Reduce, Reuse, Recycle


My favorite kind of shopping for Lucien happens not in an upscale children’s boutique or a big department store with the latest shiny things and fashions. Give me a garage sale, a thrift store, a kid’s consignment shop and I’m a happy back-to-school shopper. 

It’s not just about saving money, though that’s key. I love the idea of reusing an item with a past, one that won’t sit in the landfill but will get new life breathed into it in our house. Thrift shopping, come to think of it, can even be a way to practice the yogic value of non-hoarding, or aparigraha.

Truth is, when it comes to buying things for my three year old, I feel a tad queasy at the thought of buying a new plastic thing at full price and taking it home. 

But a $3 castle at the thrift shop? A $20 tricycle from a stoop sale down the street? Well-loved Richard Scarry books for $1 a piece? Second-hand button downs and snow boots? A bag of hand-me-downs from a friend? Count me in.  If the book goes unread, the toy not played with, the shirt unworn, no big deal. 

For some reason, though, it’s the second-hand items that get the most wear and use in our house. 

“Be careful with this book, Daddy,” Lucien says, showing off his ‘new’ copy of The World of Pooh. “It’s from Value Village.”

You can think of it as non-hoarding. Or recycling. Or being thrifty. For me, finding second-hand stuff for Lucien has become a fun way to shop.

Where do you find your favorite second-hand children’s things?

Jessica Berger Gross is the author of enLIGHTened: How I Lost 40 Pounds with a Yoga Mat, Fresh Pineapples, and a Beagle Pointer (Skyhorse). She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia with her husband and three-year-old son. “Like” her author page on Facebook. Follow her on Twitter @jbergergross. Visit her at