If you are a Consignor, you likely have spent some time – or will this coming weekend! – going through bins in your basement or your garage. We call it Purging Weekend around here! Despite my plan to Consign, I needed to dig into the spring bins for this past weekend for another reason — My kids have had it with long sleeve shirts! – and I can say that I’m thankful that the sale is around the corner.
Have you started making a list of everything you need for the season? We have printable sheets that we hope can help you organize what you have and what you need. For example, I am attracted to patterns, patterns, patterns! And while mixing patterns is in (finally), one can only match dots and stripes so much. I always forget that I need solid colors unless I write them down. Despite the fact that I’ve shopped this sale 14 times prior to this year, I make a list like this every year. I also trace my children’s feet on the back of these forms so I never miss a good deal wondering if something is too big or too small.
I’m getting excited, making my lists, and dreaming about what I’ll find – and how much money I’ll save. You?
“Our Fall 2014 Half Pint Haul Final Tally is a new record for us in savings. I was able to purchase 12 books, a Baby Cie dish set, 2 pairs boots, 22 pairs big girl underpants, 1 Party in My Tummy game, 1 pair blue suede shoes, another leopard faux fur coat (it’s a tradition now), 1 winter coat, 2 pairs snow pants, a handmade quilt, a doctor’s dress up outfit, wool mittens, 2 dresses, 12 shirts, 3 pair pants, 2 sweaters, 2 hoodies, 2 pairs of fuzzy pajamas, and an umbrella stroller (not pictured.) And, an Elvis pink motorcycle jacket!!! So many good brands in here, too: Gymboree, Hannah Andersson, Gap, Fresh Produce, Land’s End, etc. Full retail estimated value of the haul: $1032 Total amount spent? $156.50 #hpscore
Plastic Bag Recycling at the Half-Pint Resale
By Casey Schmitt, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Whether it’s old grocery or dry cleaner bags, plastic packaging pillows, zip seal sandwich bags or just a good old trash bin liner, buyers and sellers at this year’s resale are going to use a lot of recyclable plastics. By using a local drop-off location for recycling, you can make sure these items are recycled and help put unwanted, used plastics to new use.
Any clean, dry and stretchy plastic—like those plastic baggies those “new” pajamas were packaged in—can be collected at retail drop-off locations, including many local grocery stores. Manufacturers use the plastics to make new products, like new bags or plastic lumber for park benches and playground equipment. Recycling plastic bags, wrap and film keeps tens of millions of dollars of material out of landfills, feeds the Wisconsin economy and protects the environment!
From a plastic recycling industry perspective, it is strongly encouraged that consumer recyclers keep plastic bags, wrap and film separate from other recyclables and deliver them to a drop-off location instead. This helps keep the material clean and dry and cuts down on contamination.
If you find yourself with a heap of plastic bags once you are home from the sale, recycling is as easy as 1-2-3. Simply:
- Collect clean, dry bags, film and wrap in one large bag at home, being sure to remove any paper tags and tape;
- Find the nearest plastic film drop-off location in your area by making a zip code search on the drop-off directory at www.plasticfilmrecycling.org; and
- When you have a load of plastic bags and wrap to recycle, take them to the drop-off while you run other errands.
by Cynthia Bachhuber, Babywearing International of Madison
For all the bouncy seats, swings, baby gyms, and strollers that crowd your house, I’m willing to bet that baby spends much of her time being toted around in-arms. They love it. We love it…sometimes. Other times though, you need a hand for the toddler, or you have to do the dishes, or you just want to make yourself a sandwich. Enter, baby carriers. Parents have been using tools to keep themselves hands-free while carrying babe since the beginning of time. A carrier should definitely be high on your list of baby essentials.
Check out this breakdown of different types of carriers and what you may see at Half Pint. Also, be sure to like Babywearing International of Madison. We meet monthly to try out carriers and help each other with tips (third Saturday fo the month at Happy Bambino!). All babywearers welcome! (all of these pictures are of members of the club!)
