reuse

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!

Recycling My Obsolete iPod

Today marked the end of an era.

I tried very hard to prevent it from happening, but sometimes we must let go of electronics that are 10 years old and no longer work.

And by “let go,” I mean recycle.

My Apple iPod Classic was purchased circa 2007-2008 with the money from my first job in high school. Together, we listened to favorite songs on repeat, and passed countless hours in the car, walking to class, and eventually walking to work.

 

ipod

RIP iPod Classic 2007-2017

The battery started failing a few years ago, but since I no longer walk to work, it was not getting as much use anyway.

 

Eventually, it stopped holding a charge.

Then it would not turn on.

I brought it to the Apple Store a few months ago to see if there was anything they could do. Apparently, my iPod is so old that Apple classifies it as “obsolete.” There was not even an option on how to restore my decrepit device. After some messing around, the employee did get it miraculously to turn back on.

Unfortunately, it was a last ditch effort that only worked for a few days.

Months later, I finally got around to bringing my iPod back to the Apple Store to recycle it. It was a super easy process, where I just filled out a quick form, and I was on my way.

Speaking of recycling electronics, I also recently brought a broken Fitbit back to Best Buy, which was also easy peasy.

Now I want to know how and where do you recycle your old electronics?

More information on Apple’s Recycling Program.

More information on Best Buy’s Recycling Program.

 

Designing Our Kitchen Table

I previously posted about our sad kitchen table and the search for a new table, or at least a table that was new to us.

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While I still continue to stalk Craigslist for a good replacement, we have decided to use my dad’s skills and the family woodworking business to our advantage.

And this is not the first time we have.

See below.

IU chairs done

Dad saved the day when my attempt at stripping these chairs proved futile.

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When the shop had some left over bowling alley lanes from a previous project, we bought some legs and made a bench for our entryway/door.

 

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We bought this coffee table on Craigslist and on a slow day, the shop refinished the scratched up top for us.

 

Basically, my dad will solve all of our furniture problems.

Except for chairs, he won’t make those. (Sidenote, new chairs are so expensive!)

The plan is to have him model our table off of the West Elm Lena Mid-Century Dining Table. Except instead of spending $450+ on the West Elm version, we are going to fashion our own out of whatever random leftover wood the shop has lying around.

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West Elm Lena Mid-Century Dining Table

 

Stay tuned!

 

Jean Repair Attempt Failed

I have known for a while that my attempt at patching my jeans was failing, and yesterday they finally bite the dust.

jean rip

There is no saving these babies at this point, but since it is about to be short season, this is something I will probably put off until fall.

Have you made an attempt to repair something, but were met with utter failure?

At least I tried. I got another good 4 months out of my favorite jeans.

Take Those Wire Hangers Back

Does your closet ever look like this after a while?

 

dry cleaner hangers

Or more realistically, does it look like this?

 

dry cleaner hangers1

Anyway, I pretty much don’t get any of my clothes dry cleaned, but K gets a lot of his shirts pressed, so we end up with a mess of wire hangers every couple months.

These hangers cannot be recycled, and if you can’t think of anything else to do with them, they can get quite annoying.

Did you know you can just take them back to the dry cleaners?

I have brought a bag to the closest dry cleaner (one that K does not even use) a number of times and have never had a problem. They always accept them!

You can avoid the wire hanger overflow by following a number of steps:

  • Don’t purchase “Dry Clean Only” clothes
  • Refuse the hangers from the dry cleaner
  • If you do take them, reuse them!
  • If you cannot, bring them back!

 

 

How to Be a Craigslist Boss: Part 2

The other day, I posted Part 1 of How to Be A Craigslist Boss.

Now it is time for Part 2: Selling on Craigslist!craigslist

Creating Your Post Is Important

Good Images

I personally think the key to a good Craigslist ad is all in the pictures. I will never even look at a post without an image!

Seriously just take some good pictures of the item you are trying to sell. It will take 5 seconds. Most likely the quality of the phone on your camera is amazing, so there is absolutely no excuse for bad photos.

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Nooooooooo. No images and terrible headlines (see below).

Effective and Precise Headlines

No need for flashy headlines here, just be specific on what you are selling.

Say it is a couch and you are between two headline options.

Headline #1: “Great Deal! Comfiest Couch Ever!!!”

Headline #2: “Crate and Barrel Brown Leather Sectional- Good Condition”

The second option gives the buyer much more information than headline #1.

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I could not resist this headline though. Very clever!

Keywords

On the same note as headlines, you need to use specific keywords in order to get people to view your post. At the bottom of the post body, add tags to help people find it when searching.

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Good amount of keywords and not keyword overload.

Be Specific

Include any details that you happen to know about the item. Some details you may want to include:

  • Manufacturer
  • Age and when you bought it
  • Condition (missing pieces, scratches, dents, etc.)
  • Smoke and pet free home (especially important for upholstered items)
  • Dimensions
  • Any links to the item if it is still currently being sold

Pricing

Shoot for a price that is not too low and not too high, but leave just enough room for buyers to negotiate down.

