Monday, May 10, 2010

Why I love getting things second hand

The last couple of weeks have been filled with buying things that we have put off buying for the house, but we bought nothing brand new. We received a fair amount back from our taxes and were trying to figure out which item was more needed -- furniture for the den, which was basically empty except for J's toys OR a kitchen table. The kitchen table is a very nice antique, drop leaf table that my husband got from his grandfather. However, if J pulled hard enough, those leaves would crash in a second...along with whatever was on top of them onto poor little J's head. Problem was that a brand new table with 6 chairs would have easily cost us $1000. Our tax return money would have covered it, but I have a REALLY hard time parting with that kind of money.

I decided to check Craigslist. I had never bought anything on Craigslist before, but I figured we might luck out. And we did! Within two weeks, I found an almost brand new sectional, chair and ottoman as well as a lightly used kitchen table with 6 chairs AND a matching hutch. We didn't need the hutch and I asked the woman selling it if we could separate the table set and hutch. She said no. But, we re-purposed the hutch into a TV stand (which we were looking at getting on Craiglist separately), since the bottom and top of the hutch came as two separate pieces. All of these items were purchased within our tax return budget and actually were less combined than one brand new piece of furniture would have been. Not only did we save money and come in under budget, but we bought used items which supports my goal to reduce, reuse and recycle (or upcycle) as much as possible. I have sort of adopted the Compact, which you can read about here. I have modified it a bit to suit our family, but I am trying to follow the concepts for the most part.

This is what our purchases resulted in (excuse the mess and absence of a real floor):
We also needed to get J a new wardrobe for summer. As J has gotten older, she's fallen in love with dirt. If she gets outside during the day, it is guaranteed that she will need a new outfit and possibly a bath afterward. J received a gift last year of onesies and a summer outfit from an old patient of mine and luckily that patient bought the items too large. They are perfect for this year! We went to our local consignment shop to see if we could find a few more items. We found four summer dresses, a shorts outfit, a tennis skirt outfit, a sweater to serve as J's new jacket, a pair of pants, a skirt, a shirt and a remote control Thomas the Train for around $30! Score! The only things J still needs are some long sleeved onesies (for cold nights and when we go up to the Adirondacks on vaca), a bathing suit and a new pair of sneakers. I'm going back and forth about the bathing suit because I feel like she can still get away with just a diaper, but we'll see.

I am a BIG proponent of buying second hand. Not only do you normally spend less, but you reduce our impact at the same time. Now do you think we can find some hardwood floors used somewhere (refer to the above pics and notice we have only a subfloor in the living space where we placed the sectional)? ;)


  1. Both our town and elementary school have a large consignment sale every spring and fall with only gently used clothing and toys - they will only accept stuff in great condition. It's a really great thing. I'll have to e-mail you the link to their website so you can check it out - it's pretty neat!

    Jill Dinsmore

  2. Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! What great deals you found! About the flooring....don't know if you've seen it on Craig's List but Habitat for Humanity is selling all sorts of recycled materials. They have a mini storefront set up at Salem Country Gardens....check out this link...

  3. I love pre-loved clothes and furniture, and so do my girls. Right now my couch (which was DH's Aunt's and his Grandmother's before that) needs a new cover and probably new cushions but the frame is great so I seek to recover it.
    As to the hardwoods, yes you can get them used. We have 4 shops in this area that are re-house specialists, I am getting replacement oak flooring from the one up the road from me. I have gotten a couple of home repair items from them and love that I can replace period flooring and moulding from there.