Reclaim the holidays

Reclaim the holidays

Customers at ReClaim It! and Community Warehouse Estate Store told us why they choose to give gently used gifts during the holidays and all year round.

Find more ideas to create memories in your life in our resourceful #holiday series. 

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Sam

“There are so many stories to be told through other people’s items. To re-gift them to another human creates the next chapter in the story.”

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Kyle

“I look for raw materials like reclaimed old-growth wood to make a memorable gift for family or friends.”

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Ann Marie

“I celebrate people in my life by giving experiences, homemade gifts and sharing my time.”

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Riah

“I love to create and repurpose with old items and give them a second life. This is also my favorite way to gift those who are special to me.”

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CK

“The chances of finding something unique are so much greater at resale places and I usually discover special things that remind me of someone I care about.”

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Lloyd

“I take friends out on adventures, make them mix tapes, or really anything I think would make them feel loved and appreciated.”

Think repair for the holidays with over 200 local shops

Think repair for the holidays with over 200 local shops

Did you know you can find repair shops all over the Portland region through an online database?

Portland Repair Finder is dedicated to helping more people fix more things. The organization makes tools, knowledge and resources easier to find, and helps tell the stories behind repair work. They believe that repairing things is good for the local economy, community and environment, and it is empowering and fun.

The creator of this online tool is Joel Newman. He started the website in 2017 to become a comprehensive access point for repair of all kinds around Portland. His background is in art and design - and bicycle repair.

 Joel (right) fixing a bike at a Repair Cafe.

Joel (right) fixing a bike at a Repair Cafe.

He said over the next year they will be revising the search and filtering features, as well as growing the database of repair shops and resources. The ability to search the site by item as well as by mode of repair– whether that's a needed tool for a DIY fix, expert advice or professional repair– is key to showing people the range of options available, and getting more people involved.

One of the cool things about repair work is its ability to add life to a favorite item or keepsake. If you get a favorite pair of jeans or shoes mended or restore a piece of furniture or jewelry that has been in your family for generations, it’s much more unique and memorable than buying something new.

Give the gift of repair

With the holidays upon us, now’s a good time to find alternative gift ideas. Look at who you plan to buy for this year. Would they benefit from a gift certificate from a jeweler, cobbler or for a gadget? Could a family heirloom be repaired, old photos be restored or a favorite outfit brought back to life through alteration? There are 200 businesses included on the Repair Finder.

And don’t forget about free repair events in the region. Both Repair Cafés and Repair Fairs take place around the Portland region throughout the year. Think of these events as an ongoing way to get small repairs made to keep your possessions in circulation and in use. The Resourceful PDX event calendar lists all the repair events taking place, along with other community events.

 



Find (more) holiday inspiration and creative gift ideas

Find (more) holiday inspiration and creative gift ideas

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The holidays are upon us - and that means consideration of how we celebrate the people in our lives.

We can choose to do things differently. Here’s information on two sources that provide ideas outside the gift box.

More fun and less stuff

New Dream empowers individuals, communities, and organizations to transform the ways they consume to improve well-being for people and the planet. They’ve been offering alternatives about gifting for many years, including extensive information and resources about how to celebrate the holidays in ways that are lighter on the planet and your wallet.

The SoKind Registry is a registry and wishlist service that encourages the giving of homemade gifts, charitable donations, secondhand goods, experiences, time, day-of-event help, and more.

Check out the gift ideas section!


Create memories, not garbage

Metro Vancouver, our neighbors to the North have a holiday campaign called Create memories, not garbage.

There is a collection of creative gift ideas, tips for gift wrapping and ideas for celebrating the season – all with the intention to create memories and reduce waste this holiday season.

Get inspired with gift ideas by price range too with the Merry Memory Maker.

Note: The specific places are in and around Vancouver, BC. Check out the Resourceful PDX map for local organizations.

Find more ideas to create memories in your life in our resourceful #holiday series. 

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The Buyerarchy of Needs

The Buyerarchy of Needs

Are you already overwhelmed with stressful holiday errands and overspending? Worried about getting buried in all the packaging?

Consider a new low-waste way to approach the holidays this year that might save you some money and bring you a little more joy. The Buyerarchy of Needs is a visual guide to remind you of your other options besides buying something new.

As you look over your holiday lists, take a creative moment and ask yourself:

Is there something I already have I could use in a new way? Could I borrow or swap to get what I need? Maybe a thrift or resale shop has it? Can I make it?