Stretchy wraps hug your baby to you with three layers of cozy, stretch jersey. Brands you may encounter at Half Pint include Moby, Boba, Sleepy Wrap and K’Tan. There are slight variations in feel, but these all function the same. These types of wraps are great for newborns. They’re soft, snuggly, and very secure. On the other hand, stretchy wraps can feel quite hot (not a big problem for fall/winter babies). They are also only safe for carrying on your front and often feel unsupportive once baby reaches roughly 15 pounds.
The big sister to stretchy wraps is woven wraps. These wraps are woven, not knit, and therefore do not have the same give that allows you to pre-tie a stretchy wrap and pop baby in and out. However, woven wraps are much more supportive, retain less heat, and will last throughout your babywearing days. With a woven, you can tie it in innumerable ways to carry baby on your front, hip or back. Wovens are much less common at Half Pint, but you might come across one (look for brands like Wrapsody, Dolcino, Storchenwiege, or Didymos).
There are two types of slings: ring slings and pouch slings. Of these, a ring sling is a much more versatile and long-lasting choice. Ring slings are AMAZING at what they do. Lovely for tiny newborns, the easiest carrier for nursing, and perfect for toddlers who want up and down all the time. Ring slings are quick and infinitely adjustable for the perfect fit at any age. The down side is that it is a one-shoulder carry, so it’s not good for hiking or long-term wear with a heavier child.
Pouch slings are basically ring slings with the adjustability taken out. Common brands include Seven Slings and Peanut Shell. They fold up very small, and are easy to toss in a diaper bag or a glove compartment. However, since they are sized, it’s hard to share one sling between partners. Also, pouch slings work better for older babies with head control and who can easily sit on your hip.
Soft Structured Carriers
SSCs go FAST at Half Pint, so if you’re hoping to score one, head to the baby carrier section first. The most ubiquitous brand we see is the ErgoBaby, but other brands such as the Beco, Boba, and Tula are fantastic choices too. SSCs are quick, convenient, and intuitive to use – if you can wear a backpack, you can figure out an SSC. Babies can grow from an infant riding on your front to a toddler riding piggyback and enjoying the view. You can make an SSC work with for newborn, but they are much more functional when baby reaches 4-months or so.
Mei tais are awesome! They’re similar to an SSC, but instead of a waist strap that clicks and backpack-style arm straps, they have a tie waist and long shoulder straps that you wrap around yourself and tie. This allows mei tais to be shared between partners easily because you never have to readjust the sizing. You also tend to get a snugger, tighter carry than with an SSC. They straddle the gulf between wraps and SSCs. Pretty convenient, but also nice and cozy. Mei tais can be used from birth and can position baby on your front, hip or back. Brands you might find at Half Pint include Infantino, BabyHawk, and CatBird.
Front packs or narrow-based carriers are the term for the ubiquitous harness-style baby carriers (Bjorn and Snuggli are two brands you’re sure to see). These packs are safe, but most parents discover that they become uncomfortable quickly. They also generally do not provide great head support for young infants, so you may find that these are more like one-handed carriers than hands-free. That said, you can usually scoop up one of these for a song, and with an easy hack, it can become a budget-friendly, comfortable carrier. (Hack, you say? Check it out here: http://www.fineandfairblog.com/2013/12/narrow-based-carrier-scarf-hack.html)
You’ll find a whole host of frame packs by brands like Kelty at Half Pint. These are too cumbersome for day-to-day wear (try to stash that in your stroller basket or diaper bag), but they are a great choice if you’re doing some true hiking. Frame packs give babies a great view of their surroundings, keep you and baby separate so you’re not sweating on each other, and often include some storage. Due to their construction, frame backpacks are only for older babies starting at 10-12 months.
On great thing to remember is that baby carriers tend to have very good resale value. So don’t be too afraid of making the “wrong” choice. If you want to try something else down the road, you can easily sell what isn’t working anymore. Happy shopping and happy wearing!
