When I was a wee lad growing up in Loxton North, South Australia, we lived on a dairy farm. Our humble farm house was furnished with mainly second hand furniture because that was how it was done back then in the 70’s.
|Gavin (left) and James in Loxton North|
I remember that the bunk bed I shared with my brother Jim was purchased at an auction, as were most of the other furnishings. Lots of kitchenware was passed down, as were our kitchen table and chairs. Even my chemistry set was bought at an auction. Many of these auctions were deceased estates or farmers selling up. They were a treasure trove of goodies for an eagle eyed man like my Dad.
In fact, just about everything had a second life and things were built to last!
Back then, people used to share stuff as well. If you didn’t own a certain tool that you needed for a once off job, more often than not you could borrow one from a neighbour and friend. There was no hyper-individualism like there is today.
With designed obsolescence, and cheaply manufactured crap, those days of hand-me-downs and borrowing have all but faded into history. This makes an event like Buy Nothing New Month difficult for the average bloke.
I have been thinking a lot about Buy Nothing New Month since I pledged to take up the challenge. It soon became evident to me that our Con$umer Kulture is so out of kilter with the basic premise of this challenge, that to be successful I would have to reshape my default setting of buying new stuff, to one of buying, borrowing, sharing second hand stuff instead.
This leads me to the conclusion that to make this work permanently, I would have to make buying second hand my default setting, and revert to the ways of my parents and grandparents. This is not a bad thing by any means. It is just a different way of thinking. Instead of buying from, say Target or Kmart, I make my first stop second hand instead.
So far my challenge has been on track, and I haven’t bought anything so far, but I know that will change soon. I do have an ample supply of beer that will be ready in two weeks, so I am okay there. It is just that Kim and I are planning to teach soap making workshops soon, and need to source a stick blender and a digital kitchen scale.
We will put an ad out on our local Freecycle, but I am not holding my breath. I will also scour the op shops and secondhand stores we have in our town, so maybe we will come up trumps there. We could also ask friends if we can borrow these items, but I am after a more permanent solution, as we plan to teach these courses at least once a quarter.
I could buy these items under the ‘personal hygiene’ part of the challenge as we are making soap after all, but I would feel that I had cheated a little.
Fingers crossed, we will get lucky. I am very excited about what I may discover around town. I may also discover something of my past as well!
I am now ready for my default setting to be reset. How about you?