Intrigued? Resourceful PDX is your local resource for tips and ideas to make simple changes in everyday choices. In fact, the Resourceful PDX map includes community-based organizations that help residents reuse, swap, repair and share such items as tools, building or art supplies, household goods or other materials rather than throwing away or buying new.

Resolve to be a thoughtful consumer in the new year to save money and resources. Explore the website for more ideas and tips in our resourceful #holiday series. 

Learn how The Buyerarchy of Needs came to be by designer and illustrator, Sarah Lazarovic.

The Proof is in the Repair

The Proof is in the Repair

Rain Delisle from Indigo Proof gets her hands dirty with denim repair.

Rain sees herself as a repair crafts-person. She wants to help people wear their loved things longer. Her specialty: denim. If you thought your favorite jeans that got holes in the seat are goners, she’s here to prove you wrong and get them back on your legs.

After receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Boston, she moved to San Francisco and worked as a contractor for three years in the fashion industry repairing denim. With much trial and error, she developed her unique style and technique of repairing jeans - and it quickly became in high demand.

She began posting her work on a blog called Indigo Proof, a name she used to describe the blue hands she gets working with indigo and denim - the “proof” on her hands at the end of the day.

In December 2015, Rain moved to Portland to launch her own denim repair company, Indigo Proof Denim Repair. Portland was a natural fit for her business, knowing Portland residents are into a lot of unique things, especially repair as a philosophy.

I love to sew and get my hands dirty. I was interested in creating a niche for repair work I hadn’t seen in the market - a quality repair that lasts and gets better over time. Each pair of ripped jeans is a different problem to be solved and it can be difficult at times to find the answer, but that’s the fun of it!

Not just about Levi’s

Indigo Proof is in East Creative, an artist and creative space in Portland’s Central Eastside. There she has a steady stream of clients who have discovered her mostly through social media, who arrive with their torn jeans and a glimmer of hope that their long gone favorite pair can be able to be worn again. Her Instagram features a hashtag where clients can post and tag her in their wear photos - “jeans that have been repaired are a part of someone’s life, not just another pair of pants.” Depending on the severity of the damage, repairs can take anywhere from one hour to multiple full days of work.

“Raw denim starts as a blank canvas; each wearer creates their own unique fades depending on what they do in their jeans- like a fingerprint. No two pairs of the exact same jean will look the same on two different people- someone could keep a knife or phone in their front pocket creating faded outlines of their daily carry, the other could be a photographer and kneel on their right knee a little more causing accelerated fading in the knees. These little things determine how your jeans look over time.”

People “work on” their denim, meaning they wear in their jeans. Some of those people ship her their jeans from all over the world; New Zealand, Bahrain, Norway and the UK. These denim fanatics are lovingly referred to as “denim heads” and they even compete in global contests for fading a pair of jeans!

“Once they get to this worn-in and broken-in state, all that use can create thinning areas and rips- this is not the time to toss them after you’ve put in all that wear, they’re just starting to get good! I want to help people wear their jeans longer, so they can enjoy their old jeans as if they were new again.”

Get your jeans fixed

Contact Rain for repair rates, which are based on a full evaluation of what the jeans need to be restored. This year, she expanded her business to include denim alterations like tapering and tailoring, so Indigo Proof can be your destination for all denim services. She plans on growing even more this next year!

Chinook Book offers delicious discoveries

Chinook Book offers delicious discoveries

By Carrie Treadwell from Resourceful PDX partner Chinook Book

The arrival of the 19th annual edition of Chinook Book includes over 100 Dining offers, with new ones available each month in the mobile app.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner options? Check.

Coffee, tea, beer and wine? Check.

Pizza, sandwiches, donuts and ice cream? Check.

Some new and exciting favorites that are part of this year’s offers include:

  1. Breakside Brewery

  2. Spielman Bagels

  3. Bridgeport Brew Pub

  4. Besaws

  5. XLB

  6. Pollo Bravo

  7. Willamette Valley Vineyard

The Chinook Book highlights local, sustainable businesses that thrive in the community by giving back. There are over 500 offers in seven categories this year. The Chinook Book team spends time thinking about businesses and their industries and the approach and criteria with which they appear in the book. The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability and Resourceful PDX included!

Find savings by using both the print book and mobile app, available at local retailers and through school and nonprofit fundraisers. And don’t forget, every book includes a 12-month app subscription!

