Nearly new wood challenge!

Growing up in Canada, I was very eco-conscious. I think it was down to a mix of playing in woods all year, living in a town that had a very good recycling program and both of my parents being very thrifty so we always made the most out of what we had. 

It’s not something I talk about much here on my blog, but I have a borderline obsessive level of consciousness when it comes to the environment. Almost everything I do, I think about the environmental impact. I cycle on my lady bicycle everywhere, I recycle within an inch of my life, and I try to buy mostly from second hand stores to attempt to reduce the demand on mass production. 

A couple of months ago I finished reading Sophie Armoruso’s #GirlBoss, and one specific line of hers really struck a cord with how I felt – 

” … I refused to buy new wood … “

She was talking about her extreme hippy lifestyle when she was younger and capitalism’s disregard for sustainability, but it really hit home. In fact, I saw it as a bit of a challenge.

So here’s where I would like to challenge you. If you’re down with it, obv. The next time you’re on the lookout for a new piece of furniture, whether it be a bedside table, a desk, a chair or a coffee table, I challenge you to go down the nearly new route to help contribute a little bit less to the demand.

Not buying new wood is something I’ve done many times because I’m pretty passionate about the thrill that comes with finding a one-of-a-kind pieces of furniture. In recent weeks I sold our IKEA desk for a second hand mahogany desk on a local website [as beautiful as IKEA is, I need a bit less obvious-IKEA in my life]. I’ve also found some pretty decent pieces online on Freecycle that we still use in our home today. Albeit repainted, but the bedside table in our spare bedroom is a fine example [above]. 

My main go-to for finding second hand pieces is of course charity shops. I found these wooden pencils yesterday for next to nothing, which will be a perfect accent for my broseph’s Canadian man cave office. 

I’m already a not-so-shy dumpster diver. Case in point – the bar stool I rescued from the skip in our underground car park at the beginning of this year. Speaking of, there’s a brand new ottoman down there that I spotted this morning, and I can’t wait to rescue it. 

So there you go. There are lots of alternative avenues to take when it comes to buying wood. It’s something I feel very strongly about and I hope you too will join me in this challenge in whatever way you can, no matter how small, to see if you can buy a little bit less new wood. 
Explore local charity shops, second hand sites [such as Freecycle or], reclaimed wood from a nearby salvage yard or even casting a glimpse over your local skip. I guarantee the alternative will not only be cheaper on your pocket, but you’ll also be buying exclusive pieces. How posh does that sound?

And by all means please share your nearly new pieces by using the hashtag #NearlyNewWood or linking to your favourite nearly new piece in the comments below! And what would really make me squee is if going forward, you share what nearly new piece you bought in stead of brand new. Tree huggers unite.


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  1. November 5, 2014 / 18:27

    I'm still working on 'buy things that rot or melt down into useful materials' rather than plastic, but definitely for furniture I try to buy charity shop or (if possible) vintage/antique. It's surprising how often an unassuming late Victorian specimen is the same price as a new item (at least in the UK).

    I try to blame my skip diving on an art college education but I think it's just the closest I'll ever be to a pirate.

    • November 8, 2014 / 08:46

      I so need to start focusing on the buy things that rot or melt down into useful materials side of things now. That's an angle I hadn't thought as much about. I'm an avid recycler, but not buying plastic in the first place is obviously much more effective.

      p.s. Charity shops FTW.
      p.p.s. I never thought of it as being a pirate. It's instantly infinitely cooler now.

  2. November 6, 2014 / 19:45

    What a marvellous idea! And, who'd've thunk it, but I was good and bought second hand only recently, with the console table! ( ) – I know you've seen it, but you said to link up here! And I've just added the hashtag to the pic on Instagram too – such fun!

    My parents were big on recycling, so I grew up with that in mind too. The Lumberjack is even more into sustainability and the impact things have on the planet etc, so my awareness has increased. I need to be better, though, so this is a good push!

    Love those pencils for your brother, really cool.


    • November 8, 2014 / 08:57

      I know you're well up for the challenge, Miles! I know you have a good few nearly new pieces in your home. Like isn't that massive dresser in your living room second hand of sorts too? It's now white with the lovliest blue handles and decked out in seriously cute dishes. And your console table is soooo lovely. Plus Lumberjack's grandfather clock.

      Oh Maria. You get me right in the feelings sometimes. Thank you for the linkage and the hashtaging xx

    • November 8, 2014 / 11:49

      Haha, you are better than me at remembering what I've got!! After I read your post and linked to the console table I was sat on the sofa thinking the only piece we had was that console table… then I started looking around and thought "oh yeah, the dresser! Oh, and the table!" (Our dining table is a hand-me-down from Lee's Grandparents that he's eaten many Sunday dinners at as he grew up.) And I'd forgotten the grandfather clock! Who knew we were so good at this!
      Although, we've got some new Oak Furnitureland stuff, and a plethora of Ikea pieces!!! Let's not mention that.
      When I get chance I'll do a post on your challenge, and add your badge etc!

  3. November 6, 2014 / 20:04

    I love this idea and I'm definitely up for the challenge. I buy far too much from IKEA and even worse, I don't even bother to use half it. I find all the items I love the most in my apt are 2nd hand anyway – either gifted from family or items I picked up over the years. They have far more character and are usually longer lasting.

    I'm excited now thinking of what my next find might be!

    • November 8, 2014 / 09:03

      Yaaaay, Ciara! o/ I'm glad you're up for it.

      I'm in the middle of de-IKEA-ing our apartment. So far I've sold our desk and Regolit lamp and I'm in the process of selling our Stockholm rug. The money I've made I'm saving to buy replacement pieces on They're not new but all they need is a clean and they're perfect. So far I've gotten a replacement desk and I heart it so much. I'm in the process of getting a new/old rug and I tell you, there are some gems out there.

      Second hand, FTW!

  4. November 9, 2014 / 15:53

    I have lots of second-hand furniture that I've painted or given new life too in my home! Whoop! Although I do buy 'new' as well, I'd prefer to make good with what I already own (so my eBay scored Chippendale chairs, the sideboard in my dining room, the chest of drawers in my master bedroom, the chest of drawers in my dressing room). Loving this though and totally think you can get much cooler stuff that's vintage rather than getting the same old thing everyone else has in the shops 😀 xxx

    • November 10, 2014 / 15:27

      I think it's a creative thing too – it's so much more of a challenge when I buy a haggard piece of furniture and upgrade or upcycle it. You really got me thinking when you repurposed that door and made it into the half-circle top for your makeup table. That's what it's about. And all the pieces you've scored on eBay etc. Serious droolage. xx