As I strive to be a more eco-friendly mom, I’m always looking for new ways to help the environment while not depriving my children of the things they want and need. I’ve compiled a list of websites that will help families provide their kids with some great clothes, baby gear and video games—all of which will help cut down on waste and many that will offer money savings.
Thred Up — I was first introduced to this website shortly before Halloween for their “Costume Swap.” Since that time, I’ve discovered what a wonderful resource this site is. Since kids grow out of clothes so quickly, this is a great place to get your hands on gently used clothes at a great price. Here’s how it works: members fill a US Postal Service Medium Flat Rate box full of gently used clothing (or toys or other items), then they list the box on the Thred Up site. Most “thredders” will give a full listing of what is in the box—sometimes including a photo. Someone will then pick the box, paying $9 (or in some cases $16) plus $9.95 for shipping and the box will be mailed to them. When you see a box you want, you should grab it because the really good boxes go fast! I like this site because not only do I get great clothes for my kids (we got 10 Gymboree outfits in one box), but I’m also able to pass along our gently used clothes to someone who I know wants them! Plus, you get credit for each box you send and you can use your credits to offset the cost of boxes you buy. FYI: Using the above link to join will earn you a $5 off the first box you pick!
Zwaggle– Similar to Thred Up, Zwaggle is a website that promotes swapping of gently used items. However, this site works on a points system that they cleverly refer to as zoints. You can earn zoints by selling items on the site or you can purchase zoints for $1 each. In my opinion, you’re better off earning points by listing items you have since $1 per point is kind of pricey when you look at how many points some people are asking for their items. What I like about Zwaggle is that it’s organized in such a way that you can go right to the category you want and see if someone has what you’re looking for. If they don’t have what you’re looking for you can simply add the item to your wish list. If someone lists the item, you will receive an email notification. FYI: You will receive 25 zoints just for joining.
Swap Baby Goods– This swap website offers more of a platform for moms to find one another. Basically, people list items that they have available for sale or trade, and then another user will contact them about making a deal. The two people will determine the logistics of how the trade will take place- in person, or via mail. If the swap involves a monetary transaction, Swap Baby Goods recommends using Paypal to protect both parties. In addition, Swap Baby Goods does not take any responsibility for deals that do not work out, or items that do not show up, so it’s important to keep that in mind.
Plum Gear– Plum Gear is a website that allows parents to rent clothes for their kids. Instead of buying new clothes every few months, parents can rent 5, 10 or 15 items each month from designers like Kate Quinn Organics, Petit Bateau and Zutano for their children up to size 2T. The price varies from $33 a month for 5 items, to $59 and $84 a month for 10 and 15 items respectively. Since the clothes are monitored by the Plum Gear team, clothes with stains or tears will not be sent out. Instead, those items are cleaned or repaired and donated to foster care or sent to a cloth recycling center. I like that you get new clothes on a regular basis and never get stuck with that daunting task of going through old clothes.
Goozex – Goozex is a forum for trading your video games and movies for ones that are “new-to-you.” This is a great option for parents with kids who indulge in video games but grow tired of them—especially once they’ve beaten the game. Rather than continue to buy more new games, this gives people the option to swap with others. The same goes for movies. After creating your account, you list the items you have to offer as well as the ones you are looking to get. After that, Goozex finds the match for your transaction. Goozex works on a point system— assigning higher point values to newer and high-demand products. Members exchange points for games or movies. The only fee associated with Goozex is what they refer to as the “Trade Token” which is the $1.99 fee the buyer pays to Goozex for each transaction.
Freecycle– Freecycle is a network of 5,005 groups with nearly 9 million members worldwide. Freecycle Network™ is made up of 5,005 groups with 8,863,108 members around the world. The way it works, is that members list items they are getting rid of and make them available to other members for free. Members can also post items they are looking to acquire. I have seen an array of items listed on my local Freecycle board—from outdoor playhouses and other toys to power tools and books.You name it; you can probably find it on Freecycle. The challenge is getting to the member who has listed the item before someone else does. I love this site because it keeps perfectly useable items in circulation, and saves people a ton of money on buying new! Did I mention Freecycle is totally free to join and use?!
I hope you’ll have as much fun and great luck with these sites as I’ve had!