 

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The Chinook Book map includes many resources that are also part of the Resourceful PDX map

Back-to-school shopping: Think local, buy used

Back-to-school shopping: Think local, buy used

Get kids ready to go back-to-school with local resources. There are many places to buy smart to help save time and money.

The back-to-school shopping season accounts for about 50 percent of annual school-related spending and impacts approximately one-quarter of U.S. households. The average spending per household is $510!

While clothing and school supplies dominate back to school lists, the highest average spending is for computers and hardware. Here’s a breakdown of the average spending per family in each category:

  • Computers & hardware $299
  • Clothing & accessories $286
  • Electronic gadgets $271
  • School supplies $112

Look for local options first

Free Geek makes buying repurposed electronics of all kinds an option for any student with their focus on digital inclusion. Computer systems are the focal point of their thrift store space and you can also donate old computers and electronic equipment.

PDX Parent offers a list of the many consignment, resale and used clothing shops in the Portland region.

SCRAP PDX has supplies to create DIY one-of-a-kind items for school, like pencil bags from fabric, zippers and found objects, or to customize last year’s backpacks by adding sew-on patches or letters. They have paper of all colors and sizes, markers, pens, colored pencils, plus so much more.

If you are you interested in diving into more about back to school spending, there’s a survey about insights on spending and shopping trends. In the current survey, 98 percent of people said they plan to buy clothing and accessories and school supplies.

Check out past posts about kids in school - and use the Resourceful PDX map to locate resources near you.

10 things to do today to reduce your waste

10 things to do today to reduce your waste

Jenica Barrett from Zero Waste Wisdom shares her insights for creating less waste.

Jenica Barrett started a new, personal journey that began with a six-month challenge. That was three years ago and it is now part of her everyday life. The challenge she set out to complete was a waste audit - where you gather your trash to tally, weigh and itemize for a week or a month.

She was a college student back then and now as a graduate student, she leads workshops and presentations about her zero-waste lifestyle.

I see myself as someone fortunate enough to educate others on the environmental impacts of our actions collectively and to provide resources for them to adjust their lifestyles for the better. I do this by dedicating a vast amount of time to keeping my blog up-to-date and offering local workshops. I provide information that anyone can apply to their own life, or they can adapt my suggestions to meet their current needs. Face-to-face interaction is also highly impactful which is why I focus a lot of time promoting the idea of waste reduction and environmental stewardship in my local community.

Rethinking how to create less waste is the goal. This can be purchasing a durable coffee mug from a resale or thrift store to buying dried cranberries from the bulk section at your local grocery store.

Ask yourself questions before a purchase, such as:

  • Do I already have something that can do the job?
  • Can I buy this second hand?
  • Is there a more durable option?
  • Can I borrow it from someone?

We all have habits – some good, some not so good – that we choose to do. What we do with our waste – recycle, compost or landfill it - is part of our habits too.

The average person produces 2.89 pounds of garbage a day per year.  That’s 1,054 pounds a year. Jenica chronicles her continued journey by showing the waste she produces each year. In 2017, she created 1.67 pounds, and it fits in a jar!

Jenica gets many questions about her lifestyle from workshop participants and online. This gives her opportunities to offer tips to reduce, reuse – and refuse. She said some people get stuck on bringing things themselves (bags, mugs, cutlery). She offers another direction if this is an obstacle – like purchasing an item in a different package. This type of shift is what opens the door to reducing and creating less waste. Keep in mind - the best choice is to avoid any product that is designed to be disposed of after one use.

The biggest thing people can do to avoid contributing to the plastic program our oceans are facing is to stop using it. Plain and simple. This can take the form of buying things in bulk, bringing your own container, and giving feedback to companies who still use excessive packaging. It is important that we start demanding change by being conscious of where our dollars are spent and make sure we are putting our money towards products that are good for the environment. We can’t kick our plastic habit overnight and I still use plastic products now and then. But unless we dramatically cut back on our reliance on disposables, these items will keep ending up in the ocean. It doesn’t matter how well we sort our recycling or whether we develop incinerators for our trash. If we are using so many disposable products, litter and pollution will continue to occur.

