Shopping to Save the Planet?

Chances are you’ve heard of Marie Kondo, the tidying expert who encourages people to choose joy when deciding which items to keep and which to let go of. Her insanely popular Netflix series, “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” was a major cause of thrift stores being inundated with donations.

While it’s fantastic that so many let go of so much, it’s now time to go BK — Beyond Kondo.

There is such an overabundance of items in the world yet we default to buying new, perpetuating the saturation problem. In fact, many thrift stores stopped accepting donations because they were busting at the seams thanks to Kondo!

Advertisers and marketers have done a great job at making us believe that the newest, shiniest, latest-version item is the best and that having anything less is a liability, whether functionally or socially. One way you can help heal our planet and fight back against the effects of climate change (yes, it’s real!) is to stop falling for this gimmick.

Consider this: When you’re in the market for something, how often, if ever, do you shop at a thrift store or check out your local swap center? If you’re like most people, the answer is probably “rarely.”

Well, I’m here to tell you that there are some amazing finds to be had at these places! That photo at the top of the page — that is a thrift store near me call The Blessing Barn. Pretty incredible, eh? And by shopping at these stores, you get to support a charitable organization and your local community. Sounds like a win/win to me!

As I look around our tiny house, I see reclaimed barn board on two walls, kitchen cabinets purchased off someone who was remodeling his house that we sanded and painted, a beautiful light on the wall, refinished to match our decor, that we bought for $4 at ReStore, kitchen hardware that we sanded and repainted, a shelving unit we bought at a local thrift store, and a microwave cart that we repurposed into our bathroom vanity.

Hearing this, you might think our home looks like a hodge-podge of thrift store finds, however, its style is actually more of a modern farmhouse. In fact, the things most people comment on upon entering are those second-hand items that have been given a new life. See the bottom of this post for pictures.

I recently connected with a local woman who has two kids starting college at the same time and was able to offer her a mini-fridge that was barely used for a fraction of the price of a new one. I say brava to her for shopping the second-hand economy instead of running to the nearest box store to buy new. And for saving herself some dough!

When I peruse the swap section of my town’s transfer station, I’m stunned by how much is there. On any given day, there are about 20 baby gates, 10 couches, hundreds of kitchen items, countless gadgets, piles of sporting equipment, buckets of toys, and more. What’s really lovely is that people in town can come here and shop for free! What would be lovelier is seeing more people do it.

In Sweden (leave it to the forward-thinking Swedes!), they believe so much in the second-hand economy that you’ll find the world’s first-ever second-hand mall! According to the article on the Huffington Post, “Everything there is recycled, reused, or sustainably produced.” Now THAT’S what I’m talking about!

You might be thinking, “Can shopping second-hand really help the planet?” Absolutely! The more we shop second-hand, the lower the demand for “new.”

The lower the demand for “new”, the fewer the items that will be produced.

The fewer the items produced, the lower the carbon dioxide emissions.

The lower the carbon dioxide emissions, the healthier our planet.

Climate change is real, y’all, and it’s not going away anytime soon unless we take steps to do our part. If many of us make one small change in the way we live to support Mother Earth, we can help this critical situation.

As Anita Roddick said, “If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito.”

I wish you space and clarity. 🧡

Barn board wall with thrift store light.

Kitchen cabinets painted with a color called Deep Breath. Hardware refinished, too!

Microwave cart turned bathroom vanity.

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