Confessions of a Compact Crusader – Why I Choose To Only Buy Used

by Katy on May 21, 2008 · 3 comments

I’m a member of “The Compact.” And no – it doesn’t involve polygamy and drab clothing. It’s a group of people who’ve chosen to not buy anything new for a one year period. I actually started in January 2007 and have yet to feel the need to stop. The Compact was started by a group of San Francisco hipster friends in 2005 who were fed up with the consumer lifestyle. It has since grown exponentially and there are 8000+ members on The Compact Yahoo group alone.

What’s the point you may ask. Here you go:

  • 1/3 of all the world’s oil supplies are used for shipping. (Source to factory, to warehouse, to store)

  • The packaging used for new items is often to the point of ridiculous. If you doubt me, you are welcome to time travel back to my living room Christmas 2005 to watch my kids take 15+ minutes apiece trying to release their grandma purchased “Transformer Unicrons” from their packaging prisons. Packaging shouldn’t make you cry. Even the most ardent recycler can be stumped on how to responsibly deal with blister packs and the like.

  • When buying second hand it’s easier to tell when an item is high quality. If your thing-a-majig has survived its first owner, chances are it will continue to last for you.

  • You can indulge your taste for designer and status items. I couldn’t afford to shop regularly at Nordstrom, but when choosing between a $3 pair of Target pants and a $3 pair of Nordstrom pants at Goodwill, guess which pair comes home with me? Good guess.

  • By buying used, you are not supporting factories in foreign countries with questionable worker’s rights.

  • Oh yeah. . . it’s cheaper! When I spend less money, I need to earn less money. Therefore I commute less, can cook from scratch more, am less burnt out at my high stress job as a labor and delivery RN. The ripple effects for me seem endless.

Don’t think you could get through a year without buying new? Start small. I went into it thinking I would try it for a month – and that was 17 months ago.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa Whipple May 21, 2008 at 4:03 pm

Great blog, Katy. I assume that you are all over your local Freecycle group. Look forward to reading more.


Marie Javins May 25, 2008 at 3:11 pm

What a great idea. I am going to try this a bit passively, that is give it a try without being too hard on myself. And yeah, I still want new underwear too.


katzien August 23, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Yup, just found you via the Today Show, but now I’m starting from the beginning. I’ll catch up to you in 2012 soon!


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