Here is Jenica’s list of 10 things to do today to reduce your waste:

  1. Invest in a reusable water bottle
  2. Bring your own grocery bags
  3. Bring containers for leftovers at restaurants
  4. Buy in bulk
  5. Make your own cosmetics
  6. Compost your food scraps
  7. Refuse plastic straws
  8. Purchase second hand items
  9. Switch out paper towels for cotton towels
  10. Conduct a waste audit

Jenica offers tips, advice, recipes and more on her website and through social media. Learn more at Zero Waste Wisdom.

Reduce, reuse – and refuse

Reduce, reuse – and refuse

Does your garbage can fill up fast with bulky take-out containers? Rethink how to remove plastics and single-use items at home, work or play.

Americans use 500 million straws in the United States every day! Do your part to reduce single-use items by creating a to-go kit so you’ll have what you need when you need it.

Start a new habit

Change your mindset and start a new habit. Those everyday items you use at home can find another life outside the home – that goes for replacements for napkins, cutlery, coffee and smoothie cups, water bottles, grocery and produce bags - and straws.

Try one new option and begin to be consistent until the habit takes shape. This can take the form of buying in bulk, bringing your own container or giving feedback to companies that use excessive packaging.

Remember to reuse (and reduce disposables)

Make a reusables kit for your car, day bag or bike bag. Include reusable shopping bags, a coffee or travel mug, produce bags, cutlery or small containers for leftovers. After you use something from your kit, replace it when you get home so your kit is always with you and ready for anything.

Having an on-the-go kit is good if you eat out a lot, make frequent stops at the store, or tend to forget your reusables (we all do!).

Choose to refuse unwanted items

If you don’t need the straw, plastic cutlery, napkins or a bag, say so!

Find more ways to ditch plastics at Zero Waste Wisdom. And if you really want to reduce waste, join the Plastic Free July challenge.

Put a spring back in your shoes and your step

Put a spring back in your shoes and your step

Julie Derrick, from JD Shoe Repair, shares how to get your shoes ready for warmer weather.

The weather has tossed us about this spring, but summer is on the way. Along with planting flowers and vegetables, long-awaited projects at home, and the prospect of outdoor fun, it’s time to think about your shoes!

When we switch out wool sweaters for breezy summer fabrics, it’s the perfect opportunity to switch your shoe and boot wardrobe for the season as well. Here are some tips for making that transition go smoothly.

  1. Store shoes in good condition. Look over all the shoes and boots you’ve worn most during the heavy weather. If they are basically in good shape, you can clean them yourself or take them to your local cobbler for a professional clean/shine/conditioning treatment.
  2. Seek professional help. Some things your cobbler can help you assess and repair include run-down heels, water or salt marks, holes in soles, edges coming unglued, stitches unraveled, torn linings or broken zippers.
  3. Get ready for summer. For shoes that are about to get their day in the sun: Are your elastics and Velcro closures intact? Are the foot beds in place and complete? Are you missing a buckle or rivet? Are your heels worn down on the corners? Again, your cobbler can help.
  4. Shine those sneakers. Sneakers of all types can be cleaned at home or in a shop. One tip to keep sole edges bright; try using Shout! brand spray cleaner and a nailbrush or toothbrush. Mild detergent solutions can work well for uppers.
  5. Protect your delicate shoes. Suede and light color palettes are popular for summer; keep them protected with a spray waterproofing treatment you can do at home or have a professional do for you.
  6. Prep your bags, too. Purses, backpacks, and bags should be ready for day trips and longer journeys. Make sure your hardware, like snaps and rivets, is functional. Get those items cleaned professionally by a cobbler; we recommend making a few phone calls to make sure your cobbler does this, as not everyone provides these services (JD Shoe Repair does!).

The goal is to incorporate shoe care into your seasonal patterns, like any other home projects you do two or three times a year.

In the springtime, pull out all your summer gear and go through it as you prepare your winter goods for storage. While it is spring, get all your winter boots repaired and refreshed while you’re wearing your sandals and sneakers. Then in the autumn when the rains return, you are ready to greet the wetter season with dry feet in restored shoes and boots.

It’s a healthy cycle for your wardrobe, and you will be continually in touch with your shoes, boots and bags. Your local cobbler will appreciate you for spreading out the workload too, as our trade tends to be flooded in the fall and quieter in the summer. You can likely work out bulk pricing rates and expedited turnaround times too, as cobblers want to encourage this seasonal cleanup momentum.

Most shoe repair shops sell products they recommend for care of leathers and fabrics, as well as providing the services. Feel free to ask questions and request tutorials from professionals.

And remember to have a lot of fun in the sun!