Recently, my family and I embarked on an interstate move back to the area where I grew up. As a move, it has been, as one sister put it, monumental in length, energy, and work. But the end is near. We are about to move into a townhouse we were lucky enough to find in a time when home buying is extremely difficult.
As we look toward owning a home, we wanted to buy a few things we didn’t yet have. Two items were an electric lawn mower and electric snowblower. Since moving back to southeast Iowa, we had been introduced by family members to a large auction near our town, where every week a person can find almost anything under the sun to bid on. We found our needed lawn equipment and bought it through bidding at much reduced prices. Afterward, I felt a satisfaction as deep as the spirit. I wondered whether this feeling truly was spiritually based and if so, why? Several ideas came to mind.
I felt a satisfaction as deep as the spirit.
First off, we saved money, which helps us complete a move that has felt pre-ordained from the beginning. As long as it has taken, and as much work as it has been, everything has fallen into place in ways that have sometimes felt miraculous. So, perhaps my soul-satisfaction is due, in part, to a feeling that God has been with us from the start and continues to offer us grace as we find our way to a new home.
I also know that buying things from this auction means buying things that are used or are new but unsellable (boxes that have been opened, etc.). It used to be that stores re-sold items that were taken home and returned, but that doesn’t happen much anymore. Happily, we are helping to save these from the landfill or from floating in the ocean somewhere. We are caring for the earth. We are also simply cutting down on waste, period, which is good stewardship. And they are electric, so eco-friendly compared to gas-powered equipment.
The auction has an unmistakably communal aspect to it. We go out to look at items, along with others from the community. We then bid online. If we win the bidding, we go back to pick up our purchases with a little help from family for heavier items. It is an interesting place to spend time. During the height of the pandemic, this was one place that stayed open and available for the community to gather. The big storage buildings are airy and often opened up.
One part of reusing and repurposing that fills the soul is the creativity it elicits.
Besides buying items at the auction, we’ve also found a wonderful second-hand store where we’ve found needed clothing and shoes. One part of reusing and repurposing that fills the soul is the creativity it elicits. We look at discarded items and figure out how to transform them into something useful to us. It can be fun to make something out of “nothing” or better said, take someone else’s trash and make it over into treasure. Mending a rip, adding a new coat of paint, or finding a completely new use for something gives us the opportunity to learn skills and put our personal creative touch on things. It is a win/win/win/win—save money, save the landfill from growing, have fun creating, and fulfill some need or desire that we have.
When there are four wins and no losses, that is a beautiful design. In fact, this is modeled after the earth’s constant renewing of itself through recycling water, energy, oxygen, and nutrients. Buying items from the “second-hand economy” is good for us, the earth, our community, and our finances. We may even have extra money to give to a food bank or to buy flowers for a sick friend.
This is modeled after the earth’s constant renewing of itself.
If buying second-hand is not familiar, I would challenge you to give it a try and see how it goes. There are Buy Nothing Facebook groups in many communities that function like our auction, except every item posted is given freely. Buying second-hand, vintage, or returned items dovetails with the earth’s beautiful design of recycling and is rooted in our being made in the image of the Creator, not only able to create, but finding joy in it.