Do you pass it on?

As we reach the end of another school year (in the UK anyway) some things are no longer fit for purpose, but can they be passed on? For more ideas about thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children see or

Clearing shelves so we can clear the floor...

Clearing shelves so we can clear the floor… Three weeks on this scene is calm and clean, and it’s possible to see the floor again. (BTW my sister did the food styling for this book, v cool).

It’s taking days to try and sort out the things the family doesn’t really need any more.

I wasn’t enjoying the trips to the charity shop – it’s just too painful passing on stuff that used to mean something to me – so ended up delegating it to my partner Pete. At lest using freecycle feels less painful, that way you know the collection of 20 brown and blue glass bottles; a dozen jam jars and 20 jiffy bags will go to someone who wants them.  (And yes, they all were taken.)

I cheered myself up after stumbling on to this fabulous thrift shop music hit. It helped convince me that for most things there is someone out there who will pounce on whatever we send to the charity shops because it’s “just what they’ve been looking for”. Here’s the video (check out that onesy!).

Other ways to pass on your own (or even neighbours) unwanted stuff:

Regifting (that candle I haven’t used might get used at someone else’s home)

Upcycling (I have mixed feelings about this, it’s only good when it’s done well)

Matching a thing you don’t need to a person/group who may want it (eg, a lovely picture book of the Amazon rainforest which I am sending to a nearby primary school – I checked with the head teacher first!)

Proper storage so clothes, footwear or equipment can be re-used when the time is right (eg, outgrown toys and clothes for the next generation).

Get more ideas: look out for the excellent book Zero Waste Home on simplifying your home and cutting all waste totally from your life by Bea Johnson. Or have a look at a blog – in addition to Bea Johnson’s I also enjoy ideas on My Make Do & Mend Year and the tips from the best recycler in the UK who champions a zero waste week every September & exhorts us all to think of food scraps heading for the compost caddy as ingredients that could be put to a tastier use.

bike-recordsDo the obvious
Just buy nothing more
(that way you don’t have to stick to the rule of one in, one out as recommended by Bea Johnson). Instead look around to see what inspires you and take a snap. This pimped up bike decorated with old 45s,  parked outside the local gym, made me laugh (see picture).

Over to you
What are you proud of having passed on? Or what are you hoping to pass on during the summer holidays?

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9 Comments on “Do you pass it on?”

  1. Nicolette Says:

    I held my godson’s 4-month old baby sister this week. She was wearing a little pair of dungarees that my younger daughter, now 17, wore when she was that size, and I had given to her family, originally for their first child. The power of the flashback made passing something on give something back to me years later. If you can pass on to people you care about, seeing your possessions used by them is particularly gratifying.

  2. helen marshall Says:

    i get angry about schools having the childs initials embroidered on their uniforms nowadays-it means they cant be passed on to siblings or others.

    • homemadekids Says:

      Hi Helen, that sounds a bizarre policy, I wonder if it’s something you can point out to the head teacher or governors and see if it can be changed. Surely marking clothes with a permanent pen, iron-on or sew on labels is perfectly good enough ID for any school? Nicola

  3. Pete May Says:

    I’m wearing Grandad’s clothes! Great thrift shop video. Going to charity shop with our old books is better than gym workout…

  4. Fantastic post; and thanks so much for the zero waste week shout out!

    One of my stories is when a friend complimented me on a scarf I was wearing. I thought for a moment; it was one of many, and it wasn’t a favourite of mine so I took it off there and then and put it around her neck.

    One of the things I’m most proud of is putting a box of ‘stuff’ from my Grandma’s house into an auction.

    It was really hard for me to let go of it, although it had been in the garage for about 12 years. Now I’m guessing the pieces are being loved by someone – at least I like to think so.

    I kept one necklace, a brooch (Both of which I do regularly wear) and a cute ornament (which makes me smile when I look at it).,. but I hear you on the letting go of things that once meant something, although there is something liberating in that too 😉

    • homemadekids Says:

      Hi Mrs Green – you are as generous with your info as you are to your friends! When I lived in Solomon Islands you had to be careful about compliments as people were kind-of obliged to then give you what you’d admired, but it’s still a very hard thing to do so well done for passing on that scarf. Good luck with Zero Waste Week, we’re going to join in. But how on earth I tackle toast crusts with my fussy (brace wearing) daughters I’ve no idea. Not least because the freezer is full of breadcrumbs and I can’t stuff any more bread and butter pudding down me…Nicola

  5. hee hee. I’m suddenly on the look out for a load of old marmite jars surely that’s living proof that there is a home for even the most dispiriting of items.

    I agree that freecycle is far less depressing than trudging to a charity shop. It’s so nice when you find yourself giving something you felt was just rubbish to someone who is bubbling over with excitement to get something they needed for free.

    • homemadekids Says:

      Hi Contessa/hackney hipster – glad you enjoyed the humour and the opportunity to match need and want! Good luck with your own searches… and if you ever need empty (clean) marmite jars let me know, my family eats a tonne of the stuff. Nicola

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