Monday, December 17, 2007

Second-Hand Success Story

I've always touted the benefits of buying used rather than new. Before I was as environmentally aware, I spent a couple of years as an antique dealer and loved the thought of "recycling" all the treasures I found. The price of used goods is almost always less and the quality often more. Even better, buying second-hand means that no new resources were used to make your product and the energy used to transport it is typically minimal as used goods (except for Ebay) tend to stay local.

When a friend furnished most of her home with used goods - rescued from the dumpster, found free on the curb or freecycle, or purchased off of Craigslist, I was impressed with how wonderful everything looked and how inexpensive it was - both in terms of money and environmental impact. We decided there was no reason buy new furniture again.

A few months later, we decided to make more use out of our small house and to put a desk in our unused living room so that my husband would have a place to study - instead of in front of the TV. Think of the savings in electricity! ;-) We stalked the local furniture section on Craigslist for months but found only one suitable desk, which we missed out on it by a few hours. We don't have a local consignment center and our thrift shops tend to only stock smaller furniture items. Finally, desperate for a more conducive studying environment, Mr. Green Bean hit Office Depot and found a nice desk/hutch set. We just didn't feel right about buying something that big new, though, and decided to keep looking at used furniture.

Yesterday, we found this beauty for a song from a local homeowner who was changing her office into a music room. It was difficult to get home and I may have lost the use of one of my hands unloading this solid oak puppy but, yet again, it was better to wait and find the right item second hand than to rush out to a big box store for something new. There is no guilt, a big cost savings and the enjoyment of a now more usable place in our home.
By the way, the lamp and picture are also second hand! Didn't notice that 'til I loaded the photo. The lamp is from a garage sale and matches our wall sconces (which we bought new when we moved in) and the picture was an antique passed down from my parents.

Yet another second-hand success story!


CindyW said...

What a beautiful find! I want to go on a treasure hunt with you :) We recently took a second-hand stove top from one of our family members. And we swapped out our 40 year old (but perfectly functional) push-button stove top. We put the old up on freecycle, thinking that no one would want a 40-year stove. But within minutes, a guy called. Apparently his stove top had only 2 working burners. So this was a lesson for me. From now on, I will freecycle just about anything :)

Wendy said...

That is an awesome find!

One of my friends is a major dumpster diver and she swears that as soon as she decides she needs something specific, she usually finds it within a week. It's almost inspired me to start going through the trash, but so far I just hit the thrift stores and CraigsList.

Green Bean said...

Cindy, I cannot believe the stuff we've gotten rid of on Freecycle. In the past 4 years and through one major move, I've never thrown anything big away. I've been able to unload everything on Freecycle or the free section of Craigslist. The only exception was an old set of blinds for an odd shaped window!

Wendy, I'm with your friend. People throw away great stuff. Why pay retail? Or sometimes anything when you can take it out of someone's trash can. ;-)


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