Updated: Apr 8
There used to be a time when buying second hand was nothing to be proud of. It was considered as something for only the ones who could not afford new stuff. Nowadays second-hand shopping is gaining in popularity. You can sell and buy used items on the internet and second-hand stores are popping up everywhere. Here I have listed several advantages to go and take a look at your local second-hand shop.
For most of us, the price of a product is the most important deciding factor for buying. In second-hand shops you can find top-notch clothing brands at bargain prices saving you a lot of money. Often these clothes are worn only a few times and were donated by the previous owner who doesn’t like it anymore leaving it up to you to give it a new life. If you were a bit of a shopaholic you can now buy much more clothing then before while saving money.
The thrill of the hunt
I am a sucker for this one. Lots of stuff is donated to second-hand shops each day and lots of people buy from second-hand shops so the rotation cycle of items is very high. So each time you visit (I try to visit my local second-hand shop every 2 to 3 weeks), it is full with ‘new’ stuff. I really enjoy the excitement of not knowing what treasure I might find.
Keeping the money local
My local second-hand shop is run by volunteers and all the profit they make is donated to local charities. This keeps the money local (instead of spending at big clothing brands who are located abroad) and helps local small business owners.
Almost all my kid's toys are second hand. Sometimes kids can enjoy a toy for 5 minutes and they are done with it. Buying second hand can be a great solution. What I do is, I put all the toys she is no longer into in a box and donate them about every other month or so. Then we go to the second-hand shop and search for a few new toys she can play with for a couple of months. I love this cycle as she gets something ‘new’ to keeping her toys challenging and it saves me lots of money because I don’t have to buy new toys.
The production of clothes requires a lot of water and chemicals. The production of a pair of jeans could require over 6.000 liters of water (1.800 gallons). This amount is shocking and I did not even mention packing and transportation. And then some might even directly and up in landfill because it was not sold. This makes me so sad. Good quality clothing can last for years and if you are not into it anymore while it is still in good condition, donate it to a second-hand store. You’ll make someone happy with it and it doesn’t end up in the dumpster.
Stop exploitation of third world countries
Many of our clothes come from third world countries. Here people have to produce clothing for often more than 12 hours a day. Earning very little. Often only enough to give their families some food. In the meantime in western countries, we buy and throw away clothing like it is nothing. Buying second hand will not directly change their working conditions. However, it may help the industry to rethink their strategy. We, as consumers, have the power and we determine how the industries work. As soon as we change our habits, the industries will have to change too. Once the demand for new clothing from countries such as Bangladesh and India decreases, they too will be forced to change and work on their strategies.
This is the reason I go to the second-hand shops. I look for fabrics that I can turn into something new. I have a zero waste etsy shop and I always try to have one or two items that are upcycled. The fabric might be curtains or bedsheets, as long as it is 100% cotton I can turn it into something useful.
Second-hand shops are great whether you want to save money, are looking for a new treasure or want to help the environment (or all the above) while helping your local community.