Despite the trend of minimalism, the world as a whole is buying more stuff.
In the last fifty years retail spending in Australia has tripled, while the population has only doubled.
Most of these purchases, from clothing to electronics to furniture, are new items. Items that need to be manufactured, often in factories in third world countries, and qthen transported thousands of miles to be purchased at often unbelievably cheap prices. Many of these items are used just briefly, or wear out quickly because of inferior materials, design or manufacturing, and then discarded, either to ‘donation’ centres or landfill.
But it doesn’t have to be like this.
Buying secondhand, preloved, upcycled and vintage furniture and accessories has many benefits.
Here are seven -
- It’s eco friendly, both in materials and transport - we can reuse furniture in our local community and in our own homes, instead of importing it from Asia.
- It can help prevent deforestation - old growth in Indonesia, orang-utan habitat, are often replaced with fast growing species to make furniture.
- It’s made better and will last longer - modern chipboard and laminate furniture is not designed to last, while solid timber furniture can be resurfaced again and again.
- It can help preserve history - not just of the style of the past, but also the timbers. Huon pine is already one species that is under threat and can no longer be logged, and after the catastrophic bush fires there may be more species that we’ll never see made into furniture again.
- It’s different and often unique - most antique and a lot of vintage furniture was craftsman made, by hand, and upcycled furniture is different every time as well.
6. It keeps the money in the local community - buying locally, whether from a small vintage store or from a neighbour, helps everyone, and is better than supporting the big box stores.
7. And of course, it’s often cheaper - you can always pick up a secondhand bargain, and at the moment many antiques are cheaper than buying new factory made furniture at the big furniture stores.
So what do you think? What’s your reason to buy secondhand, antique or vintage?