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Why I Buy Secondhand

Call me sentimental, but this one dollar thrifted find is more than just an apron to me. It tells a story. It comes to me preloaded with history.

Why buy secondhand |

The worn fabric feels soft in my fingers and I admire the worn floral fabric. It’s starting to go thread bare on the right hand side, directly in the place your hand naturally falls on your thigh when you want to dry or clean your hands.

Why buy secondhand |

I reach down and notice the little pocket is coming apart at the top, on the stitching, because someone has reached into it so much amidst the meals cooked, the home baking prepared and the preserves being bottled. Maybe the pocket held treasures from a visiting grandchild. Or maybe a tissue from a mother lost in her own thoughts as she stares out the kitchen window.

I lift the apron to my nose and discover a smell that reminds me of my late grandma. That powdered perfume smell that greeted me whenever we hugged. The smell that filled her clothes I received when she passed. I wished that smell could never fade from them … but it did.

Why buy secondhand | Offsquare.comAs I turn the apron over in my hands I see the seams are finished with a zig-zag stitch. Someone has lovingly made this at home, handcrafted with fabrics from their stash and no doubt worn with pride.

This is not just an apron. This is a legacy. I get to add to the stories that it already tells. Maybe I’ll end up wearing out the pocket a little more or cause the fabric on the right hand side to become even more threadbare. Who knows, I may even add to the stitching as the apron wears and requires mending.

Why buy secondhand |

This is the joy of thrifting. The joy of buying vintage. Everything tells a story that’s not finished yet because you still need to write your chapter too. As if you are straddling time, holding history while at the same time making it.

Filed under: News

About the Author

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Freelance writer, sewing enthusiast, and coffee appreciator living in NZ


  1. Over the years I’ve brought several pieces of cutlery, enamel dishes – and gem irons! – back to Ireland with me from NZ op shops.Always love using them alongside the old things I pick up here. A cultural mix of kitchenalia. Cx

    • There’s nothing like op-shopping in another country. I bet the gem irons weren’t light in the suitcases, but hopefully well worth it for the baking you can produce!


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