When my first child was 18 months old, I realized I had been obsessed with ‘stuff’’. I was always looking for the next best thing to give my baby his start in life. I placed too much value on products and brands than what deep down, I was truly comfortable with. In fact, my shopping behavior often contradicted my value system. I was a big fat hypocrite and I wanted to change. One way I did this was to prioritise buying secondhand or recycled.
So what is buying recycled or secondhand all about?
It’s about NOT buying into our shopping culture
We live in a shopping culture that promotes consumerism, superficiality and sadly, greed. The more we have – the more we want. We live in a culture where we have so much and yet we live as if we never have enough.
It’s about instilling values in our families…..
As a family we can afford to buy new clothes and equipment but we choose not to.
We want to raise our boys to value themselves far above what brands they wear and teach them that as long as you look neat (ish) then really, clothes are just to stop you being naked. Ask me how this is going when they’re teenagers but for now it works!
It’s about being frugal…
Frugal, I admit, isn’t a nice word but it means being thoughtful and considerate of how we spend our money. If we acknowledge that babies and kids do not NEED new clothes, toys and accessories then there are lots of ways we can learn to be frugal: op shopping, online stores, genuine clearances and of course hand me downs.
There are lots of other things we can do with the money we save. I like to use the money we save to spend on experiences that will benefit our kids like music lessons, sports, and holidays. Sometimes being frugal is necessary for survival but either way, it’s a good thing!
It’s about considering our impact on the environment….
Re-cycled stuff means less waste going into landfill. Buying secondhand not only benefits your wallet but it directly impacts the environment too.
It’s about welcoming opportunities to be generous….
If we are frugal, it doesn’t mean we have to be stingey. If we are good with our money it means we have more to give to others in acts of kindness and generosity.
Sharing our clothes, or baby things, or even stuff we no longer need is an opportunity to be generous. In a time where people don’t like to give anything away for nothing, we can be an example of generosity by choosing to hand it on instead of selling it.
Buying secondhand is also an ethical alternative
Just this week, I was the recipient of generosity. I had two friends drop off bags of clothes for the boys, one friend drop of a near new tricycle and then my neighbor decided to give us her swing set! I felt incredibly blessed and used it as a reminder to continue to be generous to others.
Buying secondhand or recycled where possible is a great option for families whether we are preparing for a new baby or living with children!