Tuesday, February 24, 2009

On Buying Used

I was watching the local news a couple of nights ago and they did a story about how Salvation Army donations are down 40-60%. They went on to say that many donated items leave the store almost immediately and that shoppers of all kinds now frequent the store. 

Without discussing the state of our current economy, this story pleases me. It seems as though people, for many reasons, are starting to be a bit more responsible when it comes to spending. I'm happy people aren't so quick to donate last year's jeans or the white couch with a grape juice stain. Maybe people are finally being forced to, dare I say it, be happy with what they have. 

I enjoy buying used things. It doesn't make any sense to me to spend $10 on one shirt for Maeve when I can buy an entire bag of clothes at a garage sale for $10. I don't feel bad when one of her shirts get painted on or torn while playing outside. She has a closet full of clothes and most of them were free (yes, free) or bought for very cheap. It seems to be a bit trickier to find used boy clothing in decent shape, but I managed to find some really great things for Finnegan last summer. 

Last year I started buying used clothing for myself too. My closet is full of J. Crew, Gap, Anne Taylor, etc. It took several trips to the thrift store and garage sales to find clothes in my size and style preference, but it was well worth my time. I found a cashmere Banana Republic top for $2.  

When you really start "getting" it, it doesn't stop with just clothes. It's amazing what people consider disposable or are willing to give away. Our train table, kid sized chairs, bookcase, and several other things were all free. 

And the funny thing that I've noticed is that the people giving things away aren't generally the ones who drive the new cars or live in the big houses. They are average people who also appreciate second-hand stuff and who feel good when their unused whatever finds a new home. 

While buying used and re-gifting are excellent things to do, reusing what you already have is even better. I try to re-purpose items as much as I can. I made a dog bed using leftover curtain fabric and old t-shirts. I took the filling from an old, lumpy pillow and used it to stuff a new one. Egg cartons become seed starters. Parmesan containers become new bath toys (seriously, my kids love to dump water and this is one of their favorites). This requires a bit of creativity at times, but using something you already own to create something new is free. 

Here are sites that I frequent daily:


Leigh said...

You would not like me in real life! Ha Ha However, most of what my kids have was not bought by us.

The Langes said...

I completely agree with you. Both of my children own very few articles of clothing that were bought brand new from a store. I love thrift stores and garages sales and am looking forward to even more when we move to Texas!

Lisa said...

I am in total agreement with you! I can't remember the last time I purchased something for Ethan (clothing) that was new. We frequent the 2nd hand shops and love to stop at DAV and Goodwill on a regular basis! I have found a TON of great deals and a lot of his toys are 2nd hand and work just fine! We reuse a lot of food containers (cookie boxes, cracker boxes, butter containers, egg cartons... ect) and he uses them when we play grocery store and he goes 'shopping'. Then, when he steps on them or they wear out, we just recycle them! I buy most of my cloths on clearance, but have a hard time finding 2nd hand that fit me. :( I can't wait until garage sale season starts again!!!