we heart shopping responsibly.

10 Aug

This year I’m going to have my own kitchen for the first time so I need to accumulate the various tools and gadgets necessary to make a kitchen function, but the thought of acquiring all this STUFF was making me sweat. I found a lot of great deals on huge sets of pots and pans and tableware, but all the packaging and processing and shipping and “made in China” labels were really weighing on my conscience. So I checked Craigslist and was pleasantly surprised at how good the selection was, both in Seattle and Pittsburgh. Blenders, mixers, knife blocks, vacuums! I’m sure the struggling economy means more people are trying to make a quick buck on their old George Foreman and that means that those of us who need to stock up are reaping the benefits. I bought a ton of stuff from a CMU student moving out of her apartment and it feels good to know that a struggling college student got my heard-earned cash rather than an evil corporation (see below).

But while Craigslist is great for the more utilitarian stuff, the home decor is pretty iffy. And while I know it’s vain and consumerist of me, I really wanted a new bedspread. I suppose the responsible decision would be to look for something handmade by a local artist on Etsy, but that option isn’t perfect either. Big stores are much more streamlined in their use of materials and shipping (imagine Ikea shipping 100 bedspreads vs. a local artist shipping them). And while you may find something great by a Seattle artist, that fabric may still be made in China, then shipped to a store which the artist drove had to drive to. Then there’s the stuff from Ten Thousand Villages which is shipped in from all around the world. Does the fact that my purchase is going to “improve the livelihood of disadvantaged artisans” in a third world country make up for the extra energy consumed in shipping it thousands of miles? Yeah, probably, but it’s still something to consider. And finally there’s the obvious fact that duvet covers on Etsy go for $150 to even $500, but the one I bought at Ikea was $9.99.

I’m certainly not trying to bash Etsy and convince you to shop at Wal-Mart, I’m just saying that it’s complicated. As usual, the best decision would be to just refrain from unnecessary purchases, if you do need to buy something, try to get something high quality that will last you a long time.

With that said, here are some of my pics for cool bedroom decor, all handmade and available on sites that support independent artists. Although I may not be buying any of this, I just love to see the products of people’s creativity. I also love thinking of what Alexa would say if I bought a stuffed unicorn for our living room.

Russian Doll Duvet Cover Set – Etsy
Floral Duvet Cover – Etsy
Cocoa Bean Burlap Pillow1000 Markets
Tree of Life Bed Cover – Ten Thousand Villages
Vintage Striped Fabric – Etsy
Humpback Whale Pillow – Etsy
Frida Kahlo Pillow – Etsy
Extension Cord Lamp – Makers Market (Check out how this is made, it’s so cool!)
Repurposed Lightbulb Vase – Etsy
Antiqued Bird Candle – Etsy
“BLACK UNICORN – real, mounted, taxidermy stuffed” – Etsy

One Response to “we heart shopping responsibly.”

  1. Alexa October 19, 2010 at 10:45 pm #

    I’m just now finding the stuffed unicorn comment.. I’d probably cry.

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