What I buy used versus new

September 20, 2020 by Joshua
in Entrepreneurship

I never noticed how many of my major possessions I bought used versus new.

Side note: I met Craig Newmark—the Craig of Craig’s List—when he spoke at Columbia nearly 20 years ago, then again last winter at a nearby cafe, now closed for the pandemic.


I bought or acquire used

  • Refrigerator—bought on Craig’s List, I think for $50 about ten years ago when my old one broke.
  • Both sofas—neighbors in my building were throwing theirs away so I got them for free. Craig’s List always lists free sofas.
  • Pressure cooker—used from Craig’s List for $50, which was half price
  • Four Stools—free, when a nearby restaurant threw them out while renovating. I saw them on the curb and asked if I could have them.
  • Kettle bells—all used off Craig’s List. I picked up each as I moved up to heavier weights and carried them from the person selling them to the subway, then to my apartment—a lot of work with the 24 and 28 kg ones.
  • Rowing machine—used from Craig’s List for $500, which was half price.
  • Fan—used, Craig’s List
  • Fluorescent foor lamp—saw it in a neighbor’s trash. Took it home. It worked.
  • Three clothing drying racks—bought the first used off Craig’s List. Found the other two in neighbors’ trash.
  • Bed—used from building neighbor for $200.
  • Bike—used, from family, though I put in $400 to make it fit me.
  • Microphone—used from eBay.
  • Soy milk maker—used, Craig’s List, $15, a 90 percent discount.
  • Computer—used, Craig’s List, $500, about a 75 percent discount.
  • Clothes—nearly everything in past five years from thrift shops, including blazers, polo shirts, running shoes, collared shirts (but not underwear or socks, though my current ones are at least five years old).
  • Food—I just shopped at the farmers market yesterday and about 80 percent of what I took home was bruised, beet leaves customers who didn’t want so the vendor was going to compost, corn I saw no problem with but they were scrapping, and other things they gave me for free.
  • Flower pots—neighbors were throwing them away so got them for free, along with the dirt.
  • Books—At any time I tend to have maybe 2 to 5 books at home. I have five now—two from the library and three from neighbors’ trash.
  • Vitamix blender—inherited one from the 80s from my mom, traded it in for a factory reconditioned one.
  • Cameras—I just bought one used from Craig’s List for $25 to replace my old one, a gift from an ex-girlfriend when she bought a new one.


Things I bought new

  • Aeron chair, probably my most expensive item I bought new, though at least 20 years ago
  • Clothes over five years old
  • Toaster, though bought from an overstock store
  • Amplifier, though could only use Groupon returns on their products. They had my money and I couldn’t avoid spending it on something.
  • Speakers, but they’re about 20 years old
  • Sheets, also about 20 years old and need repair.
  • Quilt, my grandmother made it for me, probably from scraps so may belong to Used.
  • Microwave oven, though I don’t think I’ve used it this year
  • Kitchen and bathroom fixtures—toilet, mirror, sinks, cupboards.


Until writing this post, I didn’t notice how many of my major possessions I bought used or got free from neighbors. They all work, though I’m sure I bought other things that didn’t work out or broke.

I’m sure I’m missing some things, but I think I covered the big things. Looking around I see mason jars, umbrellas, a folding chair, and other sundries I got used.

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