So! Shopping second-hand.
I LOVE IT.
In Canada, second-hand shopping is okay at Value Village and online and lately, through volunteer-run Facebook pages based on the area you live in.
Oh and fleamarkets or garage sales are still super popular.
Coming to Finland five years ago - we bought a lot of stuff for the V-Man from H&M because I didn't know my way around the city, didn't know of the fabulous second-hand stores that are scattered around the city and my Finnish language skills simply did not exist.
H&M has sales regularly and after a year and a half - I discovered a second-hand shop that was a 15-minutes walk from home. Perfect!
So, I understand that shopping second-hand for things isn't everyone's cup of tea but rest assured, in Scandinavia - it's totally acceptable and fine!
What do I look for?
- Clothes/footwear: for myself, the kids and rarely for the husband (although I did find him like-new dressy Ecco winter boots the other day for a fab price!) because he doesn't care for used clothing.
- Cloth diapers - as long as they're not terribly stained - why not?!
- Movies: Now that we have 3 children, date nights to the movie theater are slim to none and that's alright because everything comes out to DVD or bluray eventually!
- Glass animal figurines: I collect miniature glass animals and because it's a dying art - they're hard to find!
- Moomin mugs: Again, I collect.
- Kitchen utensils: We got a huge box of dishes when we moved from a friend - so I just keep an eye for little things like baking utensils, pans and so on. (I'm not allowed buying anymore "machines" because I now own a food processor/mixer, a blender, a bread-making machine, a juicer and a deep-fryer - all second--hand!)
- Lunch containers: I love taking the kids to the playground in the summer and bringing snacks/lunch with us - because it's healthier, cheaper and convenient for me to have food on hand at all times too! Plus I'm hoping to go back to school too myself - so I love bringing lunch with me.
- Stuff for the dogs: Because they're family too! :)
But WHY second-hand shop?
- Save money: If the price is right - you can save quite a lot. Whether it be on something not available in Finland and someone who has travelled bought the item abroad or online - you'd be saving on transport or shipping fees and hopefully off of the original price.
- Help the environment: Yep - this is one that I like a lot! I can bring my own bags to the second-hand store for one - so I don't have to be issued a plastic bag! Also, if the item you buy isn't still in its original packaging - then that's less waste for you to toss out!
- Charity or finance a person/family: Many of the second-hand shops in Finland are ran by a team of people but the table you purchase from is being rented from someone getting rid of their junk/stuff. So the seller rents the table for X amount of weeks but the prices on the tags are usually for an individual and the money goes straight back to them.
Also, there are charity shops - so the prices you see - is the money that goes straight to charity.
- Growing like weeds: Children grow in a blink of an eye so I see no point in paying a ridiculous amount of money for clothing that they're not going to wear for a very long time. Foot wear especially!
- I'm a collector: Original prices on things and items that are no longer produced can add up! So if I happen to find a Moomin mug cheaper than in the shops in excellent condition or a glass mini animal figurine - then I'm happy to add to my collection.
PS Here's a handy link for those in Finland! It's a site with a list of all the kirpputori (second-hand shops) around your city.