My family recently moved and, naturally, we’ve been doing lots of furniture shopping. Initially, we were going to all your typical places: La-Z-Boy, Pottery Barn, Living Spaces, Jerome’s, you know, the usual suspects. One time, while searching for new stores to browse, we stumbled upon a furniture consignment store.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Over the past several years, there’s been a growing momentum towards more ethical and sustainable fashion. One of the ways this movement is fighting Fast Fashion is through thrifting and secondhand shopping. But secondhand buying doesn’t have to be limited to just fashion and clothing.
You can buy almost anything used: iPhones, laptops, cars, clothes, cameras, books, and even furniture. I personally have a used Macbook which I love. And I’m a software developer so I definitely need something that works — and my used laptop does the job just fine. My dad, sister, and I all have used cars. My other sister has a refurbished camera she bought off Amazon. We often buy used books and textbooks. Basically, we’re a family that loves our secondhand finds. Not only is it infinitely better for our wallets, but it’s a good step towards helping minimize and eliminate waste.
According to the EPA, as of 2013, furniture accounted for 7% of all waste (referencing page 67, Table 14). And while there are other causes we should certainly be directing our attention to in terms of waste reduction (food waste being chief among them, coming in at a solid 21%) buying used is about more than just minimizing waste. It’s about an overall cultural shift and change of consciousness in regards to consumption habits. So, we don’t have to choose between focusing our attention on furniture waste or textile waste or food waste — they’re not mutually exclusive. We need to start thinking about things not as just disposable commodities but as phases in a cradle-to-cradle cycle.
Lastly, I want to emphasize that used furniture doesn’t have to mean gross, dirty, and undesirable. Take a look at the picture above — quite frankly that table looks stunning and almost brand new! Just like in my previous thrifting post, I think it’s important that we make secondhand buying more appealing, acceptable, and mainstream by changing the stereotypes associated with it. While that’s been happening on social media, it tends to be limited to just the fashion space. I believe that, with time, we can expand the domain to include not just clothing but cars, electronics, and furniture as well.
So, if you’re looking to bring out your inner HGTV Property Brothers and revamp your room or remodel your house, do make sure to check out your local consignment store and see what you can find. Good luck! 🙂