They say that consumer confidence is at a five year low. Instead, I like to think that we are reining in our power to consume and trying to be more mindful of our purchases. Now that I am photographing food on a regular basis, I could easily go to Target or Ikea in search of the perfect bowl or plate to use as a prop. Fortunately, I began to feel disingenuous buying objects that might leave a larger carbon footprint while illustrating the virtues of eating locally. I thought about limiting myself to plates produced in the Pacific Northwest. Somehow, that felt a bit extreme and not quite the point. I decided the best thing to do would be to check out local thrift stores and antique shops. Not surprisingly, many of the older dishes I found were manufactured in the U.S. The newer an item, the more likely it is to have been imported. If you enjoy mixing and matching, all the better, it is far easier to find one-of-a-kind than a whole set. Each dish has a story and each has traveled to get here, some more than others.Reusing household items may seem like a small action in the big scheme of things. But making these ordinary choices in our daily lives can add up if we are all making them. The next time you need to replace something or to buy a gift, think about getting something that may have already been loved by another.The stores I like best for housewares are the Antique Mall of West Seattle, located at 4516 California Ave. SW and Goodwill at 6400 8th Ave NW in Ballard.