Our Second-Hand Happy Life

Ten years ago, I would never have admitted to buying anything used, let alone believed one day I would be writing about it. The stigma (in my mind) of buying something that someone else breathed on, wore, sat on, slept in, or otherwise owned grossed me out. I worked retail for over 15 years prior, and there were some pretty disgusting things I wish I could erase from my memory! I mean, who in the WORLD would even THINK to donate or sell their used bed sheets, old bikinis, or shoes? Surely no one would ever buy those things, right??

The Awakening?

I’m not sure exactly when the light turned on. Maybe it was after I married my husband 8 years ago and money was T.I.G.H.T., or when I decided to stay at home when our first child came along three years later (I had a son from a previous marriage, so I wasn’t new to parenting on a budget exactly). Or, maybe it was when I became obsessed with becoming self-sufficient, which led to extreme couponing, then canning, (and then gardening, dehydrating foods, emergency food storage, bug out bags, bulk food buying, and reading. every. book. I. could. find. at my local library to learn how to cut costs…) Yeah, I went off the deep end- but my amazingly patient husband supported me through it all. I’m back above water now, much to his relief, I’m sure…

Decisions, decisions…

However it came about, Husband and I decided that frugality was not a ‘bad word’, and wearing “experienced clothing” wasn’t a bad thing -that’s what washing machines are for. Used housewares just made sense as long as they were good quality (HELLO CAST IRON!! My LOVE!). Early in our marriage, before our little girl was born, we decided that our kids wouldn’t need NEW clothes, just good quality, cheap clothes since they wouldn’t be wearing them for more than 8.5 seconds before outgrowing them. New clothes could come from grandparents, or clearance racks at Wal-Mart. The rest would come from garage sales, consignment stores, and friends.

Our kids (we have three total, 17, 4, and almost 11 months) have never suffered from owning someone else’s name brand shirts or last years jeans styles.The key is to look for classic pieces, clothing that works year over year. This Mama knows how to pick ’em, and how to mend, alter, modify, style them, and accessorize when necessary. I’ve even been known to sew a few pieces of clothing for them over the years, and THOSE clothes were made from fabric from other clothes, remnants from a fabric store, or fabrics and sheets from Goodwill (yes, I found a use for those sheets!). I’ve received nothing but compliments about how well our children are dressed, and I’m always asked: “Where did you buy that?”. I’m proud to tell them now, the stigma is gone.

Our kids are happy, growing, and blissfully unaware of current trends, and I’m ok with that. And if Mama’s happy, then everyone is happy!