Happy Earth Day! And a Giveaway!

Happy Earth Day! Hope you celebrate by doing something green today! Even if you don’t get a chance to go out and plant a tree or clean up litter along a highway, there are still so many small things you can do just at home that will help make a difference. And to reward all your hard work being green, I’ve got my very first GIVEAWAY for you!!

So you’ve unplugged your nonessential appliances and scrubbed down your house with green cleaners. Now what? Now, it’s time to clear out the junk! It’s time to hit the closets and clean out the bookshelves. Out with the old, make room for the new, right? But what do you do with all that old stuff? Certainly not just throw it away.

• Sell your old books to a used bookstore. Pretty self explanatory. Get money for books you’ll never read again. A lot of these places will also take just about any kind of media-- DVDs, video games, CDs, vinyl, magazines. If it’s printed, they’ll buy it. Even if they don’t, there are a lot of used video game, music, and movie stores around that will.
• Consignment shops. To be honest, I hadn’t heard of these until pretty recently. I always thought you just donated stuff to secondhand stores. But getting paid a percentage of the price for your old stuff when someone buys it? I’m all about that!
• Have a yard sale. Get rid of all your old stuff and make some money in the process. Late spring and summer are the perfect time for yard sales. Live in a neighborhood? Organize a neighborhood wide yard sale. People LOVE community yard sales because they can hit so many at once, and the more people that come by, the more you’re likely to sell. Advertise on Craigslist or community websites for a paperless approach, or make signs out of old cardboard boxes. Just be sure to recycle them when you’re done!

Didn’t sell everything at your yard sale? Don’t have time to organize one? Donate your stuff.

• Donate old clothes, shoes, books, and household items to a secondhand store like Goodwill or the Salvation Army. Some of these organizations will take furniture as well, and even cars! Call your local organization of choice to find out what they accept and where the closest drop-off locations are.
• Donate old books to libraries. Even if they don’t put the books on their shelves for patrons to check out, a lot of libraries will use donated books as fundraising. I know my local library keeps a display of old books to buy, with all the money going to the library to use for general operating costs. Other libraries in town hold a “Friends of the Library” night a few times a year with the same idea—selling old and donated books to help raise money for the library. Call your local library to find out if they accept donations.
• Donate books and magazines to hospitals, doctor’s offices, fitness centers, or shelters. Again, call to find out if these organizations accept donations.
• Have professional clothes you no longer wear? Donate them to organizations like Dress for Success or Career Gear and help others get the clothes they need to obtain a job. If you don’t have affiliates for these organizations near you, call around and see if there’s a similar organization available in your area.

Don’t want to have a yard sale, and don’t want to simply donate? Host a swap!

• Call up a bunch of friends, coworkers, relatives, or neighbors and have them clean out their closets as well. Find a night you can all get together, mix up some cocktails, and go shopping! Through each other’s old clothes! It’s a great way to get rid of old stuff, find a whole new wardrobe, and enjoy some great company! All for free! Or at least for the price of refreshments.
• A Twitter friend just posted pictures last night of a Book Swap she attended in Chicago, so don’t feel limited to just a clothing swap. Clean out your movies, music, clothes, books, you name it, and trade with your friends!

Tired of cleaning? Maybe it’s time for a snack!

• Instead of grabbing that Snack Pack of pudding in the grocery store, next time grab a box that you have to make yourself. It’s much cheaper, and there’s far less packaging. Take 5 minutes to whip up a box instant pudding, divide it into reusable containers and pop them in the fridge to set. Ta-da! An easy snack to pack in a lunch. Get a can of mixed fruit and make your own fruit cups the same way! Better yet, cut up some fresh strawberries, melon, or have a cup full of grapes for a healthy, low cal snack. And when you’re done, just throw them in the dishwasher! I actually found my pudding cup sized containers with lids in the baby aisle at Target.
• Packing that pudding cup for lunch? Skip the brown paper bag and buy a reusable lunch bag. Look for one with a drink container, instead of packing juice boxes, or better yet, invest in a stainless steel reusable water bottle. Also, pack your own silverware, rather than using plastic. Afraid your kids will lose your good silver at school? Buy a cheap set at the dollar store to use specifically for school lunches.
• Invest in a filtered water pitcher and lose the water bottles. Don’t have room in your fridge for a pitcher? Get a filter that attaches straight to your faucet.

Just a few more tips, and then, as promised, a giveaway!!

