OPINION

Waste not, want not and get on the trail of a sale

My grandparents didn't waste anything. Nor did my parents. Not a thing.

That's just how they rolled. Stuff was precious and often hard to come by. "Money doesn't grow on trees they used to say." And stuff was built to last.

But as our unquenchable thirst for stuff was met with cheaper and faster production, the stuff we buy either doesn't last long or we dispose of it before its come to the end of its life.

To put it into context by the time you've read this article, Australians will have thrown out about 3,000kg of clothes and textiles. That's the same weight as six blue whales of clothes and textiles thrown out every hour.

But as we start to realise that the path we're on won't end so well for our kids and planet Earth, there are lots of things we can do. There's ethical superannuation, renewable energy, or eating less red meat.

There's lots of other things we can do too, simple things that make a difference, like reduce the amount of new stuff we consume and reuse the stuff we do have. Value what we have and not waste stuff, like our parents and their parents before them.

I've been lucky enough to start a national weekend of garage sales, Garage Sale Trail. The lucky part is that people have liked it and this October 19 and 20 almost 400,000 will hit the streets to buy and sell at close to 20,000 garage sales across the country.

Garage Sale Trail is a bunch of fun. You meet your neighbours, you discover treasure, you hangout in your street, you might give your garage sale a kooky name, get dressed up or play some tunes. But it has a serious side too.

It's all about rethinking the take-make-waste mindset and understanding that what, and how, we buy stuff impacts not just our hip pocket, but the entire planet.

It's about showing how the little acts of change we make as individuals, can make a big difference.

By giving your stuff a second life in a new home, the value of all the effort and resources used to create it is multiplied. Reuse is one way of making sure our stuff lives on to do good.

There are other ways to give your stuff a chance of a new start too.

Refuse unnecessary stuff. Say no to products which are over packaged and in quantities you will never be able to use is one way. Politely let gifts that you don't adore be re-gifted.

Say no to single use.

Buy well made stuff once. Shop the classics, the simple and well-made stuff.

Maintain and prolong your good stuff by repair and refurbishing. There's about a gazillion ways you can fix the stuff you have and YouTube has all the tutorials you need to get started.

Multiply the good stuff you have by sharing and reusing. Sell your gear, give it away, donate it. Use a tool share, a car share, a house share (if you're feeling brave). Sharing is caring and it's good for you, and your community.

Garage sales are just one side of a very sexy, consumption-friendly dice.

Join 400 000 other Australians putting second hand first and join Garage Sale Trail when this October 19 and 20.

Register your garage sale or search for sales near you at garageasaletrail.com.au

Andrew Valder Co-Founder, Garage Sale Trail