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Green living: Hang on to your belongings

According to a February 2011 article in the New York Times, though consumer spending has picked up, some Americans have a greater interest in making stuff last. Holding on to clothing, electronics, and household items until they are worn out is not only g

According to a February 2011 article in the New York Times, though consumer spending has picked up, some Americans have a greater interest in making stuff last. Holding on to clothing, furniture, electronics, and other household items until they are worn out is not only good for the wallet, it is also good for the environment. Just think of the reduction in waste in your home alone, if you were to hold on to your items until they could no longer be repaired or used.
According to a February 2011 article in the New York Times, though consumer spending has picked up, some Americans have a greater interest in making stuff last. Holding on to clothing, furniture, electronics, and other household items until they are worn out is not only good for the wallet, it is also good for the environment. Just think of the reduction in waste in your home alone, if you were to hold on to your items until they could no longer be repaired or used.

Celebrate Earth Day by making things last

Let Earth Day be your inspiration to hang on to your belongings, become a pro at repairing, and live more simply and economically. Here's how.

Clothing

How many clothing items have you thrown away because a button was missing or a hem came undone? How much money went in the trash along with those items? Before you toss, pull out your sewing kit or sewing maching, if you have one, and repair your clothing. Certainly, there are exceptions -- for example, if you have holes in your shoes -- but opt to salvage your clothing instead of discard it. As for your kids, if you have more than one child, pass the older kids' clothing down to the younger ones.

Electronics

Do you really need the latest and greatest smartphone to replace the one you got last year? Is your two-year old laptop on it's last key or are you just itching to keep up with your tech-driven friends? If your electronics are in good working condition and do the jobs you need them to do, resist replacing them with a new electronic upgrade until you really need it. Further, if your electronics are experiencing technical difficulties, see if they can be feasibly repaired before you toss them out.

Furniture

Saggy beds or broken couches need to be replaced, but gently worn furniture can last years, and can even be cheaply updated. For example, if you're tired of your couch's appearance, put a slipcover on it, or buy some stain and refinish wooden furniture that looks weathered.

Autos

Unless your family has outgrown your vehicle or your car is in the shop more than it's on the road, consider hanging on to it instead of buying a new one, especially if your current vehicle is paid off. After all, why do you want another monthly payment? Take care of the car you have with regular maintenance and it may last for a couple of decades.

What are some things you choose to hold on to instead of buying the latest and greatest replacements?

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