Recycling can be tedious. But what if it means a new wardrobe? Or dining room set?

Recycle.

I’m not just talking about paper, aluminum or glass (although you better be recycling those, too). I’m talking about your clothes, shoes, furniture, jewelry, etc.

There are countless things that exist and aren’t being used. Instead of sending them to the dump, trying to pawn them off on friends or hoarding them away, you can gather them and give or sell them to Goodwill or a consignment shop.

Plato's Closet in Towson accepts brand name items for teens and young adults and sells them at a great price.

Plato's Closet in Towson accepts brand name items for teens and young adults and sells them at a great price.

Now you may not have considered this “recycling,” but it absolutely is. Think about it. Instead of buying a new pair of jeans that require new cloth, metals, string, electricity, gas (shipping), and human energy, you can go to a nice consignment boutique (or a thrift store) and purchase a gently used pair that already exist.

I love going to Plato’s Closet, Vogue Revisited, Goodwill and Salvation Army stores for great deals. I’m always getting compliments on earrings, shirts, belts and purses that I buy from these places.

I recently purchased two bookshelves and a complete dining room set for just under $100 from the Salvation Army and they’re amazing, hardy pieces.

That’s why this is the best type of recycling. Because after you’re done cleaning out your house and offering your gently used goodies up to local stores for others to find, you can go shop for some fresh items that won’t empty your wallet.

Before you turn your nose up, I completely understand how tedious it is to search through 500 shirts before you find ONE that isn’t an XXL from the ’80s, but you’d be surprised at how well Goodwill and the Salvation Army sort things these days. And if you’re really picky or short on time, some of these venues (like Vogue Revisited or Plato’s Closet) only accept boutique or brand-name items and then sell them at a price that will fit any penny-pinchers pocket.

This is one reason you can’t complain about recycling.

Are there any other amazing stores in the Baltimore/Towson area that you’ve discovered?

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How do we enforce the MD texting while driving ban?

So there’s a new ban on texting while driving in Maryland as of October 1st of this year. And it opens a lot of questions. How is the law to be enforced? What about GPS or iPods or talking on the phone? Aren’t these similar distractions? What if I’m using my smart phone to update my calendar while I’m driving. Is that excused? (I don’t do that, people.)

When the Maryland General Assembly passed Senate Bill 98/House Bill 72, I’m not sure that they considered the enforcement of this new law. In her article, Talea Miller says, “[Lt. Matt] Langer said for the texting ban, the ‘ultimate goal is voluntary compliance,’ as the laws help educate the public on the risks of distracted driving.”

I hope that this law does teach the public about the risks of distracted driving. If they don’t, there’s still the horrific video about the dangers of texting while driving that was done with the help of police in Gwent, England. And as far as “voluntary compliance,” I can only say that we’ll see (and wishful thinking).

This law traces back to the roles of individual responsibility. If every person already cared about their individual behavior and reflected on it, no one would send text messages while driving. And they wouldn’t play with their radios for 20 seconds, drive drunk, drive wrecklessly, drive while talking on the phone, drive exhausted, etc. The list is endless. And I’m not sure that this law is taking any step toward correcting the problem. Especially when enforcement is based on “voluntary compliance.”

After the article New Texting Law Effective Oct. 1, one user, Dako, posted this: “Why has it become so important to communicate via a cell phone (usually about nothing important!) while performing one of the most dangerous activities (driving) known to man? Use your head for something other than a ‘hat rack’ people! Your use of a modern CONVENIENCE has a direct impact on: traffic delays (people do drive slower while using a phone); frequency and severity of accidents; and the cost of insurance to ALL of us. If you insist on being so STUPID as to use your phone, please pull over or at least wait until you are on an open road (not in traffic)…and above all keep it brief! Phone Responsibly…”

And I don’t think I could say it better myself. What do you think about this new law?

Photo from Kellie Roring’s blog.

If you don’t want the flu, wash your hands.

A sign in the lobby of the Administration Building on Towson University's campus.

A sign in the lobby of the Administration Building on Towson University's campus.

And the award for best opening sentence about avoiding the flu goes to WVNS’s recent news story: “The power to stop the flu virus from spreading is literally in your hands.”

I could never have said it better. Beyond each of us having the power to end the spread of swine flu, it is almost as simple as washing your hands.

On a white board in Van Bokkelin, a building on Towson University’s campus, someone wrote “Washing your hands 4 times daily reduces chances of disease transmission 6-fold.” And now there are multiple hand sanitizer dispensers per floor of most campus buildings.

Think about it. You  wash your hands after you use the bathroom and before and after you prepare food (at least I hope this is an already-established minimum). But think about your daily activities: How many door knobs do you touch? What about all of those papers that have been through ten other pairs of hands? The phones? The keyboards? The counters? The desks? The dishes? The coffee pot? A pen? How many hands do you shake or high-five? How many times a day do you sneeze? Or brush hair out of your face? Wipe the corner of your mouth? Itch your eye? Itch your nose? I could go on, but the above list is tedious enough.

The point is that your hands are everywhere and they usually end up back around your face. The best way to catch a disease is by touching something and then putting it near your nose, eyes or mouth. So keep those digits clean to avoid getting sick in these dangerous swine-flu times.

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