• Have expired or unused medications in your medicine cabinet? Don’t throw them away or flush them down the toilet! Take them to your local pharmacy for proper disposal.
• Done reading the daily paper? Call your local animal shelter to see if they accept donations of newspapers to line their cages with.
• Turn that newspaper into seedling pots to grow your own herbs and vegetables. Plant them straight into the ground when it’s time to plant outside! I’ve got mine waiting until its warm enough to be planted as we speak!
• Recycle. We all know it. But we don’t all do it. If it can be recycled, do it! Even if you don’t have curbside recycling in your area, find a drop off place near you. Get a plastic tote with a locking lid and keep it on your patio or in your garage. Toss milk jugs and glass jars in it as you use them and drop them off when it gets full. Keep one in the house for paper products like newspapers, cereal boxes, and junk mail. I’ve seen a lot of drop offs in the parking lots of grocery stores, so why not load up and drop off when you head out for your weekly or monthly grocery shopping!
• Speaking of grocery shopping, bring your own reusable bags when you shop. Keep them in your car so when you stop by after work for that last minute dinner idea, you’ve already got them handy. Many stores now will even give you a discount for bringing your own bags!

And while we’re on the topic of reusable bags, how would you like a free one? A really cute, free one? Well you’re in luck. Because I just happen to have some to give away!

Super cute right? I’m only a little biased, because, well… I made it myself. I love being crafty, and the sewing bug struck again, so you guys get to reap the benefits! So here are the details.

• The bag measures approximately 19 inches wide by 14 inches tall, with 11 inch straps.
• If you can tell by the picture, I fit a box of cereal, a gallon of milk, a 2 liter bottle, and a loaf of bread all comfortably in it, so it's pretty roomy inside!
• It’s made of black cotton with a white and pink polka dot cotton lining, and features an adorable appliquéd cupcake in the lower right corner.
• The cupcake is made from pink polka dot cotton (the wrapper), white terry cloth (the frosting), pink glass beads (the sprinkles), and a red button (the cherry on top).

So how do you win it?

• Leave a comment on this post, telling us all one way you live green, or one way you’ll start living green.
• Comments will be accepted as entries for 1 week—meaning you have until next Thursday, April 29th, 2010 at 11:59pm EST to enter! (Qualifying entries will be determined by timestamp.) No duplicate entries, please.
• Want an extra chance to win? Become a Facebook Fan (Or I think they’re calling it just “Like” now) and leave a comment there as well!
• The giveaway is open to US residents only. Sorry! I’ve never shipped anything overseas, so I don’t really know how it works… But I promise I’ll figure it out and have another giveaway for everyone soon!
• There will be two winners chosen by Random.org, one from the blog comments, and one from the Facebook comments. In the event that both winners end up being the same person, a new winner will be picked from the Facebook comments.
• Winners will be announced on Friday, April 30th, and will have 1 week to contact me, or a new winner will be picked. So make sure you check back to see if you’ve won!

So good luck! And Happy Earth Day! Now go out and do something green!

• One last little disclaimer—This bag is handmade by me, a total non-professional, using my own time and money for the materials and the shipping.
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[Briar] . Designs said...

I go green by recycling everything I have. Even batteries. I make most of our food from scratch, so I have less boxes and plastic to throw away. oh, and I'm a light nazi (my husband calls me that) I use soy candles for light, or read outside until it gets too dark. and follow my husband around turning off all the lights he leaves on. He used to live in the barracks, so he's used to having one light/switch for his whole place. ^_^

sarahe said...

Love that bag, and these posts! I am a huge recycling buff--i even take recyclables from my office home to recycle them. and i love reusable bags and water bottle and i compost (even though I don't really garden, and I'm ALL about consignment shopping/selling. Thanks for the great posts on this, and happy Earth Day!

bigchief said...

wait a minute?? frosted mini wheats? You not only used my table as a prop, you used my food!! I demand cookies as a payment...

oneordinaryday said...

I love all your tips and ideas. And what an adorable giveaway. It's way cuter than my old ratty shopping bags. : )

Here's another reusing tip. I save packaging to use again when I need to send a package of my own. Even the paper grass in the bottom of my kiddos' Easter basket becomes packing material.

Kiesha Jenkins-Duffy said...

Love the bag! I've gotten much greener since moving to New York: taking public transportation, taking a coffee cup to work to drink water so I don't keep using and then throwing away the reusable cups and starting my own garden in our backyard!

Christine said...

I am an avid coffee and water drinker, and for most of my life I almost always had a disposable cup or bottle, never thinking about how much waste I was producing. But over the past few years, I've been all about using a durable, reusable plastic bottle for water and even tote around a travel mug to get filled at my local coffee spot if I'm on the go.

Cera said...

That bag is super cute! I get my coffee from 7-11 rather often and use their refillable cups. It's less expensive for both my wallet and the environment.

Lisa said...

I think I'm too late to enter the contest, but I'm going to comment anyway. :)
Love the bag, and I live green by taking my lunch to work in a reusable lunch box.

Anonymous said...

Where is that bag from? Where can I order it? Thanks!

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