Reduce, reuse, recycle. How many times have you heard that one? Whatever the case, one of my favorite ways to practice the second “r” is by frequenting the local flea markets. Why buy new when there’s plenty of used items in this world that could use a good home? I am convinced you could get nearly anything you need at flea markets and thrift stores, for a better price (ecologically and economically!), and sometimes, better quality than you could new from the store.
Every month, I visit the local flea market in search of building tools, kitchen supplies, household items, and furniture. The local flea market here (in very rural Missouri) is home to much junk, but among the piles of rust and grit are often overlooked gems. One of my favorite recent purchases was a large 12″ cast iron skillet for $15, which will probably live longer than I ever will. ($15 is actually a pretty super deal, as far as cast iron is concerned.) I’ve found giant wool woven rugs for $13 and under (these things are usually hundreds of dollars), tons of older and very useful hand tools such as axes, hatchets, planes, etc., and all sorts of other valuable items. Most of my construction work has been done with flea market finds, and much of my kitchen is outfitted with flea market wares.
I don’t usually buy things unless I know I have a use for something, and I don’t feel any guilt over buying used items. And that is why I love flea markets: instead of buying new, I can get the same things used for a much lower ecological cost.
Even if your area may not be home to a standout flea market, consider frequenting garage and yard sales, and thrift and antique stores the next time you are looking for something!