The benefits of buying used

The past few months, we have been making an active effort to stop buying new products and merchandise. I have gone through a few phases of consumerism in my life. Sometimes I think I should be buying stuff made from recycled products, or produced more ethically. This means sourcing things out made from recycled materials or from companies with better labour standards. Sometimes I lose my resolve and just think I should save money. A lot of the time, I try to buy used.

The truth is that I end up doing a combination of all these things, while making an effort to reduce my over-all consumerism. In my opinion, we don't help Bangladeshi factory workers by boycotting the products they produce, but by accepting that in order for us to purchase $5 t-shirts and $15 jeans, someone else is paying the price.

Of course, buying used can be a bit more effort than buying new. You have to seek out what you're looking for on Kijiji or in thrift shops, travel across town (often on transit) to meet up with independent sellers, or wait for some time for what you're looking for to come up for sale. This can be frustrating. But there are some solid benefits to buying used that, in my opinion, make it worth the extra work.
  • You re-use something that is currently going unused. This makes better use of the resources that already went in to making that product. It also keeps that product out of the landfill.
  • You save resources that would otherwise go into making the new product you would have purchased.
  • You save packaging, since used products *should* be unpackaged (I'm looking at you, Value Village!).
  • You often save money.
  • You help create a market for more used goods. If someone successfully sells something used, they may be more likely to sell something else in the future.
  • Depending on where you purchase the items, you are often supporting charity or a small business.
All that being said, I just wanted to share some of the items we've picked up at garage sales already this year.

Of course, I have already rigged up the Swiffer mop to use my own cleaning liquid and mop pads. The mandolin slicer (the one item in the photo that actually came from Kijiji) has helped me prepare many meals, and the laundry basket has got the dirty towels off of the laundry room floor.

Have you made it to any garage sales this year? Leave a comment!


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