New Hampshire: Land of the Second Hand

As I was pondering what to write for this installment, I sat back in my chair and considered all of the things that make New Hampshire, well, New Hampshire. What is it about us that’s worth talking about? What makes us special or unique?

Then, as my mind is wont to do, scattered thoughts led me to thinking about a new consignment store that opened up next to the laundromat in Merrimack, and I realized that element of New Hampshire that I haven’t yet covered.

We love second hand stuff.

Beyond the myriad of antique shops, consignment stores, and the like, we also have many, many yard sale groups on social media, and they are very well used. Have you ever really thought about how much we love to get things that belonged to someone else? Are we a culture of savers, or could it be that perhaps we have a love affair for the history of an item?

Who did that dress belong to, before it found its way to this rack? Who sat on that antique sofa, twenty, or forty, or sixty years ago, before it wound up here, being sold as a collectible? There is so much history here that anything you buy, from a children’s toy to an ancient lamp, has a story to tell, and one that continues on with you.

Even now we can dream about summer, when the paper yard sale signs get nailed up to local posts, and you find yourself rubbernecking as you drive by, wondering what possible treasures you might find for a steal. Neighborhood wide yard sales are totally common, and they’re rife with all kinds of interesting finds that you may never discover in a department store.

Whether we’re all about getting the next best deal, or simply looking to support our community by helping each other out, I think an element to New Hampshire culture that is so great is our active second hand society. How excited do you get when you find the exact thing you were looking for on a yard sale site, for a quarter of the price? How great is it that we can have members of our town over to our house, meet them where we are, so that we can exchange goods for dollars and keep that money in our own backyard?

The next time you head over to an antique store, think about how much that used furniture is a part of our culture, in the best way. We circulate items to help one another, to continue a story, and to enrich our own lives with great finds.

Yard sale season is coming. Are you ready? Treasure hunt engaged!

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