Buying secondhand items is a great way to save money and have a little fun, not to mention save something from the landfill. It becomes almost a game, the hunt is often the part that brings the most fun and excitement. There are so many places to find an item you need that don’t involve a trip to the nearest megamart.
Mr Chiots and I enjoy going to auctions when we can to find secondhand treasures. It’s so much fun to walk around and look at all the interesting old stuff, but kind of sad at the same time. It’s sad that you’re buying stuff that someone else valued enough to save, but then it’s hopeful as well because you know someone is there to buy it and give the item a second lease on life.
This past year Mr Chiots took up hunting and wanted to buy an old wool hunting jacket instead of one of the new expensive manmade material ones. His first stop was Ebay, to search for that perfect wool jacket and pant set. He ended up buying two, both came with pants and he spent less on both sets than he would have on one jacket. One of them is old, very old. So old, I joked that Theodore Roosevelt probably wore it on one of his hunting trips (seriously, it’s that old!). They’re both still in great shape and still super warm. A few little mends here and there and they’ll last for another 100 years or more. He loves them and wears them all the time now, not just for hunting.
One of the best places to find a used item is ask family and friends. It’s amazing what you can get for free, or next to nothing from people you know (of course I often give a gift of canned items or baked goods when they won’t accept some cash for the item). When I decided to start canning, my mom gave me a lot of my grandmother’s old canning jars and a nice waterbath canner and a pressure canner, I only had to buy a few lids to get started.
This summer when we needed a pump for our water barrel system. Mr Chiots mentioned to his grandpa (who’s an avid secondhand buyer) to watch for one at the auctions. His grandpa had 2 in the garage and gave one to us, for free! Mr Chiots hooked it up and it works like a champ! We would have spent over $100 for the same pump new, and about $50 to get it used. Thanks to the generosity of family we didn’t pay a dime, just the expense of a few parts for the installation.
One of the things I love about getting secondhand items is that they have a history. We got an old reel mower from my parents when we wanted one, this is the very same one I mowed with as a kid.
Of course there are endless resources for finding used items when you start searching. Garage sales are a good place to look I’ve heard, although we don’t usually go to them (we work weekends so it’s difficult). Secondhand stores are common in most communities with Goodwill being the most common I think.
Are you a secondhand consumer, if so what’s your favorite resource for finding that needed item?
I can also be found at Chiot’s Run where I blog daily about gardening, cooking, local eating, beekeeping, and all kinds of stuff. You can also find me at Simple, Green, Frugal, Co-op, and you can follow me on Twitter.