Four years in, I've come up with the following 12 reasons I dare everyone to Buy Nothing New.
1. Exclusivity: I curate my home and wardrobe almost exclusively with 2nd hand finds. There's an exclusivity that comes with designing this way, no one's home or wardrobe is going to look quite like yours.
2. Savings: You will save hundreds each year waiting to obtain furniture, clothing, and other essentials at discounts, from thrift stores, or for free. (As hand-me-downs, from the curbside, etc.) I love building up my savings without sacrificing quality.
3. Better Experience: My favorite flea market vendors know me by name and they're always animated and interesting. The people I meet through indie and second-hand shopping experiences are delightful. I can't normally say this about the conventional retail shopping experience.
4. "Beat The System" / Anti-Consumerism: We're constantly bombarded with buy/buy/buy proclamations at every corner of life in our Capitalism-ruled lives. (And I'm part of the system, I know I can't escape. Even though I'm as indie as humanly possible.) I love giving a big Eff You to the man and escaping the constant flashing advertisements by making due with what I have and finding what I need without buying anything new. It's not total escapism as I'm still buying, but at least it doesn't support slave labor.
5. Creativity: Limitations force creativity, it's a fact. Some of my absolute favorite movies or projects are quirky and unique because of budget or time limitations forcing directors and set designers to make the most out of the little they had. Using my resources wisely forces me to try what I wouldn't and keeps creative juices flowing. I don't "buy" solutions, I make them.
6. Introspection: Consumerism is deeply psychological and like I've covered many times before (read) we will often buy physical items to fill an emotional void. Avoiding the retail machine forces me to step back and examine why I want to buy something new. We shouldn't need a material item for that type of spiritual fulfillment.
7. Environment: I can easily see the Wall-E future really happening, a future where robots are invented to dig humans out from under miles-deep piles of capitalist culture trash. We're mindlessly producing and disposing, it has to stop. I love not contributing to the clutter and buying used. There's plenty to go around. As an experienced thrifted I'm confident there's already enough resources made for everyone on the planet to be well clothed and all homes well furnished.
I'm currently re-designing my apartment using mostly what I find second-hand, what I already own, what I make, family heirlooms and art.
8. Socialism: Some (most?) of what you can buy in big chain retail stores was made by slave labor. I can't support this in good conscience. (Watch The High Cost of Low Prices on Netflix if you haven't for a detailed look at this in action.)
9. Independence: Going without buying new things forces you to learn new skills and become less dependent on the government and higher powers to make a living. Speaking of independence, this allows us to support indie business owners! (We need the help!)
10. Family/Community: Why decorate with ubiquitous retail items when your family heirlooms have such an amazing story to tell? Shop your parent's and grandparent's house for wares. Furthermore, why buy an item you use once a year when you can borrow it from friends, family or neighbors? Do the same likewise for them. Buying nothing new strengthens your community bond.
11. New Skills: Gardening, sewing, hunting, there are so many sustainable skills to learn when you make an effort to avoid the retail beast.
12. More Value: You value your few retail items more when they're rare. And your second-hand items (especially if they're vintage, which are often of higher quality than conventional items made today) could have more literal value than what you could buy at the store. You could resell a vintage items you found for yourself for more down the line if desired and it will outlast your "new" clothing and furniture finds! Same goes for buying from indie craftsmen.
I'm no saint. I lust over and occasionally succumb to the retail monster. I understand the allure. BUT for the many reasons you see above continuing to keep as close to my Buy Nothing New vow as possible. It's incredibly enriching. I challenge you to Buy Nothing New. Your wallet and your soul will thank you.
BTW: Katy's The Non Consumer Advocate is an inspiring read for people who want to live this lifestyle. Any others to share? Let me know in the comments.