Monday, 20 October 2014

Life With Kids: Why I Shop Second-Hand

I figured I'd start a chapter in my blog (which will have it's own tag line on the side under "The Common Ones") about "Life With Kids" - to help those interested in kid-friendly/specific posts.

So!  Shopping second-hand.


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! :)
Of course when needed - furniture, outdoor equipment if I'm lucky (found a brand new Deuter Kids Comfort III carrier for the kids for 20€ few years ago... ) and whatever else we may need.

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. 
Do you shop second-hand?

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.