WHAT: “Vintage.” “Recycled.” “Loosely worn.” These terms are all ways of describing second hand clothing. Tough economic times and a growing concern for the environment has encouraged people to shop secondhand or donate used clothing. Secondhand clothing can be found in various thrift shops, consignment stores, garage sales and on the internet with auction websites such as eBay. Today, many used clothing that are in good condition are waiting in stores for someone to notice them. For the budget-conscious and the environment conscious, shopping secondhand clothes can be fun and challenging — you never know what surprises you’ll find! You might not find anything in your size that you like, but if you get lucky, you may find an item that’s absolutely perfect for you, or better, a real treasure! In fact, a friend of mine purchased what she thought was a cute little purse at a garage sale for $15. Little did she know that it was a designer brand whose purses usually go for several thousand dollars a piece and the appraised value of her secondhand treasure was close to a thousand dollars!
WHY: Secondhand is cheaper, less likely to shrink, and eco-friendly. By buying secondhand clothing, you give used clothing a second life and keep it kept out of the landfills. In this day and age of environmentally friendly options, buying secondhand is a great idea and can be especially beneficial for families on a budget. Some charities can run secondhand clothing stores and make money from the sale of the clothes to help others. Buying secondhand clothing also gives you an opportunity to discover great clothes for a very low price, not to mention there are different styles and sizes for everyone! You’ll get to enjoy the thrill of the hunt, find unique items that no one else will have and help reduce textile waste in landfills.
• Check out garage sales, thrift stores, and consignment shops for secondhand clothing and other everyday items. Yard sales are great for finding cheap used clothes and you can haggle the price.
• When you’re sifting through thrift shops, look for labels that you know and trust. The prices may be a little higher especially if the garment was well-cared-for, but the quality and reputation of the manufacturer guarantee a longer wearing.
• High-end clothing for both adults and children is sometimes donated to secondhand stores. You can check out stores near upscale neighborhoods for new donations.
• Make sure to thoroughly check all of the items. Ensure that all seams are tight and secure, especially around the collar, armpits, buttons and zippers. Check for moth holes, loose stitches and stretched-out necks, armholes and waistbands.
• Don’t waste time in piles and piles of clothing — it’s time consuming and can be frustrating. Pick stores that organize clothing well enough for you to quickly and easily find what you need.
• Bring clothing that is too worn, ripped or stained to be sold or donated to recycling centers.
TIP: Make sure you wash all your newly-bought secondhand clothing before wearing them. When buying toys, you must disinfect before giving them your kids. Blankets, sheets, towels need to be washed thoroughly as well.