Choosing a Second Chance – Why you should shop second hand

by Heather Kallevig

Nice quilts and blankets, full sets of plates, silverware, and glasses, stereo equipment, and of course shoes and clothes. These are just a few of the items I found during my recent perusal of our town’s local Goodwill. We were there looking for items to supplement our BBQ set, spending money on reusable goods rather than disposable plates and platters. As I walked through the well-organized aisles, bobbing my head to Backstreet Boys’ “Bye, Bye, Bye,” I realized there was more value to recycled goods than the 90s music. There were great household items, clean, attractive clothing, and friendly staff. Buying used is not simply a second hand option, it’s a solution.

In our grandmother’s generation, you were more likely to purchase used goods than new ones. Today, consumer products are so affordable, people don’t have to shop vintage but they still should.   There are many reasons to buy second hand: you have the opportunity to recycle, your goods will have character, they’re unique and cheap, and you get to regenerate great stuff. Below are mindful reasons to buy second hand and some great ideas where.

Reason 1: Recycle

In a world where the human population is increasing exponentially, the need for recycling coincides with our rapid growth. We cannot continue to produce new, expendable goods at our current rate. The planet’s resources won’t keep up. We need to be mindful of our products – choosing high-quality, single goods that will last a long time, rather than a closet full of cheap goods that last three wears. One great way to recycle is to purchase our clothing and household goods used, bringing them back into life rather than sending them to the landfill.

Reason 2: Your Goods Have Character

Often in today’s consumer-driven world, it’s not unusual to buy a shirt at target and see fifteen other people wearing the exact same thing. Not that this is a big deal, but the most you can say about that item is it was a cheap shirt at Target. When you purchase goods second hand, you get to imagine the life it once lived, taking part in your new life. Your goods are unique and well loved. Also, it’s not unusual to find great, expensive brands, that will last ten times longer used, than that cheap, single shirt from Target.

Reason 3: You Can Find Cheap, Unique Items

It’s not surprising many thrift stores reach their peak around Halloween – people often scour these locations looking for the unique and unusual goods to supplement their costume. This treasure hunt doesn’t have to be limited to October, however, think about all the other times you’re looking for something a bit different. For example, my husband likes to find unique crockery in antique stores to serve as vases for special occasion flowers. You can find cool furniture for your house, or used goods in an REI attic. Second hand is the way to make sure your stuff stands out.

Reason 4: Regenerate Great Stuff

I already mentioned your stuff comes with a story when you buy second hand. You may never really know the tale, but you do get to breath new life into great stuff. We’ve seen the advantages of second chances and come backs – rescue pets, oldies music, Robert Downie Jr. – to name a few. Also, fashions are cyclical, the clothes worn in the 80s and 90s will eventually be back in style. The china from someone else’s wedding becomes your treasure. A priceless antique, built by the hands of a farmer in the 30’s is now the family kitchen table. Very few products are used to their full potential before they are given away, they’re just waiting for a second change to show their potential.

Where to Buy Second Hand

The options for buying second hand are as unique as the shoppers. The most affordable are generally your nonprofit locations such as Goodwill and Value Village. If you’re looking for higher-end brands, look up your local consignment shops – often people are selling $150 jeans for $30, shoes and purses too. For furniture, dishes, and trinkets – check out antique stores and furniture dealers. Many stores are popping up selling used and new furniture in separate show rooms. If you’re looking for outdoor gear, REI has their attic – in which they sell returned items that cannot be sold new. This is a great place to find good quality sleeping bags, skis, boots, and expensive coats for very low prices. If books are your handle, set down the kindle for a while and check out a used book store! There’s many great books that you can read and return at your convenience.  Finally, if you prefer to do your digging online, another great option for purchasing second hand is craigslist. This gives you the option to choose your goods before ever leaving the house.

Whatever your need, consider checking second hand first. Not only will you be helping reduce our footprint on the planet, you’ll be breathing second life into great old products. You’ll be unique, have character, and in all likelihood have a lot more fun in the experience.

If you know of other great places please share them in the comments!


Earth Friendly Product Review – Kiss My Face

by Heather Kallevig

One great way to lower your footprint is to choose earth-conscious products. These items not only limit their product recipe to low chemical, GMO, and mindful ingredients, they also adopt an effective CSR policy – corporate social responsibility – making a positive contribution in their local and global community.

Think about the products you use on a regular basis. Soaps, lotions, and cosmetics are probably a few that come to mind. The great news is these are products you can replace with earth-friendly, conscious choices. Even better, these products are quality items at a reasonable price.

