The second-hand economy gave me a new perspective

Finance expert Cait Flanders discovered a new way of living through the second-hand economy by de-cluttering her life and fueling her passion for travel.

A few summers ago, I found myself swimming in a sea of clutter. I, the girl whose parents never had to ask her to clean her room, was surrounded by so much stuff that I could never find the one thing I actually needed. Instead, all I could see were the things that collected dust. Books I wanted the smarter version of myself to read. Clothes I wanted the more professional version of myself to wear. Art projects I wanted the more talented version of myself to tackle. I didn’t read, wear, or do any of them – and I knew it was time to give them a second life with someone else.

Over the course of a year, I ended up donating and selling 75% of my belongings. I never intended to do such a massive declutter and purge, but the end result was life-changing. I felt freer. I had more money in the bank which could be fuel for my passions and hobbies. I learned a lot about myself and my shopping tendencies. And I discovered what I valued and appreciated in the things I kept. This newfound happiness couldn’t have been achieved without the second-hand economy and Kijiji. Here are three ways it helped:


  1. It helped me create space in my home.

The initial benefit of decluttering and getting rid of so many of my belongings was the simple fact that my home was no longer filled with clutter. The extra space it created, however, turned out to be an even greater gift. I felt less stressed when I walked into each room. My home felt more open and inviting. 1.9 billion used items were exchanged last year alone in the second-hand economy – think about how much space that is! And that new open space invited more creativity in. It turned out, all the art projects I had planned on doing “one day” were never meant to be done. I started doing my best work after I decluttered, and realized that would probably always be in the form of writing.

  1. It allowed me to give old objects a new purpose.

When I first started to purge, my goal had been to simply remove clutter from my home. As I continued with it, though, I noticed how many of the things I was getting rid of that were in near perfect condition. Some had barely been touched, and a few even still had the original price tags on them. These things were meant to be used, and I hadn’t allowed them to fulfill their purpose. If I had thrown them into the garbage, it would have been a waste of money and a physical waste of goods. By donating and selling these things on Kijiji, I was extending the lifespan of each item and giving it to someone who would actually use it, which is what any minimalist would say is the most important thing you can do with an object: use it.

The average Canadian can earn $1,037

annually by selling used stuff through the second-hand economy

  1. It taught me how to make mindful spending decisions.

I used to make a lot of compulsive spending decisions. I bought things on impulse, thinking it would solve a problem or somehow make my life better. And I don’t want to know how much money I wasted in the process. After passing so many of those items onto other people, I realized I never want my home to be full of things I don’t use again. That’s one of the reasons why the second-hand economy helps – the average Canadian can earn up to $1,037 annually by selling used stuff, with Millennials being the most likely to use it for some side cash. Buying everything brand new came at many costs for me, and I refuse to repeat those mistakes. Knowing there are other options empowers me to make the best decisions and put my money towards experiences and passions.

Knowing what I do now, I’m happy to turn to Kijiji whenever I’m looking to fund my next trip and redecorate a new space. You may be surprised at what you’ll find!

Learn How to Get Involved in the Second-Hand Economy!

Learn How to Get Involved in the Second-Hand Economy!

If you’ve bought or sold used items, swapped, or donated, you’re already an active contributor!

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