What is junk?
The definition clearly depends on who you are and what you like. I've got nothing against shiny-brand-new, but for things other than computers and appliances, I don't see the point. I'd rather re-use something from an era when things were made to last, than buy something brand new that was designed to decorate a landfill site in ten years.
So, my top five 'buy it old' items?
5 - Clothes: I do love a thrift store bargain, but so many people turn their noses up at used clothing. It's the thrill of the hunt for me, but you have to be willing to take a lot of time over it, to get quality clothes that fit well. If thrift stores ick you out, try consignment shops!
4 - Furniture: Gotta be careful here... no used mattresses, thank you very much, and any soft good, you have to be careful about. Likewise, wood items must be carefully inspected to be sure they are not carrying anything... um, moving.
3 - Pots and Pans: Who doesn't love Le Creuset? And those things are made to last forever, if you treat them right (kind of like friendships, right?) I bought a 2 Quart Dutch Oven used for $50. New and discounted at Williams Sonoma it was $165. 'Nuff said.
2 - Books: I know, who doesn't love a brand new book, no broken spine, fresh off the press? I love 'em, and when it comes to the romance novels I adore, if one of my favorite authors has a new one out, I'll buy it brand new. But there is nothing wrong with a used book store, and I have found some gems there, books that have led to new-to-me authors now on my auto-buy list that I would never have discovered if not for the used book store!
1 - Dishes and Serving Ware: I cannot understand buying new. Of course, it helps that my sister is in the 'rediscovered' or estate china business, as Becca calls it. But her stuff is high end. I'm talking about vintage Pyrex, Corning Ware, Lusterware, Fiesta, Depression glass... beautiful, durable and inexpensive. I know... you can't put them in the dishwasher, so I understand if you've got a big family, practicality wins out. My problem is how to stop buying. I want to rescue every piece of stray Pyrex I find, to get it a good home. Kind of like animals; Hoppy and Denver are both rescues, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
However... there is another, darker chapter in my collecting craze. This is where I can understand my sister and mother's objections, even as I keep collecting. I am creating a kind of display on the top of my vintage cabinets, and so I've been buying old commercial tins, like Calumet Baking Soda, Quaker Oats, that kind of thing, and sometimes the tins are kind of rusty. My mother and sister look at them in horror, but I like how they look.
I guess we'll never agree on everything. I point them to TV shows like American Pickers, and they point to TV shows like Hoarders.
So, what about you? Do you buy everything new? Is there anything you always buy used, or will NEVER buy used?