Secondhand, Second Chance, Second Life

pile of second hand clothes

Have you ever wandered into the marvelous world of what some refer to as “Dig Stores”? 

You know those places with narrow pathways filled with treasure or trash that you find yourself “digging” through asking questions like, what the heck is this?  Where did it come from?  Who made it?  Who used it?  Who loved it?   You may know them as thrift and secondhand shops and they are a world unto themselves.

We can see things that still have beauty and life in them, even under the layer of paint and/or dust.  Sometimes, they speak to us, asking to be taken home and given a second chance.

Author Adam Minter is featured this month on our social media postings and takes us behind the scenes in his new book, Secondhand – Travels in the New Global Garage Sale. He reveals that only about 1/3 of the items we see in these stores will receive a second chance, the rest end up elsewhere or worse, the dump. The waste is hard to deal with – there’s got to be a better way. 

Enter Pathfinders and our program, Project Good Works

The clients that Pathfinders Downsizing Solutions, assist with downsizing and moving transitions could be the faces and lives connected to all those Dig Store treasures. 

Minter speaks to the emotional pain of separating “The Material Legacy” of a generation that has lived in the same house for years and a lifetime of accumulating “stuff”.  The circumstances that prompt the move are sometimes intentional but often unforeseen and unavoidable. 

Pathfinders help them to “move on” in every way imaginable – emotionally, mentally, physically, and geographically. 

It is the difficult process of letting go of items that have become a source of identity.  Memories, traditions, and sentimental attachments give comfort.  However, there are also many utilitarian items that are no longer serving clients but deserve a second chance to serve another, rather than be sentenced to a landfill.   For instance, according to Minter, large furniture items that are heavy or bulky usually end up in the incinerator.

Project Good Works has become a resource for these items deserving a second chance and local communities that desperately need them. Jackie and Jody are two foster mothers who combined their households to create a home for ten children and found themselves eating dinner at three different tables.  The solution was a beautiful large dining table that sat fourteen from a client who rarely used it.  The table would have likely ended up in the dump. Now has a second chance to be useful and the process of letting go was less painful because it went to a family who needed it and would appreciate it.  Win, win, win!   It is not often you get to say that! 

One of the interesting points Minter made that hit close to home refers to our life long collecting of stuff and the emotional burden families have of sorting through while grieving.  “The Therapy of Letting Go” is something we should all examine at now vs. later.  If you had to leave your home and relocate to a smaller footprint – what would you take?   What would be important?  What would be the most useful or functional items?  What could you absolutely not live without? 

Admittedly, downsizing is not for the faint of heart – it’s tricky, sticky business because everyone’s needs are unique.  Hearing someone say “you don’t need that” can be fighting words!  Is it what we need or what we want or how something makes us feel that sets the tone for how we decide what stays and what goes? 

Seeing firsthand the emotional stress of this process is a real eye- opener.  Those intentionally letting go tend to embrace a “lighter” lifestyle and are happy they did – their loved ones will be happy they did too!

Contact us at Pathfinders Downsizing Solutions for your Free Quote.

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