You can list that your price is firm or will accept OBO (or best offer).  The good thing about Craigslist is that you can always change your price later if you are not getting any bites.

Make sure to do some research and see what similar items are going for on Craigslist too.

Also, take into account the condition of your item. If it is broken or missing pieces, say so and price accordingly.

Being Safe

Safety is an important aspect when you are selling things to random strangers online. 100% of the time, I have never once had an issue, but still please be careful.

  • Do not post your actual address. Just use your zip code or a major intersection in the area.
  • If you can, schedule to meet in a public place such as a crowded, well-lit parking lot.
  • Have another person with you if you can (I have actually brought my grandmother before, but not like she could help beat off an attacker).
  • Do not accept PayPal, check, wire transfer or anything like that. Go for cash only.

 

What has been your experience selling or buying on Craigslist? Or any additional tips? Let me know!

More Resources:

 

How To Be A Craigslist Boss: Part 1

I have bought and sold a ton of stuff on Craigslist.

Past roommates have even been found with it and that is a whole different story.

In fact, I furnished my entire dining and living room in DC with Craigslist items for under $400.

Below are two Craigslist tables currently hanging in our living room.

You can even find love on Craigslist and not in the Missed Connections section. My cousin met his now-wife through it because he bought her couch. Crazy, right?

Right now, I am searching Craigslist for a TV stand and dining table, but seriously you never know what you might find, which I think is the most fun part!

craigslist

Since I do most of my shopping lately on Craigslist, I thought I would put together a handy little list of tips for those who are new to finding and snatching deals on the platform.

1. How to Search Through Craigslist Crap Like a Boss

Search Terms

As I said before, I am looking for a TV stand, but I pretty much never just search “TV stand.”

So many different items can hold your TV. Some of the search terms I use include: “buffet,” “credenza,” “sideboard,” “dresser,”  and “media console.”

When looking for my kitchen table I either use just “table” to capture every kind or “kitchen table” and “dining table.”

Additionally, you can use the pipe key “|” to include an “or” in your search.

The Map Function

I find this most useful when looking for apartments, or when I am feeling particularly lazy and am wondering what people nearby me are selling.

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Check “Posted Today”

If you are looking for something common, such as the kitchen table I am looking for, Craigslist is inundated with these items all day long.

And if you spend any significant amount of time searching for something, you will notice the same posts you saw yesterday after a couple pages. To see what is newest, you can check the box for what was posted today.

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Knowing How to Filter

I also like to filter my results by newest posts instead of by relevance and price. The faster you can reply to a new post, the more chance you have to score that deal.

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There are a couple other ways to filter out unrelated posts too. To remove spam, you can filter the price to a minimum of $2.00. I also like to only search posts that have images and to bundle duplicate posts.

2. Timing Is Everything: When to Search

Obviously, you can check Craigslist anytime you want, but there are certain times of the year that will yield more results.

  • When people move: at the end of the school year or the end of the month
  • After holidays: people get new stuff and need to make room for it
  • Weekends: for when people need to sell stuff ASAP

3. Location Matters

Some geographic areas are just going to have better goods than others.

Chicago being a major metropolitan area provides a lot more opportunities for there to be a bedroom set you are into and a lot more people to buy that weird coffee table you have been trying to get rid of.

For instance, I have a friend who was in the market for a vintage Coleman cooler like ours below.

cooler

He lives in Michigan and Craigslist did not have any listings for these type of coolers, but when I searched in Chicago, there were at least 5 available. I ended up getting the cooler for him here in Chicago and he picked it up the next time they were in town.

Stay tuned for my next post on selling on Craigslist!

Additional Resources:

Wearing Thrift for A Black Tie Wedding

We went to a wedding this weekend and it reminded me of the time I previously wore a thrift store dress to a black tie wedding.

Intrigued? Read on.


Before last summer, I had never been to a black tie wedding before. Fancy cocktail dress, long gown, what does one wear?

After some soul searching on the internet and perusing Rent the Runway, I figured I was just going to wear one of the five bridesmaids dresses I had acquired over the last few years.

The problem was most of those dresses looked very much like bridesmaid dresses and I usually don’t want to look like a bridesmaid in a wedding where I am not one (But that’s just me).

Not having any idea what I was going to wear, I walked into a second-hand shop near home to look around. Lo, and behold, on the mannequin at the front of the store was a hot pink Kate Spade beauty!

WITH THE

TAGS STILL ON! 

Before I got all excited, I had to remember the real drawback of shopping at second-hand stores. The item you find is only in that one size. Unfortunately, you cannot ask an employee to go find you a size small in the back, because there is not one.

I asked for the size of the dress and held my breath. It was a size that I could wear! I tried it on and it was love at first sight.

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K insisted on being cropped out of the picture

Everyone loved the dress and I felt super cool telling people I got it at a resale shop that supports a charity. 🙂

 

 

Vintage Shopping Schedule

It’s March.

Which means it is almost April.

