“Throw it out and buy a new one” is a pretty accepted concept in our society these days, but fortunately I think that’s changing (slowly but surely) with more and more people trying to be more frugal and/or “green.” Sometimes buying something new is necessary and even more earth friendly than buying used. For example buying a new washer that uses less energy is probably better than buying an old one that sucks up power and water. That’s usually not the case, though. Before making any kind of purchase, whether it’s clothing, household goods or even toys, it’s good to ask yourself a few questions:
- · Do I truly need this item?
- · Do I already have something that could be used to serve this purpose?
- · Could I buy this item used?
- · Could I buy this item handmade?
- · Do my parents (or friends or neighbors) have one of these that they’ve been trying to get rid of?
When it comes to using your old stuff, buying used or getting “hand-me-downs,” don’t balk right away! I don’t believe in letting things you don’t absolutely LOVE come into your home, because that’s how Hoarders happens. But sometimes all something needs is a coat of paint or a new handle or a little tailoring to be perfect!
I have a little wooden hexagon side table (is it just me, or has everyone had one of these at some point?) that is THE PERFECT storage solution for diapers. It just works. But here’s the thing: it’s really ugly. It was probably beautiful at one point but now it is full of scratches and dings and water spots. It also doesn’t have handles, so you have to go all Fonzi and bang on one door to pop open the other. Looks aside, I love the table. I got it from my dad and like I said, it contains diapers like a champ. But when we moved to this new apartment I considered getting rid of it and buying a new (or new-to-us) side table simply because this one is really beat up. But then I realized, I could just refinish it and screw on a couple new handles and it would be as good as new! Problem solved.
The fact is, it takes resources to make new stuff. It takes fuel, too, and then even more fuel to transport that new stuff to your local store. Mama Earth smiles when you buy furniture off Craigslist. She grins even wider when you fix your old stuff!
Is there anything you have laying around that could use a little TLC?