The Universe Conspires With Me

We have had some marvellous second hand finds this week. First, The Girl wanted a blender to take back to her cupboard-sized kitchen in her apartment in Melbourne so she can make yummy smoothies and dips whilst studying Chemistry and Microbiology. We found one in the op-shop, still in its box and plastic bags, never used. Brilliant!

Then in a new op shop I had never visited before I found an ironing board. A few months ago my 25 year old ironing board broke, because I had stored it next to my fifteen year old washing machine. The washing machine had a fit, jumped across the floor and jammed the ironing board against the wall, crushing all its wheels and delicate bits. I tell you, the appliances in my house are scary. My drive to eliminate appliances from my house is not all about saving electricity and living the simple life - it is also about self-defence. For a few months now I have been ironing on a towel on the end of the dining room table. Don't feel terribly sorry for me though. I have all but eliminated ironing from my life. I do it by a)not caring and b)hanging shirts, school uniforms and my work clothes on the line on their hangers. They mostly dry mostly wrinkle-free. Well, wrinkle-free enough for me anyway! Still, ironing on a towel on the table is really not that efficient, so I am very grateful for my new board. I will transfer over the intact cover from the old board, and take the old board to the metal recycling bin at the tip. It has done much honourable work in its time:)

I decided I wanted a hand-held vacuum. And I hear you asking why Ms Vowed-and-Declared Anti-Consumer wants another appliance? Well, it is to replace my standard vacuum cleaner. Since I moved to a house with wooden floors I have used my vacuum cleaner about twice in nine months. I just sweep instead. And the vacuum cleaner doesn't have a home and I trip over it constantly in the back porch. Last week I spent some time trying to work out where to store it and wondering if I needed to build a cupboard, and then I thought, "Why not get rid of it?".. but then, how to vacuum the car? Anyone who knows me will be laughing their heads off right now, because I rarely if ever vacuum the car, and this is principally because I live in a house with no off-street parking, and I would have to drag the vacuum cleaner out to the street. Who am I kidding? It is mostly because I hate vacuuming the car. BUT with a hand-held vacuum cleaner I could bribe the children to do it. And then I could store it in a cupboard.

This is the most space age vacuum cleaner I have ever seen. I am worried it may actually take off..

So I hunted for one on Gumtree, and found one, also new, never been taken out of the box. It is clearly a theme this week. I negotiated a price with the seller, which was very brave of me, because really I find the whole process very scary, and went and picked it up today, and now I have an actual new vacuum cleaner, because its previous owner bought it, then moved house and decided she needed a stick vacuum instead, without ever actually having used this one.. people are odd, but I must say, it works out well for me.

I also bought some nice clothes and some more of my favourite drinking glasses, so I think I am done with the second-hand shopping for a while. I might stay home and read a (second-hand) book instead..

I feel good to have found what I need second hand, reduced the enormous inventory of unwanted goods, contributed to charity, kept money local, and spent very little, but I also feel a bit appalled at the amount of stuff that is out there, abandoned because someone wants something newer, better, different.


Fernglade Farm said…
Hi Jo,

In the blue corner is the 25 year old ironing board, and in the red corner is the champ: the washing machine. The bell is rung and the two combatants eye each other off, before the washing machine closes in looking for the knock out blow. :-)! Stay safe and keep well clear of those two. It sounds a bit scary! I hope you have forgiven your washing machine for knocking out the old ironing board? ;-)!

Well done for negotiating the purchase. A useful technique is to attempt the "ambit claim" which is defined as: In negotiation, an ambit claim is an extravagant initial demand made in expectation of an eventual counter-offer and compromise. If you are uncomfortable with that, remember to laugh (albeit read the situation and see whether they have a sense of humour and adjust your laugh and response accordingly) as negotiation is meant to be a dialogue and the laugh shows that you only meant the ambit claim in jest, but it is a starting point which they can then respond too.

It is a bit scary just how much quality stuff is going for a song!


Jo said…
Chris, ha, the old washing machine was hauled away by the washing machine repairman for punishment! Ok, now I have a new phrase to add to my vocabulary - I will duly laugh at ambit claims at the beginning of the haggling process:) And yes, it seems insane how much 'stuff' is just discarded for no good reason. I guess we should capitalise on it now, as it won't last forever. People will wake up when money gets tight..
Anonymous said…
I think it is not only deplorable how much is produced to never be used, but it's also scary, especially sitting here in the heat wave. Climate change. Over consumption. Coal. All linked.

When I watch a decluttering show filmed in the US, I'm always amazed that people can buy so much. The show is always on working class people. How can the afford to keep buying things?

PS, I hope your washing machine came home suitably chastised and remorseful.
Jo said…
Lucinda, I guess that is why so many people are in so much debt - the buying of stuff just never ends.

The naughty, naughty washing machine was banished to the washing machine repair man's shed, where it had all it's insides taken out to be reconditioned. That will learn it!

Instead I got a very well-behaved washing machine (second-hand of course) from the same washing machine repairman, that had previously been suitably chastised by him. Spare the rod and spoil the whitegoods is my new mantra..
Unknown said…
It looks like you got some great (or at least some interesting) cleaning tools. I always enjoy finding new products in less mainstream stores. You can usually find one or two different treasures in these stores. The prices are usually pretty decent, too. I would love to know how that space age vacuum turns out!

Larry Brannon @ LeonardBrush And Chemical
Alison Norman said…
I am so jealous of all the incredible things you found while you were out secondhand shopping. I am never that lucky. It is nice that your were able to fins a smaller sized vacuum. I live in a small apartment myself and I don't think I would have enough room to fit a big one. Thanks for the humorous post!

Alison Norman @ Power Boss

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