Which means spring, summer, and warmer, sunny weather are just around the corner.

What better way to get pumped about the season than by planning out which vintage/antique/flea markets you are going to head to?

I have been to a handful of markets around the area, and I plan on checking the rest off my list this year.

Chicago

Randolph Street Market

Website: http://www.randolphstreetmarket.com/ 

Schedule: May 27-28, June 24-25, July 29-30, August 26-27, September 23-24 (there are markets all year round, but these are the outside ones!)

Admission: $8 (discounted tickets and packages are available)

Have I been there? Yes, and it is awesome. Highly suggested. Just pretend you are on Flea Market Flip.

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Randolph Street Market, photo: Eric Clarke

 

Vintage Garage Chicago Flea Market

Website: https://www.vintagegaragechicago.com/

Schedule: April 23, May 21, June 18, July 16, August 20, September 17, October 15

Admission: $5

Have I been there?  Yes, the market I went to had some cool stuff, but I did not buy anything. Also, it is held in a parking garage, so be aware that it is much cooler in there than the temperature outside. It was hard to hunt for treasures when my toes were freezing in my sandals.

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Vintage Garage Chicago Flea Market, photo: Courtney Laper of Courtney Michelle Photography

 

Wolff’s Flea Market

Website: https://www.wolffs.com/

Schedule: Sundays April through October

Admission: $2

Have I been there? Not yet. I will be making some plans to head over there on an upcoming Sunday.

wolfs fleamarket

Wolff’s Flea Market, photo: www.facebook.com/wolffsfleamarkets/

 

Chicago Suburbs

Kane County Flea Market

Website: http://www.kanecountyfleamarket.com/

Schedule: March 4-5, April 1-2, May 6-7, June 3-4, July 1-2, August 5-6, September 2-3

Admission: $5

Have I been there? Not yet, but I have heard great things!

kane county flea market

Kane County Flea Market, photo: www.facebook.com/KCFMARKET/

 

Grayslake Flea Market

Website: https://www.zurkopromotions.com/grayslake-illinois-vintage-flea-market/

Schedule: April 8-9, May 13-14, June 10-11, July 8-9, August 12-13, September 9-10

Admission: $7

Have I been there? Not yet, but I will be marking my calendar for one of those weekends.

grayslake vintage market

Grayslake Flea Market, photo: www.facebook.com/GrayslakeAntiqueMarket/

 

Southern Wisconsin

Elkhorn Antique Flea Market

Website: https://www.nlpromotionsllc.com/

Schedule: May 21, June 25, August 13, September 24

Admission:$5

Have I been there? Yes, and it is exhausting. Held at the Walworth County Fairgrounds, a map is absolutely necessary to remember where you have been and where you still need to go. Make sure you wear comfy shoes because you need them to keep looking for treasures.

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Elkhorn Antique Flea Market, photo: www.facebook.com/NHLPROMOTIONSLLC/

Have you been to any of these markets? Do you have any other suggestions? Please let me know!

Additional resources for shopping in Illinois:

 

DIY: Saving My Favorite Jeans

My jeans always rip in the exact same place. Right in the crotch area.

In the past, I have had my grandmother patch them up for me. Sometimes the same pair would get repaired several times like the one below.

While folding my laundry last week, I noticed my newest pair of jeans (over a year and a half old) have finally achieved the dreaded crotch rip. I was not shocked or surprised. This was bound to happen eventually.

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Besides this tiny hole in a not so noticeable spot, the jeans are just fine. There was no need to fret, I was going to patch them myself!

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My sewing skills are even more sub-par than my knitting skills. I can sew buttons and seams together, but nothing this extensive (is this considered extensive?).

Now was my chance to learn a new skill that I could continue to use for years to come!

First, I needed some supplies I did not currently have in my possession.

  1. pinking shears
  2. fusible

I looked up what pinking shears cost and they aren’t too expensive, but so far I have gone my entire life not needing them, so there is no point in making that purchase now. Instead, I chose to borrow a pair from my grandmother. #vintage

After a quick trip to Jo-Anne’s for fusible, I gathered all my supplies and was ready to go.

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First things first, I cut out a patch of denim from my now scrap pair of jeans. My plan was basically just to reinforce the crotch/thigh rub area so it would not rip any further.

 

I figured sewing the patch straight into the seam would help keep the fabric strong. To help, I used fusible, which basically turns your patch into an iron-on. I have never used fusible before and figured it could not hurt my pants any further.

 

Once the patches were ironed on, it was time to start sewing and this took a much longer time than I had thought! If I had a sewing machine this definitely would have been done sooner, but alas I do not. A used sewing machine is on my wish list (hint hint).

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Sewing the patches too frustratingly long. I started this Friday afternoon and did not finish until Sunday evening, but hey, at least I can wear my jeans on Monday!

They aren’t perfect, but I think I did a pretty decent job for my first try and I know I have more to learn.

Have you ever tried to patch your favorite pair of jeans before? Do you have any better suggestions for the next time this happens to me?