Don’t waste money on a brand new price tag when you can find something secondhand that’s better—and cheaper.
The first time I had to furnish and decorate an apartment as an adult, I looked around at the empty rooms and immediately became overwhelmed by the task. Where on earth was I supposed to find all these items? My then-girlfriend and I ended up scrounging some home goods (a bedframe and mattress from one friend, a futon from another) and buying whatever else we needed (mismatched flatware and dishes) at the local thrift store. We were college students, newly living in the United States, and we didn’t have the funds or the know-how to buy brand new furniture. Besides, the only store we knew about was IKEA, they didn’t deliver, and we didn’t have an American license.
Twelve years later, we’re married with two kids and have learned a lot more about decorating a home, but we still choose to thrift a lot of things. We’re not alone, either. The preference for used goods over new has seen a huge rise in popularity in recent years, likely due to a combination of pandemic-era frugality and heightened awareness of consumerism’s impact on the climate crisis. A study conducted by GlobalData and aggregated by thredUP, an online resale marketplace, shows that the resale market grew 58 percent in 2021, rising to a massive $35 billion of overall worth. The same study projects that, by 2026, the resale market will be worth $82 billion. Among respondents to GlobalData’s consumer surveys, 50 percent of consumers are aware that “fast fashion” (inexpensive, mass-marketed clothing) is harmful to the environment and 63 percent chose to buy secondhand items in order to save money.