If lotion and soaps are at the top of your list, Kiss My Face products are a great option for you. Kiss My Face has been a leader in the green consumer movement for over 30 years. Founded by Bob Macleod and Steve Byckiewicz a progressive, vegetarian couple in New York, their main focus is “naturally effective and cruelty free.” For many this latter point is the most important. Kiss My Face products demonstrate several important conscious choices. They are devoid of dangerous parabins (a chemical linked to cancer among other health problems.) They are not tested on animals (which still occurs today in alarmingly high numbers.) They use sustainable, recycled packing and advertising products. Not only are they environmentally friendly, they’re also economically friendly – not making a major dent in your pocket book.

Kiss My Face offers a wide range of 200 products worldwide including deodorant, lotions (scented and unscented), chapstick, sunscreen (spray and cream), shampoo, conditioner, and body/hand soap (bar and bottle), to name a few. According to the Kiss My Face website, your body absorbs up to 60% of what you put on your skin. Make sure the products you are using are safe, healthy, and make a positive environmental impact.

It’s another great way to make your daily choices more environmentally friendly.

Kiss My Face is worth a try.

Patagonia’s Worn-Wear Campaign “If it’s broke – fix it!”

by Heather Kallevig

Patagonia's Worn-Wear CampaignImagine a simpler world, not so long ago, when everyone was capable of wielding a needle and thread. A tear was repaired, shoes were “gooed”, and consumers sought products that were built to last. Today, we see a slightly different culture. Modern society is a consumer driven, materialistic world, in which a clothing company’s main goal is to encourage shoppers to buy. Clothes go out of style, fall apart, or lose their owner’s interest. For a company dependent on a steady stream of sales, these are desirables.

What if, however, we saw yet another shift, using our modern technology and innovation to build better products, market longer-lasting, livable styles, and encouraged consumers to develop a healthy relationship with their “stuff?”

Patagonia's Worn-Wear CampaignThis spring, Patagonia is taking a momentous step in making this clothing possibility a future reality. Patagonia, a company known for their commitment to social responsibility, has introduced a pioneering approach to marketing using conscious capitalism. Rather than encouraging people to buy more goods, they are advocating effective use, regular repair, and bonding relationships with our high quality goods.   This is the start of a clothing movement. They’re calling it the Spring 2015 Worn-Wear Tour, and it rests on the back of a wood-repaired biodiesel truck. Their mission states:

“Out to change our relationship with stuff, this spring Patagonia’s biodiesel repair wagon will travel coast to coast repairing clothing for free, teaching folks how to fix things themselves and selling used Patagonia® clothing. Bring us your tired, well-loved clothing for repair. If you don’t have any, we’ll supply it. Fix it and you can keep it. Join us for local food and drink, and celebrate the stories we wear.”

Patagonia proposes a commendable mission, to change our relationship with clothes. Moving from a culture where we own innumerable items that are expendable, to one where we possess a simpler closet of well-loved goods.

To join the movement, visit Patagonia’s website and watch their “Worn-Wear Stories.” All see their summer schedule and consider getting involved. Finally, consider a few steps you can take in your own life and use your purchasing power to enhance the movement.

Step 1: Purchase quality

Patagonia's Worn-Wear CampaignAvoid goods that are cheap and likely to fall apart after a few wears. Instead of buying four $10 shirts with a short life, save your money for one $40 shirt that will last years.  It may cost more in the long-run, but you’ll have the chance to wear that shirt and develop a relationship with your clothes rather than throwing it out.  Think of your favorite shoes when you were a kid – didn’t you wear them through the soles?

Step 2: Limit your number of outfits

Patagonia's Worn-Wear Campaign - Live SimplyWhile the many different clothes combos on Pinterest are cute and fun, it does not mean you need each of them in your closet. Pick your favorite clothes, items that are versatile with a few fun favorites thrown in.

Step 3: Choose activities that don’t include shopping

Even if you don’t plan on buying, time spent in stores or malls inevitably leads to acquiring new stuff. Rather than spending your time at stores or the mall, get outdoors and make some memories.  Outdoor activities not only encourage us to step away from consumerism, they also encourage a healthier lifestyle based on sustainability and minimalism.  So get out and discover!

Patagonia's Worn-Wear Campaign

To learn more about Patagonia’s Worn-Wear Campaign, check out this link or share your stories at Patagonia’s Worn-Wear Stories