There are many disadvantages to living in a small town; lack of resources is one. The nearest large shop is an hour away, and I cannot believe the price of lettuce here. And when you don’t have a car? This very inaccessibility however forces one to be imaginative, and you soon find your patience and general tolerance growing by leaps and bounds. One place that has been of immense help to me is the tip, otherwise known as the rubbish dump (or if you want to be fancy, the Transfer Station). Besides the usual green waste, recycling, and garbage processing they run a second-hand shop that has single-handedly furnished 60% of my new house, 90% of my kitchen, and sundry other items that have proved invaluable. Chest-of-drawers, wok, Mary Stewart, measuring cups, a wool sweater, the prettiest and most useless toaster cover imaginable, a 15-speed mountain bike – all have come from the tip. And, if I calculate correctly, for the grand total of under $5. I kid you not. Of course, it helps if you’re friends with the lady who works there, so I can ask her to keep an eye out for me. But it’s fun to go fossicking for the treasures underneath the grime. Somehow the satisfaction comes sweeter than simply buying it at a shop. And you can’t beat the price. Do you shop at “pre-loved” stores for things other than books? Are there things you absolutely have to buy brand new? (Shoes, for me.) What are your favourite shops?