Lockdown has definitely changed my relationship with clothes. It’s not just that I ate all the doughnuts, and all the cheese, and have therefore stretched the limits of my waistbands. It’s not even that I’ve been to less places. I think I’ve relaxed about the idea of expectations and become more comfortable in showing up without make up. I contentedly leave the house now in leggings rather than shifting back into jeans – no one even notices.
It has also made me think hard about how I spend money, the talk of economic uncertainty and the risk to our jobs has definitely prompted me to reflect on how much of my earnings I fritter away on unimportant things.
#SecondhandSeptember has therefore come at a good time for me. Usually, I would invest in a few decent new pieces for my own back to school wardrobe. A quick refresh for the new term. This year, I have consciously not bought anything for myself.
Secondhand September has been initiated by Oxfam. They helpfully remind us that wearing our clothes for longer reduces waste, in turn protecting the planet. Making sure we donate quality clothes that we no longer wear gives someone else the chance to love them for a bit longer. I’m a massive fan of decluttering and donating. I love to sell left over stuff on Facebook. I hand on our kid’s clothes to friends and neighbours. But I never really think of buying things second hand.
This month I’m trying it.
My first, and only purchase (so far) this month has been a soup maker.
I love eating soup. I love making soup. Grandpa’s soup is a regular request in our house – especially if he makes it with real ham ribs. One of my favourite children’s stories is about a pot of stone soup. I could go on.
But I am inherently quite lazy and time poor. Why would I spend an hour chopping, sauteing, simmering, blending when Covent Garden does such a lovely job and is usually on offer in the supermarket.
I lusted after a soup maker when it went on sale in Aldi. But I also thought this might be another one of those gadgets I think I need, and then leave to gather dust in the kitchen (like my churros maker…). Was it worth spending money on when I have a stockpot and a hand blender? I paused. I waited well longer than the recommended 30 day wait to rule out impulse purchases. I still like soup.
So, with the #SecondhandSeptember challenge underway, I braved Facebook Marketplace. I made an offer. I collected my new old soupmaker. I felt strangely excited.
By buying it secondhand, I saved myself £25 – win. I also saved a perfectly decent piece of kit from going to the tip. It feels strangely exciting.
I have thrown together a hodgepodge of less than perfect looking veg from the bottom of the fridge with a stock cube and some water. 20 minutes later I have beautiful, smooth, wholesome, healthy autumn soup. It saved wasting the food I already had, and it saved me buying something else.
Does it feel any less special because I bought it secondhand? Not at all, I think I like it even better.
My recipe for Broccoli Cheese Secondhand Soup
- 1 broccoli, roughly chopped
- 1 medium potato, roughly chopped
- Vegetable Stock Cube
- Big handful of grated mature cheddar
Chuck the chopped broccoli, potato and stock cube into the soupmaker. Add water from the kettle to the max water line. Attach the soupmaker lid. Select smooth. Go and put the washing on. Take a pair of socks off the dog. Try not to constantly check if you have left the kettle on (it is still just the soup maker). When it beeps, pour into bowls. Stir through the cheese and season as you like it.
Substitute the veg for anything that you should have used up earlier in the week. Add crème fraiche if you want to look fancy.