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Who owned it? Who loved it? The romance of buying used

Why would anyone buy something that had been previously owned and loved by someone else when they could buy it brand new in a store?

It’s a valid question. And in a way, for those of us who get it, I’ve already answered it.

It seems only fitting that I offer a glimpse of why I was so drawn to contribute to the stories I’ve found here. It’s time for a confession:  I have a secret fondness for the unexpected items, and the lure of a purchase with a story.

Why is it so easy to be tempted by something that has lived a life already?

Perhaps it is the love of discovery, or maybe it has something to do with the story itself. Often it’s curiosity, a fascination with how things used to be. Other times it’s pragmatism, finding a solution to a problem…or perhaps a creative way around the problem. Is it just me, or does finding what we want through non-traditional means make us more thoughtful?

I can remember a second-hand store in a town near our family cabin, and how I loved to wander the aisles when I was a kid. I have memories of deals found at flea markets, garage sales, and things passed on from relatives or family friends. I’ve wandered antique stores to amuse myself, or while on the hunt for something special.

Then the arrival of the internet changed the game. Just in time too, as my life is busier and trips to an antique store or second-hand store are downright unwieldy with two young kids. If I can barely manage a weekly grocery shop with the two of them in tow, how on earth could I take them to a crowded store filled with one-of-a-kind items?

We’ve dragged home old trunks, a kitchen hutch, a coffee table, the aforementioned wooden crates, a small wooden picnic table and stools, old tins, coasters adorned with the logos of beer we may never sample. We bought an old fridge for our garage the year we got married. And someday I’ll tell you about the old school bus we once bought – that one probably tops any other used purchase we’ve made.

I still look. I peek in the free listings, I look for plant sales, for gardening supplies like mulch and pots, for wooden furniture, vintage posters, and even the odd piano. I even have had my heartstrings tugged by the odd puppy for sale. What? You try scrolling past those cute furry faces.  Someday I will find the perfect, giant dining room table fit for a crowd, I can feel it.

I hope you’ll join me as I indulge my curiosity, and love of a good story, in this place. I will explore possibilities, share a few stories of my own and probably take you along on a few journeys as I come up with ideas for this space we live in. I’m always on the hunt for ways to make it work better for how we live, and as we welcome spring, I’ll be doing the same outside. I may also turn the tables as I gaze upon all I currently own, and imagine fitting it into a different home someday – there may be a few items that I decide to part with.

You’ll hold my hand through that, right?

I’ll try to be brave.

For now, I’ll leave you with a few of my favourite “finds” over the years – all items found through non-traditional, though totally legitimate means, I swear.

 Tins…I can never resist them. Bright colours, and handy for storage.

 These two extinguishers flank our basement fireplace. Copper and red?  Swoon.

 We couldn’t resist these coasters, especially because my husband is Welsh. Ha.

These have held much nostalgia. Also Bailey’s Irish Cream. Ahem.

Remember, I would love to hear the stories behind your favourite “finds” as much as my own, so don’t hesitate to share them!  I’m always on the hunt for inspiration…

Writer, editor, recovering chocoholic. Most often found writing, drinking coffee, and chasing kids. Find her on Twitter @littlemissmocha.

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