Thrifting: Why Buying Used Will Elevate Your Life
“I’ma take your grandpa's style, I'ma take your grandpa's style
No, for real, ask your grandpa, can I have his hand-me-downs?”
It was 2012 when Macklemore released “Thrift Shop”, a musical critique to consumerism, a boisterous anthem for the second-hand lifestyle, a call for renewed originality, creativity, and style; a rhythmic, humorous-satire that propelled an already established cultural phenomenon: thrifting.
Thrifting enthusiasts were well aware of the perks of buying used: it is cheap, fun, original, and sustainable. Macklemore et al. re-packaged the movement, made it cool, and then brought it on an international stage, reaching over 1.5 billion views on YouTube. Today, thrifters give life to a multibillion dollar industry that repurposes billions of pieces of clothing, furniture, and electronics among hundreds of other categories.
But buying second hand is not a novel trend. In times when the ozone layer didn’t look like a pasta strainer, people owned less and cared more (…according to my grandma). Products were handcrafted expressions of the human psyche, and carried with them layers of unique significance that accumulated through generations. Ownership was a privilege and a responsibility; waste a misdeed or a misfortune.
Much has changed in today’s consumerist economy, where waste has evolved to be an essential part of the growth equation.
Glorified consumerism has long usurped the heritage of lasting traditions and values, taking a central stage in modern social life. It was in 1979 when Jimmy Carter, then president of the United States, warned the people of a worrisome trend seeping through American communities:
“ […] too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption. Human identity is no longer defined by what one does, but by what one owns”.
He then proceeded to present two paths forward: one towards self-seeking consumerism, and one towards re-found communal values; one path towards failure, and one towards success. It was a crisis of confidence then, but it is much more than that today.
We are at the forefront of an environmental crisis. Landfills are on the verge of overflowing into an ocean of litter and rubbish. Where there used to be flowers, there are now discarded yoga mats, ping pong tables, armchairs, plastic straws, unformed opinions, fake mustaches, toy airplanes... not to mention keto diet cookbooks, non-diverse barbie dolls, Gap sweaters, university diplomas, and... last but not least; the cherry on top; a juxtaposition par excellence; the ultimate prank on mother nature: plastic flowers. But as the saying goes, we will not have the last laugh.
It is at the beginning of this decade that we must take a good look in the mirror and examine who we have been, who we are, and who we aspire to be. If Macklemore and Carter have not convinced you yet, do not despair. In this next section, I will take you through the 6 reasons why shopping second hand will elevate your life.
6 Reasons Why Shopping Second Hand Will Elevate Your Life
1) It is incredibly affordable: When you scavenge the used, you will quickly realise that your money is in it for the long run. With the same budget necessary to buy 1/5th of a spare Gucci flip flop, you can now buy three pairs of pants, a couch, a kneeboard, and a broken keyboard. [ see what I did there? ;) ]
2) It’s a treasure hunt: When you buy second hand, you will feel like a Jack Sparrow with a broken compass. The thrill of the hunt is unbeatable if not only by the thrill of finding the treasure. Stumbling upon a quality item at the lowest possible price is, put simply, exhilarating. You now own something that possesses enough personal meaning to fill at least half the cup. Display it with pride, and share its story for maximum effectiveness.
3) You are supporting the local community: When you buy used, you are supporting the local community. Thrift stores, consignment shops, individuals… you name it. Basically no one who is wearing the horse blinders of shareholder value maximisation. Keep the money local, and enrich your community.
4) It’s suuustainable (səˈəˈəˈsteɪinəbl): You know what’s greener than buying sustainably sourced/produced/organic/hand-massaged-by-the-local-earth-goddess items? Buying things that would otherwise be thrown away. It is that simple. If you can buy it used, do it. Ok, it is not always simple - but keep reading, we’ll get to it.
5) You can find the brands you love but can’t afford (yet!): Buying second-hand doesn’t mean saying no to your favorite brands. You will be surprised how many like-new Armani suits, Nike sneakers, or Crate & Barrel couches are donated, sold, and abandoned every year. The “used” tag cuts the price down by more than 50%, and you can finally fake it ‘till you make it without going into debt.
6) Make it circular, baby! Like all good things in life, buying used is not only about taking, but also about giving. You can now transform your closet into a circular representation of your self-expression, constantly evolving along with your mood. New clothes come in, old clothes go out. No rægrets, no guilt. You buy some, you donate some.
Keeping it Circular
At Kashew we work a-round the clock to make sure that furniture within the local radius is circled back into the economy. Puns aside, we strongly believe in a circular story, where waste is reused and products are made to last. And this is not the self feeding excel loop kind of story that makes the whole model crash (CFO humor), but one in which we marry traditional values of ownership to our modern fast paced lifestyles.
Listen, I’ll make it simple. At Kashew we believe that if you can buy it used, you should (…with the exception of toothbrushes). There’s really no reason to spend more money, to produce more waste, to use more resources, to buy something that is being thrown away somewhere else!
While this sounds great on paper, you might find that it is easier said than done. Sure, the second hand market is not as predictable as its first hand cousin, and sometimes it is just not practical to go that route.
Enter Kashew: we are here to connect the dots for you, to make buying and selling second hand furniture as easy and convenient as possible, while giving you a platform to amplify your sustainable, community-loving self. We are proud to have you on board, fellow dreamer, and to join thousands of Macklemores and change-makers alike on this journey towards a better planet.
Live sustainably. Buy second-hand.