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Secondhand: Travels in the New Global Garage Sale

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  44 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Downsizing. Decluttering. A parent's death. Sooner or later, all of us are faced with things we no longer need or want. But when we drop our old clothes and other items off at a local donation center, where do they go? Sometimes across the country-or even halfway across the world-to people and places who find value in what we leave behind.

In Secondhand, journalist Adam
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published November 12th 2019 by Bloomsbury Publishing
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Rachel Pollock
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is engrossing and eye-opening. I had no idea how extensive the secondhand industry is on a global scale, and to what extent discarded/donated things get restored, refurbished, rebuilt, and resold the world over!

The author travels all over the globe, from the Goodwill distribution center in an Arizona town, to flea markets in Malaysia, to clothing recyclers in India, to computer/electronics rebuilders in Ghana. It's clear that the secondhand economy is sprawling, thriving, and
Randal White
Secondhand, Travels In The New Global Garage Sale, is an in-depth look at what happens to your "stuff" when you dispose of it. Whether it be Goodwill, a "downsizing" service, or wherever.
The author travels all over, examining the industries that have popped up to utilize our "cast-offs:. The United States, Mexico, Canada, Japan, Africa, Southeast Asia, and on and on. Whether it be used clothing in Africa, rag processors in Ohio, child safety seats in Mexico (what a racket this has become,
Jun 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Who knew there was such a thing as recycle themed journalism. Well, there is, Adam Mitner’s doing it. And this is his second book on the matter, titled appropriately enough Secondhand. Mitner was raised into a family of scrap dealers and spent years traveling the globe reporting on recycling industries and so on, which is to say the man is perfectly qualified to write this book about the second lives of all your crap. You know, all those things you’ve ever donated to a thrift shop and never ...more
Ginger Hudock
Jun 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you have ever donated items to Goodwill or another thrift store and wondered what happened to them, then this book is for you. This is a well-done piece of journalism where the author follows items from thrift stores in the US to a number of final locations. Some items are bought by Mexicans from a Goodwill near the Arizona border and then are resold in Mexico. Other items, especially clothing, go to Canada where they are sorted by immigrants and the lightweight clothing is shipped to Africa ...more
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book and it’s caused me to rethink what I buy and what I donate to Good Will (I now vow to to donate more because others can better use things I am not using and otherwise letting clutter up my place). Adam Minter is a great storyteller and follows the secondhand industry around the world. I really appreciate that he calls out people in developed countries who don’t think about the secondhand businesses that flourish in the developing world. This book will be a big ...more
Nov 25, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2019
I love when a book can change your life. This one definitely did that.! I am a big thrifter and frequent customer at Goodwill and other secondhand stores. I had no idea how much work went into clearing out houses, sorting through donations, and what happens to those items after no one wants them. It made me more of aware of what I buy and what I donate. I am more conscience of what I will leave behind for my kids to sort through and I decided I don't want them to have to agonize over what to ...more
Dale Dewitt
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book. My wife and I made the decision to minimize our stuff and it is fascinating to find out there is an entire market for secondhand stuff and also to realize there is just too much stuff being purchased for the secondhand market to even make a dent in removing these items from the trash stream. The people that Adam meets are wonderful in telling their stories! a great read!
Dec 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
What happens to your stuff when you're done with it? Like many people, I donate used items to thrift stores on a regular basis. I've also spent a fair amount of time in the back rooms of various thrift stores, baling discarded clothing and sorting through donated books. So, I had a little background knowledge, but I learned a lot reading Minter's thorough exploration of the global secondhand trade. This is a fascinating look at the world of stuff, from used bookstores in Japan, to secondhand ...more
Nov 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: amazon-reviewed
Secondhand by Adam Minter is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late October.

This book tells the outcome of donated items, the accumulation and redistribution of stuff, often with difficult resaleability; the concepts include downsizing for senior citizens, sorters and adult children serving as gatekeepers and processors, an object's ultimate end of incineration, the difficulty of assigning value, based on brand, age, and quality, import/export between countries that favor specific items, and
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
THIS IS MY FAVORITE AUTHOR. This is a wonderful book. It connects so many of my favorite things: decluttering, thrift, junk and recycling. VERY good bits provide a critique of Waste Colonialism, but in a readable, popular science style. This is not an academic text, but is deeply researched and expertly woven. Like a really good quality shirt.
Elizabeth Tai
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Disclaimer: Adam is a personal friend and I received a copy for an honest review.

I loved the book and couldn't put it down. It was fascinating to explore the entire "supply" chain of the secondhand market, and how seemingly good movements such as banning "plastic waste from the West" has a surprisingly long-term negative effect on the environment and on the economies of developing nations. Basically, don't take things at face value - there's more to the recycling, secondhand business than meets
Sep 24, 2019 marked it as to-read
I thought this was a fascinating look at what happens to our stuff once it is no longer ours. I did have a little incite into this topic as I was once an assistant manager at a thrift store but I learned much more in this book.
Nov 22, 2019 marked it as to-read
Nov 13, 2019 marked it as to-read
Added based on this NPR review.
Dec 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Makes me think about all the stuff I have and do not need.
Aug 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
A nice look at the market that is secondhand. Looks at the market of secondhand goods and what impact it has on people involved. He travels to different places around the world to have a look at what is part of the market.
Robin Ingenthron
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As good as Adam Minter's first book, "Junkyard Planet", remains, this is an even more important work. The book doesn't just bring us on his travels, it forces the reader to see recyclers, refurbishers, tinkerers, and fixers around the world as our equals. It reveals the bigotry that some of us, as environmentalists, were blind to ("waste colonialism"). It will be an important contribution to the new "ourvoices" movement. His ability to call into question the journalism formula that overseas ...more
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Adam Minter is a columnist at Bloomberg Opinion where he writes about China, technology, and the environment. He is the author of Junkyard Planet: Travels in the Billion-Dollar Trash Trade, a critically-acclaimed bestselling insider’s account of the hidden world of globalized recycling, and the forthcoming Secondhand: Travels in the New Global Garage Sale.

Adam has covered the global recycling