A friend of Half-Pint sent us a great podcast (7/25/12) on what happens to all of those clothes you donate to Goodwill. Did you know:
- Non-profit Thrift Stores get so much clothing in donations that they only keep, on average – according to the podcast, 10% of the clothing that is donated to them. The remaining 90% is sold to textile recycling firms at 5-7 cents per pound.
- Of that 90%, only 15% is bought by the textile recycling industry (used to make recycled products). The Council for Textiles says that they recycle 3.8 million pounds of clothing a year.
- What happens to the rest? It’s shipped oversees. Some people estimate that America’s #1 export is used clothing. And almost everyone agrees that it’s destroying African economies (see here here and here).
And what about all of that new clothing?
- Americans buy, and then throw away, 70 pounds (or more, depending on your source) of clothing and textiles annually. Some say that textile waste is 5% of landfill waste. Some fabrics, like polyester, can’t be composted and don’t decompose well.
- The WWF says that 5,200 gallons of water are needed to raise 2.2 pounds of cotton – about the amount needed for one pair of adult jeans.
So what to do?
I mean, Goodwill is a good non-profit organization, doing good things. As is SVDP. And I’m a big fan of buying beautiful new things for my kids (and myself, let’s not lie). I’m not suggesting that we stop buying things at thrift stores, or even making donations, necessarily. It’s about being smart about HOW MUCH we do it – and where we buy what we need. The podcast host suggests that the best thing you can do is to share clothing in your community as much as possible, such as at clothing swaps and consignment sales.
Being a responsible consumer is such a complicated thing. We love finding thrifty deals, new and used, at thrift stores and elsewhere. New is sometimes necessary, and often good. And someone needs to shop all of that thrift because otherwise it DOES end up oversees or in a landfill. But it’s a good reminder and a great reason to consign or share with local non-profits the items that we buy (new or used!)
Want to read more? Check out this great Slate.com article, as well as Elizabeth Cline’s book, “Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion“.
-EC and LS
If you are like me, you start panicking the moment the first back-to-school ads come out. Not because you are anxious about school starting – alas, it’s about the clothes. He needs pants! He needs sweatshirts! He needs new tees, and underwear!
And yet today is the first day of school, and it feels like 90 degrees, and probably 100 in his classroom. The pants and sweatshirts frantically purchased at the store? Still in a bag. Not needed for at least a week or two.
So, save yourself some time and some money – and shop Back-To-School at Half-Pint Resale FIRST. After the sale this weekend, you can take better stock of what you still need, AND get a lot more out of your budget. You’ve got time!
Have you checked out Hulafrog yet? It’s an awesome go-to guide for things to do with kids in the Madison area! Visit madison.hulafrog.com to see what is going on, and don’t forget to subscribe to their newsletter and get their Our Pick emails & The Weekend Guide to find out about can’t miss activities, deals and events for families. Your kids will thank you for it!
Hulafrog is a Fall 2012 Half-Pint Resale sponsor – so go check them out! (Say hi from us while you are there…)
Some of you may have met Attorney Heather Hazelwood at the sale, talking to families about the importance of Estate Planning. We invited her to write a post because we think it’s a topic that a lot of people don’t want to talk about, and thought that we all might benefit from hearing some of her thoughts- We’re also excited that she has a new Facebook page to help keep us up to date on important legal issues important to families!
“Am I dying?” That’s how a friend responded to me a few months ago when I asked her if she’d like me to write her will. We both laughed because, thankfully, she was (and still is) in great health, but at that moment I realized how silly writing a will can seem to people who view themselves as being young and in good health. And, perhaps you are like my friend and think that writing a will and sitting down with an attorney to talk about estate planning (a blanket term that covers everything from wills, trusts, powers of attorney, beneficiary designations, and beyond) are things only old, rich, and/or sick people need to do.
