While it's true that I keep a look out for items to re-sell, I have salvaged many items that I use every day, including dishes, Pyrex, cookware, glasses, furniture, toys, books, and vases plus some purely decorative items like art glass and paintings. The vast majority of my finds have been in the "second-hand" economy of thrift stores, yard sales and estate sales or auctions. More and more people are relying on these outlets. As Anneli Rufus, co-author of The Scavengers Handbook, says:
I don't scavenge out of dire necessity... But it's not just a game for me. It's a seriously useful lifestyle in an expensive world where the vast majority of writers -- including my husband and myself -- earn so little that, were they to see the figures, most of our former college classmates would puzzle over how we make ends meet. Thrift shops and yard sales and swapping is how, and the occasional Versace suit plucked from a trash bin. (That happened last Friday, it was right on top of the bin, and it was exactly my size.)
... [A]ttitudes are about to get overhauled, as we are at a point in history when many of the formerly just-making-it and the formerly middle-class are becoming hungry and homeless... For them, as for any of us who need to save cash as the economy nosedives, scavenging will become ever more of a reality and a necessity. When you spot an ex-CEO across the aisle at Goodwill, it won't be exotic anymore.
Most people don't scavenge out of dire necessity, I don't think. I know I don't. Yet. I have been extremely fortunate in this economy so far. Although my 401K has gone to shit and the value of my home has plummeted, my wife and I are both still employed for now. But we both know that can change in the blink of an eye. We need to save for a rainy day. That's one of the reasons we refuse to buy new when we can get what we need or want second hand. Another reason is that buying second hand directly benefits the people that need it most. Almost every thrift store raises money for charity; yard sales help your neighbors raise a little extra cash for their families; estate sales help defray the costs associated with dying, including medical care and funerals. Shopping in the second hand economy also helps keep our dumps and landfills from filling up with stuff that has not yet out-lived its usefulness.
And, yes, another reason is to find collectible items to re-sell to make a little extra cash. A big reason for this series is to provide a place for folks to learn about stuff they may have lying around that they can re-sell for what it's really worth. This week, I found a Torquay mottoware inkwell like this one for $1.99 at the Goodwill. Do you think if the previous owner had known the true worth of this piece, s/he would have given it away? Furthermore, antiques are now seen as a safe investment. What I really like about my knick knacks though is that they link us to our past in a tangible way. I want to continue to write about my passion and I hope that you get something valuable from this series.
So what's your deal this week?