We buy used stuff all the time, lately, we have been getting a lot of comments like ” Talk to Kev, or Bree they find great deals on used stuff that is amazing!” I am going to take a moment and brag, just a little bit, we are quite good at finding gently used items.
Often times we find items we need for free, and with a little bit of elbow grease, we turn those used items brand new! Take our Backyard Pond for example, check out how we created our small backyard fishpond for under $100. We got the pond for free off Kijiji, and the bench we found on one of our many large item night hunts. Large item night here in town are on the first garbage day of the month, people throw out all the items they can not toss on regular garbage collection days. Most of the stuff that is put out to the curb is in great condition, either the person bought new, or they just don’t have a need or a want for the item.
Why Used Is Better Than New
For starters buying used is a huge cost saving! As a family of 5 on a tight budget, we need to make our hard-earned money stretch as far as possible. Especially now that I am returning to school, I won’t be putting in as many hours into our work from home business.
Buying used also supports local families, apps like Kijiji, Varage Sale or your local mommy sales apps are used by many families who would like to earn a bit of extra to put into their funds. People often opt to sell items they are no longer using on these apps and earn a bit of pocket change, or use the money towards something else they really need.
12 million tons a year of textile waste is found in our landfills. Textile waste is clothing! That’s a lot of clothing going to the landfills every year, think of how many people can benefit from used clothing!! If you are not going to take the time to sell it, at least donate it!
Clothing is not the only waste hitting the landfills, couches, tables, electronics, kitchen items, toys, pet items, tools, craft supplies, yard tools and SO much more is just being tossed! Why? Because it’s not being used in the home, it’s taking up space, or the items are just not wanted any longer. It’s crazy the amount of great stuff we see at the curbside on large item nights! I am always saddened that people are not donating these items to those in need.
New Items contain a lot of needless waste. When you purchase a new item the package generally contains all kinds of plastic waste, as well as extra cardboard waste. Not enough people are recycling, so where does all that waste end up? Yep, the landfill! When you purchase a used item you are ensuring that no new waste is being made.
Eco-Friendly, we know that we need to start rethinking how we treat mother earth, especially if we want her to be around a lot longer for the next generation to enjoy. Buying new items doesn’t just place needless waste into landfills, the manufacturing of new items, resources used, and shipping the items all play a very big role in what’s happening to our planet.
What Items Are Best Purchased Used
The list of items that you should be buying used is long and virtually endless, I have opted instead to tell you about the things our family chooses to buy used rather than new.
Furniture – We hardly ever purchase new furniture, instead we look for used items. I search for anything wood, it is incredibly sturdy for one thing, and it cleans up really well with a little bit of love. Often times if I do not like the colour that’s been used to finish a piece of furniture I will sand it down and re-stain it in a colour I like better. Or I will opt to paint the item to match our home’s decor. Paint can be purchased at your local habitat for humanity store, often time people buy more paint than they need and donate what does not get used. Odds and ends paint cans are perfect for these types of projects.
Home Decor – Goodwill is a great place for finding home decor, people donate decor often when they are renovating or changing the looks of their homes. One of my favourite things to do is play a game with the kids, find the ugliest item we can possibly find and decide how to make it beautiful again. A can of spray paint can make a tacky knick-knack look like a million bucks, things like vases, statues, old picture frames, and plant pots can all be made new again with this technique. Looking for mirrors to brighten up your home? Check your local Goodwill or Value Village, they have plenty!!
Kitchen Items– Anything from small appliances to silverware and plates, I have purchased entire dinner plate sets for under $5 or less. Absolutely nothing wrong with them, and they always wash well in hot soapy water.
Books – I love the smell of a new book just like any book lover does, but I also enjoy the feeling of a well-loved worn down book. I personally love Kindle because you do not need to have an actual book which saves countless books from ending up in the landfill. But I just can’t give up on having an actual book in my hand, I love the feel and the pictures. Sometimes having a real book in my hands to read is a little bit of a soul comfort for me. Which is why I choose to purchase used books rather than new.
Clothing – Kids outgrow everything, not to mention they are hard on clothes! I purchase a few new items for when we are going out, but 90% of the clothing I purchase is used. Especially summer clothing, we are always outdoors getting dirty, no one has to worry about grass and mud stains when I purchase used. I will also buy my clothing used, I have a few new items for going out and special occasions. Considering I am always digging in a garden, sanding, staining or painting something I do not like to mess up new clothes. I love my used items, they are great for everyday wear and tear. Not to mention, vintage is the new trend!
Toys– Nerf guns especially! We love our Nerf guns, they provide hours of fun for the whole family. We have even gotten my mom addicted to firing off darts in her huge photo studio. For Birthdays or Holidays, the kids each get the must-have new toy that they really want, but everything else is purchased used. I buy the toys, bring them home and give them a good cleaning, when the kids have outgrown the toys I donate them.
