Making home from second-hand – part 1 (the why)

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bookshelf2A month. The act of leaving one home and starting to make another has taken over five weeks and left room for little else. Having cleared the items deemed surplus, life outside of work has become packing, moving, unpacking, arranging and rearranging that which survived the cull. It hasn’t been particularly stressful, just tiring and demanding of our time. It has also been enjoyable; a season when we have tangibly experienced the joy of community as our friends gathered to help pack boxes, move furniture and even clean our old oven (a sign of real friendship, if ever you needed one).

Having finished with the packing tape, we’re now making this house into a home of our own. Homes can be a canvas for creativity and even values. The books on our shelves tell a collective story of the type of people we are (magpies for stories and knowledge, diverse in taste and sentimental about childhood). The second-hand bookshelves they sit on tell another story: a central tenet of our lives is the desire to live more sustainably (read more here). We seek to thread this through our home, from where we’ve bought things to my little protest about our throwaway society in the form of a ceramic crumpled ‘paper’ cup containing fabric flowers.

Moving from partially furnished to unfurnished we’ve had to purchase a few things. Our first choice for sourcing them has been second-hand because we’re concerned about where stuff ends up. So often clothes, furniture, decorations with plenty of life left are thrown away because they’re no longer loved, in fashion, perfect… Reusing these items prevents them from languishing in land-fill. Buying second-hand also means we aren’t endorsing (through buying their products) companies whose values are the antithesis of our own.

My wardrobe has been filled with hand-me-downs and charity-shop-finds for years, but since we got married I’ve enjoyed directing my searches towards furnishing the home (more coming up in part 2 on the various second-hand sources I use). I’ve been pleasantly surprised how homely rented places can become, particularly when we’ve taken our time to find pieces that complement each other. A few mismatched woods still pervade (I’m looking at you spare room) but it’s a work in progress. Knowing that we’ve given our sofa a new home and a second lease of life simply adds to my relaxation when I collapse on it at the end of a day’s unpacking.

Today’s soundtrack: Patrick Watson // Adventures in Your Own Backyard


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