September Update: A Year Of Second-Hand Shopping Challenge

September Update: A Year Of Second-Hand Shopping Challenge

This month I've really felt the itch to buy something new.

I actually spent the credit that has been sitting in my Everlane account for months on their new Texture Crop Cardigan. (Is this breaking the rules? I kind of think it is; you decide.) I bought a couple of £1 pot stands too because finding them second-hand was impossible and costly, and I didn't want to spend £££ on something you would barely see. (This isn't breaking the rules; I'm not on a spending ban.) I've also purchased (and traded for) a few new plants too (again, not breaking the rules) but I've set myself a cut off limit as I do each year since autumn and winter are bad times to be buying plants.

There's a few reasons why I'm feeling the urge to buy new. A lot happened in a short space of time over summer and it's taken quite a bit of adjustment. I'm on a course of medication and it's doing weird things to my brain (and my body). No excuses though. I could have easily not spent my Everlane credit. But I wanted to, I really wanted to, and when the newsletter for their new Texture Crop Cardigan dropped into my email box - the exact style of cardigan I've been hunting for second-hand - I impulsively purchased it. Impulsively in the sense that I already knew I wanted a cardigan like this, I just hadn't found it yet.

Our vacuum cleaner broke and it wasn't economically viable to repair it so we bought a new one. In 10 years we haven't ever owned a new hoover; we've always relied on hand-me-downs that, while do the job, don't do it well. We considered buying a second-hand hoover and decided against it, and I'm glad we did. It's made me realise how terrible it can be to rely on cleaning equipment that is already several years old before you use it for several more. After using the new vacuum cleaner, we quickly realised our carpets weren't as clean as we thought they were...

September Update: A Year Of Second-Hand Shopping Challenge

This month has really highlighted to me that zero waste and minimalism isn't always compatible with freedom of choice; that living a sustainable lifestyle where every choice is scrutinized can be frustrating and unrewarding. I go without quite a bit in order to reduce my waste and live more sustainably, which I'm happy to do. I don't really need the new cardigan I just purchased but sometimes it's nice to have something that isn't absolutely essential. I could have made do with a second-hand hoover but I couldn't rely on it to clean effectively.

Living a considered life can be frustrating. Making do with what you already have; only buying what you can find second-hand; going without because it's wrapped in plastic. For the most part, I'm happy to do all this. But sometimes, it's nice not to compromise or simply to be able to indulge in my interests, and I bet most of us feel the same way too.

I love buying second-hand and three months from the end of my challenge, I know it's going to be my first choice when considering future purchases. Yet buying pre-loved often comes with a compromise whether that's size, shape, style, effectiveness, or even cost. Buying second-hand isn't always the most sensible option.

When fast fashion and fast home decor (yes, that's a thing!) is so cheap it's easy to buy new more often, which is a problem. There's a balance to be found between making do with what we have and occasionally indulging in what we want. It's not impossible to buy everything second-hand but that choice does come with a lot of compromises.

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