Garden & Outdoors – I purchase yard tools, lawn mowers, BBQ s, pots and decor for our gardens used. We have used plenty of refurbished deck boards for our garden backyard project. Recently we just purchased an electric lawn mower for $50, we normally use a push mower, but with all the rain we have had the grass has grown longer than ever and it can be extremely hard to cut the wet long grass with our push. So we opted to purchase an electric lawn mower to assist in lawn maintenance.
Electronics– Cell phones, computers, laptops, TV’s and Tablets we purchase second hand if we can. Sometimes we will buy new if we can not find a decently priced, in good working condition electronic. We always look for used first.
Cars– I have never purchased a new car, there is just no point in my opinion. New cars depreciate in value the second you drive them off the lot, they cost more to insure, and are bloody expensive! I always purchase used cars, a good mechanic and not caring about looks is what it takes to keep a used car running.
What We Don’t Recommend Buying Used
There are some items for health and hygiene reasons that we simply won’t buy used, the obvious things like toiletry items are a given! There are other items that we choose to buy new rather than used for good reason.
Mattress’s – Two words Bed Bugs! As well as countless other ewwies and allergy reasons. Buying new in this department is simply a must, at least for our family it is. Not to mention, a good supportive mattress is necessary for a proper nights rest.
Large Appliances – For energy efficient reasons I choose to purchase new, I have bought used in the past. I started out with used in fact, but due to rising energy costs, I have opted to slowly replace my large appliances with new energy efficient appliances. In fact my second used dryer finally just gave up the ghost, so we just purchased a new one. I will mention one very important thing here though, we never buy anything at full price. We bid our time and wait for the sales, last years models work just as well as this years. And frankly, bells and whistles are not necessary to survive!
Underwear & Bathing Suits– clearly I am not interested in wearing your old dingy underwear! Sorry, but not sorry!
Towels – I hate using hotel towels, I know, I know! They are sanitized and all that jazz, but I am funny about towels. I prefer new towels and washcloths, I just can’t stand the thought of wiping my face with a towel someone else has used to dry their junk with. Used towels I do, however, purchase and use as rags or towels to dry the dogs after a bath.
Where To Find Used Items
As mentioned above, we search through Kijiji, Varage Sale, and Mommy Sale Site for most of our used items as we prefer to help out local families.
Garage Sales are great for finding items you need, and for finding items you didn’t think you needed! I am not going to lie, I have come home with plenty of trinkets, games, toys, and kitchenware I have not needed. But they were cool OK!
Good Will – Obviously a great place to find plenty of used items!
Valu Village – Another great place, but be aware I find them more expensive than the above-mentioned locations.
Used Book Stores – I live for these little stores, often hidden in every city, thousands upon thousands of books! I LOVE BOOKS!
Side Of The Road – Junk collection has become a hobby, we pile in the car and get super excited when we find something totally worth taking. I am sure we look silly trying to cram some items in our little car with 3 kids, but you know what those are the best times we have as a family. We laugh, we celebrate our luck and yes often times either Kevan or I are left waiting on a curb in order to make room for a must-have item to be taken home before returning to rescue the evicted family member.
Flea Markets – If you can’t resist an antique then flea markets are a must! Not to mention you are able to find a bunch of great items for all of your needs at flea markets. Often times small business owners set up shop among the vendors, and you are able to purchase great products and items from them. Helping a small business owner, and saving money is a win win!
Pawn Shops – If you already know prices, and are really good at your poker face, pawn shops can prove to be a valuable place to search for items.
Fixing & Cleaning Items
You do not need to be a handyman/woman or a cleaning pro to fix and clean items. Google and YouTube are your friends, as well as Pintrest.
Classes for this sort of thing are starting to pop up everywhere, don’t be afraid to take one, it will be worth your time and money I promise.
Repair Cafes- this is a fairly new trend, and I am excited about this trend. You are able to attend these cafes and purchase items that have been repaired or take classes and lessons on repairing items. Most large cities have a repair cafe, unfortunately, our city does not as yet. It totally should though, hmm maybe an undertaking for our family?
Get Out There And Scavenge!
I hope that this article has helped you see why buying used is so much better than buying new, yes new things are shiny, pretty and tempting. But older items have plenty of life and love to give as well, your wallet and bank account will also thank you.
It can be time-consuming to find the items you are looking for, patients is also a must! I have yet been unable to find a used item that I have needed or wanted. They are out there, bargain hunting can be a thrill! Give it a try!
If you have any suggestions, questions or comments please leave them in the comment box below.