written by: Chiot's Run
I've been trying to simplify my life in order to save money and to use fewer resources. This year I've really been focusing on buying used items. When you buy a used item you're keeping it out of a landfill and extending it's useful life. You're also cutting the amount of manufacturing and limiting the pollution that stems from making a new item. Most used items also come without packaging so you limit waste that would end up in the landfill or use resources to be recycled.
Buying used however is not for the faint of heart. You really have to learn patience and the art of waiting. You learn to enjoy the search for that perfect item as much as having the item when you finally get it. It takes a little more time, particularly if you're trying to find these items locally.
So how do I go about finding used items? We look through our local paper for auctions and go to secondhand shops in the area. We have found however that our local Goodwill is not a great place to buy used items, they're overpriced (they sell single canning jars for several dollars each). After a few trips you'll discover which second-hand stores in your area are worth your time. Garage sales can also be a great resource, although I don't frequent them, I find auctions to be a better use of my time. Craig's list and Freecycle are both local sources and E-bay is an easy resource since it's searchable, although the item most likely won't be local and will require shipping. It is the perfect place to search if you need something specific or you need it right away. Salvage stores like ReStore, by Habitat for Humanity and other local places are great for finding used building supplies and furniture.
There are some things that I buy new, however, like shoes, undergarments, socks and most of my clothes. I could buy used clothes, but I find the time needed to seek them out is often not worth my time. In these areas I focus on buying a few well-made pieces that will last for years. We also often buy new when it comes to small power tools and items that diminish in quality as they're used.
Do you buy used or new? What's your best resource for used items?