Eco shopping for household goods

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toolsThis week’s “Change the world Wednesday” challenge was suggested by Marcy, from Cooking Rut, who said “I grew up with parents who were antique dealers. Most of the furniture we had was purchased at auctions. If you think about it buying antiques or purchasing used furniture is very green”.

So our challenge is to consider antique stores for household purchases this week.

Well I don’t actually need to buy anything at the moment, and I’m certainly not going to buy for the sake of it. Even though I fully endorse buying fairtrade, organic, local or second hand, the greenest consumerism of all is to not buy anything unless absolutely necessary!

If antiques aren’t your thing, or are out of your price range (around here, antiques hold their value and tend to be more than I can afford) there are plenty of other ways to give and get things for free. Here are six ideas and I’d love to hear yours!


Everyone has probably heard of the Freecycle Network by now. They are a series of local online groups where you can advertise things you no longer want. Everyone in the group gets a copy of that message and can contact you if they want what you are offering. You can also put in a ‘wanted’ ad for something you need.


An online marketplace where you can get the buzz of an auction whilst sitting on your sofa. Pop in your bid (or Buy It Now if it’s a BIN auction) and wait for the bidding to end to see if you are the winner. It’s not without its problems – make sure you read all the small print, check out the postage details before bidding and check the persons feedback before making a bid.

Local newspaper

The old fashioned way before the internet took off! Our local paper is still stuffed full of adverts for everything from furniture to cars. The advantage to buying local is you can view before you part with your cash.


There are bargains galore to be found in charity shops. I love scouring around ours looking for that elusive bargain. You never know what you are going to find, but you can be sure to find something interesting on your trips! And don’t forget to take your unloved items with you to donate.

Garage or car boot sales

This is what lazy Sunday mornings in Summer are all about! There’s nothing quite like taking a peek at people’s lives in the boot of their car. It’s amazing what you can find – usually you’ll find plenty of glassware, dishes and old tools for next to nothing.


If you only need something for a while; say a tile cutter while you refurbish your bathroom or a rotovator to dig your vegetable bed in the spring time, why not see if you can borrow from a friend or neighbour. If that’s not forthcoming, time banks such as LETS might enable you to borrow what you need in exchange for some local currency or man hours.

What about you? How do you shop green for household goods?


  1. Small Footprints on March 16, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    Fabulous suggestions! Freecycle in my area took awhile to get going but now it’s thriving. It’s a brilliant idea! Another suggestion is Craigslist … one can sell or find items … and they even have a “free” section.

    Thanks, again!

  2. Mrs Green on March 20, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    @Small Footprints: Glad that freecycle has caught on. I created our local group and it took 2 years to get to 4000 members,but after that it rocketed.
    Thanks for craigslist; it’s not something I use so I tend to forget about it.

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