to spruce up someone’s home instead of sit in my basement.

 

Where Is My Stuff Going? Donation and Recycling Centers

My move is coming up in just a few short days and I am starting to get a bit overwhelmed with what is coming with me and where other things are going to new homes.

I had to make a list of where everything was going just to keep track!

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  • Small Appliances– Amvets and Neat Repeats

I am in the Chicagoland area, so my list is based off of what is available in my area.

Do you have a list or know of a list of recycling and donation centers you have used in your city?