More Green For Less Green

Living more eco-friendly for less money


9 Changes for 2009- #5 Shop Used First

This entry is part of a series on changes I made in 2008 that I want to stick with in 2009… Our "New" Delayed Gratification Coffee Table

  1. Cut out commercial breakfast bars
  2. Cut out canned beans
  3. Ditch premade hummus (and all those containers)
  4. Use only environmentally friendly dish detergent

  5. Shop used first

Hands down, buying used is the most eco-friendly way to purchase items—there is no additional production or shipping energy expenditure, no packaging waste, and reuse keeps those items from amassing in landfills until they are truly unusable. It also is very economical.

Buying used was a hallmark of 2008 for us. My husband and I spent many spring and summer Saturday mornings perusing yard sales together, and it was a blast. We made a list of things we wanted to find over the course of the summer: a vegetable steamer, small set of patio furniture, coffee table, flannel sheets, four cup liquid measuring cup, soap making supplies, and a sun hat for me. These are all things that we could easily have bought new without a second thought, as most them are very cheap, basic things, but we decided to hold off and see what we could get used.

Maybe I am weird, but I enjoy the feeling of "just making do". This is a reality of how most of the world lives; I admit that I have substantially more than 80% of the world does even with student loan debt, not being a home owner, driving a used car, etc. All that I do have (in comparison to focusing on what I don't have) is something that I want to remember every day of my life, and I want to really treasure and appreciate how good I have it. It might sound goofy, but the things I get used for dirt cheap after a long search are more valuable to me more than if I'd just gone to Target and bought some Made in China item the very day I decided I wanted it.

Anyway, philosophical thoughts aside, here is how we made out on that wish list…

Vegetable steamer- $1, found at one of the first yard sales of the season

Patio furniture- we decided we didn't need it in our current place, instead mid-summer we got a padded folding chair for $1. When we want to sit on the patio, we bring that out along with a captain's chair.

Coffee table- mid-summer a neighbor put one out with their trash and my husband refinished it ($5 for primer)

Flannel sheets- we found some near the end of the summer, but my husband decided he only wanted new ones. Then we decided the set we already have is enough.

Four cup liquid measuring cup- Found one for $0.50 at one of the last yard sales of the year.

Soap making supplies- I stalked Craigslist for weeks with no luck, then at a yard sale I ended up finding a box of supplies for $5. Someone else grabbed it before I could, but she ended up only wanting the glycerin soap from it. So, I got the molds and a book for $2.

Sun hat- At an estate sale I paid $0.50 plus I got an adorable retro juice glass for free along with it. This was a SUPER deal for an estate sale.

Needless to say, I am giddy thinking about the weather warming up and yard sale season beginning, especially since we have an offer in* on a tiny 1950s house with a screened in porch that could sure handle some used patio furniture.

*It is a short sale, so who knows when we will know anything.

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At February 27, 2009 at 7:40 PM , Blogger Grace said...

I haven't ventured too much into buying used, but this entry does make me consider it.

I agree with you on the sentiment of "just making do." This is something that I've become better at over the years, but I still have a long way to go.

At March 29, 2010 at 2:55 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At March 29, 2010 at 9:45 AM , Blogger P said...

Anonymous--thank you for your comment. I did, however, remove your comment due to an excessive amount of hyperlinks.


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