Shop Green, Not Black by Marla Stone
When talking about shopping on "Black Friday" I assumed it was for people who are in the "black" with their money, yet considering most people are in the "red" with their dollars it may be a foolish jaunt out the front door.
People always want new stuff but then there is always "buyer's remorse" and returning items seems to be as popular as buying them. My suggestion is if you don't have the newest gadget, control the urge and wait until you find it on eBay or craigslist, facebook marketplace, let go, or nextdoor, hardly used or unused. By the way, I always noticed that black Friday is not the cheapest way to go, especially if you travel from California to Arizona to find shorter lines. The best deals on any new products seem to appear in February. The best, best deal is to not walk out the front door, and notice that you own the item you want, somewhere in your garage.
I decided a long time ago to stop buying newly made products, and concentrated on finding items that were slightly used or even new that someone didn't want. I have been a thrift, consignment, garage sale and swap meet shopper for years. I also like discount stores where the items that were ordered new from places like Wal-Mart, Target and Nordstrom end up at the end of their cycle, as a still new item, i.e. Ross, TJ MAX, Big Lots, Marshalls, The Rack etc... I will ONLY buy something new if there are no other options. I will shop the discount stores a few times a year, to buy things I want that will ultimately end up in our dumps. I find a lot of new and great stuff shopping green. The other idea I like is to find a local clothing designer who makes and sells their own one of a kind designs.
I have been buying brand new shoes, clothing, designer purses, art, fixtures, vintage dish towels, furniture, household goods and anything you can think of, primarily from thrift stores for over 30+ years. I started in Old Town Pasadena, before it was commercialized, when there were old Vintage Thrift stores on every street. I bought dresses and shoes from the 30's and 40's before it was even cool.
I have bought numerous paintings by established artists that have appraised for over $30,000.00. I paid close to $150.00 for the lot. The shoes I find, you will never find in regular department stores, or even your favorite boutique, since often times they are unused vintage and or extreme designer shoes (often one of a kind). I have bought Gucci, Ralph, Coach, Louis, Dior, etc... in purses, wallets and date books for pennies on the dollar. Hats, scarves, socks, skirts, pants, suits, and gloves vintage or designer, collectible and gorgeous, Chanel and St John. I have never felt deprived, and have refused to pay the big bucks to have luxury and love for beautiful keepsakes.
When you buy animal, leather or fur goods please find vintage or used products. Do not buy new leather and or fur products. Get leather, fur or items made from living things from your relatives and or thrift stores. I do not believe in killing animals for pleasure or to look good. Purchasing new leather or fur goods only perpetuates an already horrific practice of killing animals for vanity. There are plenty of leather goods and furs already on the planet to be enjoyed without contributing to more death of animals.
I have lovely Kreiss furniture and a handmade Italian Iron bed that is a one of a kind with two antique marble nightstands. I saw the nightstands on-line for $300.00 a piece (I paid $120.00 for both). I sit on designer chairs, and eat at a high end dining table that is worth $10,000 new (I paid $700.00 + $25.00 for delivery). All my furniture, except some family pieces are from consignment and thrift shops.
I have always supported local "starving" and non "starving" artists. If I meet an artist that I like, I always commission a painting. I have some of the most delightful art in my home, and knowing the artist that created it is even more precious. I would rather pay someone locally that I know has to feed themselves, and their family, then to buy some mass produced modern scenery art, from an "art fair." Many people started turning towards "junk" art, that looks nice, but those "paintings" are copies, upon copies, upon copies produced by large foreign entities that pay their local artists hardly a cent to paint them.
I buy fruits and vegetables, not at Vons Pavilions or Trader Joes, but at local markets and farms that only buy from local farms. It just makes sense, and I can even ask the store owner where it comes from and they can say....."Jones Farm down the way grew those peaches." I grow vegetables and herbs anywhere I can find dirt.
One of the most recent ideas I've had to shop more green and cut down on pollution would be for neighborhoods to choose only one or two gardeners, instead of having ten or twenty gardeners driving in and out of your neighborhood weekly. Finding two of the best gardeners to serve each neighborhood would save money, and your lungs from all the extra pollution. Gardeners would love the idea, since they would save tons of money on gas, and be able to work one neighborhood per day. I would also make sure the gardeners use electric instead of gas run blowers. Even better, get rid of your grass and plant a native garden.
I think buying green, shopping locally and supporting our local artisans, who paint, sew, create pottery, and can make just about any item you dream of, is the way to go if you want more stuff! Be creative and see how you can shop or think green!!
Marla Stone is a Lifestyle Consultant and Professional Organizer
Serving Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego Counties!!!
Are You Too Organized?
As a Professional Organizer I am always surprised when I get a call from someone who says they want help with Organizing, only to walk into their home and find it overly organized and almost sterile. The client, although, seemingly "organized" is so focused on organizing and cleaning and dusting everything that they can't function in the rest of their life. They can never truly relax in their space. Chances are the client may suffer from either OCD(Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) or OCPD (Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder). OCD (clean type) as I call it, drives a person to obsess so heavily on cleaning they become compulsive about finding every germ, peice of dust and cobweb. I heard one lady scrubbed her bathtub so hard with abrasives she scrubbed the enamel off. That is overdoing it. I also heard about a guy who vacumns daily spending close to 4 hours a day with the tool. He values being with friends and being an enterpreneur, but his obsession with cleanliness and order has taken over. This is a very serious mental health challenge and the person may seriously want to seek professional help.
OCPD as described in a previous blog is the over consideration of a project, so much so that you lose the point of the task. The person has difficulty delgating tasks to others and holds on to everything, even if rendered useless. Clients with those traits will have a relatively organized space, but with something or some room just never really completed, and filled with stuff they do not use, want or need.
With clients that have these overly obsessed and compulsive behaviors it is a big step to allow a Professional Organizer in. Remember part of being obsessed and overly focused on something is the control. Allowing someone else to come in a delegate the movement, change and removal of your stuff is brave, daring and risky. Come on, it's your stuff.
It reminds me of George Carlton's skit on "stuff" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvgN5gCuLac
Please watch and entertain yourself.
Work on balancing your life, your stuff, how clean, how dirty, how organized and how happy you really are. Put things into perspective. Ask yourself what you truly value and what you really want to accomplish in life. If you value family time, and travel. Ask yourself if polishing your stove 3 times a week will get you more family time and travel, and if the answer is no, lighten up on the polishing.
So feel the dirt and grime and chaos and relax anyway!!
Here you will find an array of blog articles about decluttering your home, life and how to improve your business strategy
Marla is known as the Declutter Your Strategy™ expert. Marla earned her BA in Psychology and a Master's in Social Work and is the founder of