Pay it Forward – Giving new life to old toys

IMG_5267I have never been a diligent recycler. I do my part though – I try to reduce my consumption and waste as much as possible. I take old clothes and things to the goodwill before throwing things away. And I love to upcycle things whenever I can. But now I have discovered a new way method for reducing waste and saving money. This may seem bland to you, but I just discovered it recently because I am a new mom. Hand Me Downs. In the past, the term hand me downs has possessed a negative connotation. When I was a kid, hand me downs were the kiss of death. A scarlet letter you carried around with you all the time. No one ever wanted to have to wear hand me downs.

But I am happy to report that we have breathed new life into the whole hand me down situation. As a new mom, I continuously struggle with what to buy and what not to buy for my daughter. I learned early that she is more interested in random things like spatulas and water bottles than the latest and greatest toys out there. So I have avoided buying toys and and other baby things, because I have no idea whether or not she will like them. And during these tough economic times, it’d hard to spend money on things she’ll only play with once and never again. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way.

In the beginning, I would test out different toys and baby equipment when we visited other moms and their babies. I’d try out swings and bouncers and play mats, just to see if she was interested in them. It was a useful technique, because there was an awful lot of things that she didn’t care for. I returned so many things that she hated, like her bouncy chair and baby swing.

IMG_5274As she got older, I found that other moms and dads were eager to pass on their children’s toys and gear that were no longer being used. Things like booster seats, infant carriers, activity tables, and other toys. We’re able to introduce them to Aaliyah and see if she likes them. We keep the things she likes and pass the rest on to other families. It’s a wonderful trade off. Aaliyah always has new objects to play with and she is introduced to new learning opportunities. Some of which, I didn’t even know existed. I feel so lucky to have such wonderful friends and family.

I am sure that this concept is not new to most of you. But I thought I would share this concept with all of you, in hopes of reaching those, like me, who had no idea about it. The next time you are packing up clothing that no longer fits or toys that are no longer played with, consider the families in your life. Chances are, you know someone who could possibly benefit from them. Just give them a call and ask. It couldn’t hurt. The worst thing that could happen is they say no and you still give them to the Goodwill. Either way, you’ve done your good deed for the day. And the best part is, I’ll bet the next time that family is packing stuff up, they might think of you as well.

Pay it forward – that’s my new motto.

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