And while there are many good reasons for those people (the old, the rich, and/or the sick) to take care of their estate planning, there are also plenty of good reasons for you to take care of yours – regardless of your age, income, and health. And, contrary to popular belief – estate planning isn’t just about what happens when you die. Here’s just a handful of the many things estate planning allows you to do:
Formally name a legal guardian for your child(ren)
- Establish a family trust to provide for your child(ren), spouse, and/or aging parents
- Ensure that your remaining assets don’t have to go through a probate court proceeding
- Provide direction on how you want health care decisions to be made about you if you can’t make them for yourself
- Give authority to another person to access your financial accounts if needed
- Create a marital property agreement regarding the ownership of you and your spouse’s property
- Give your loved ones the legal authority to actually carry out your wishes
- Communicate your wishes on whether you want to be buried or cremated and what type of funeral or memorial service you’d prefer
- Have peace of mind that it’s all settled and if the unexpected occurs, you have left a clear road map of what you want to happen and who you want to take care of it for you
Now, I know what you are likely thinking, “it would be too expensive to work with an attorney to get a will.” While I don’t know what other firms charge, I can tell you – we price our estate planning services as a package (including a will with or without trust provisions, powers of attorney for finances and health care, HIPAA release authority, declaration to physicians / “Wisconsin Living Will,” and authorization for final disposition, plus review of how your various beneficiary designations, and other documents/work as needed). Prices range between $600-1,300 per person and most bills end up under $1,000. Not free, I understand, but maybe not as expensive as you thought?
So, maybe now you are thinking about how you are too busy to deal with taking care of any of this. I am certain your schedule is plenty busy, but this entire process only takes 3-6 weeks. It requires only 2 in-person meetings and neither of them should last more than an hour. And, whether you are in a rush or need to take this process very slowly, we will do our best to match our timeline to yours.
And now we’ve come to the part of our conversation where you say, “fine, maybe you are right, but if I really need one of those documents, I’ll just use an online form.” I can’t deny that there are online forms out there at bargain prices. But here are my main concerns – they aren’t necessarily up-to-date for Wisconsin laws, and, they certainly aren’t tailored to your particular needs and circumstances.
“But, Heather,” you might say, “it’s not any of that; it’s that it’s too awful to think about what would happen to my family if I’m gone.” I totally respect that feeling. These aren’t easy topics. But, I can assure you that thinking about these things now can save you, your family, and your close friends a lot of stress and heartache later. Plus, part of my job is to make this as easy as possible on clients. And, you won’t believe how relieved you will feel when it’s all done.
My offer to you is this – Half-Pint Shoppers are invited for a complimentary estate planning initial consultation with me, Attorney Heather Hazelwood of Hurley, Burish & Stanton, S.C.
More about me – I am an associate attorney specializing in personal and business services, focusing on estate planning, family law, Guardian ad Litem appointments, and small business and non-profit organization and management. One of my passions is working with clients to help them plan for the future and manage life’s transitions. Before law school, I worked in the non-profit community and have lived in or around Madison for most of my adult life.
And, about my firm – Hurley, Burish & Stanton, S.C. is dedicated to providing clients with the comprehensive and thorough work usually expected of large firms while maintaining the personal working relationships and cost-effectiveness associated with smaller firms. The firm handles all types of estate planning. In addition, the firm is highly regarded for its family law, business law, litigation, and criminal law work. Thus, the firm represents a wide variety of individual and business clientele, including those with substantial wealth as well as those with modest means.
Still not sure? You are welcome to contact Lisa Seidel (one of the co-owners of Half-Pint Resale) who is working with me to do her family’s estate planning. ((You contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org)).
Now you’re sure? Great! Contact us! I look forward to hearing from you!
Attorney Heather Hazelwood
Hurley, Burish & Stanton, S.C.
33 East Main Street #400
P.O. Box 1528
Madison, WI 53701-1528
Phone: (608) 257-0945