I love being a second hand Rose! Now that I know what you can find second hand if you look carefully, I am reluctant to buy much that is new. From furniture, to clothing, household goods and tools, you can buy pretty much anything second hand.
Just a few days ago, Mr S spotted a fully working Dyson vacuum cleaner in our charity shop for £40. I had been hankering after a ball upright that could manage all of the cat fur in our house, but they are upwards of £250 new. It is exactly what I wanted and works perfectly. That boy has an eye for a bargain!
Why should you buy second hand?
There are many reasons to buy pre-owned goods. Here are some of them.
You save money
It is obviously much more affordable to buy second hand goods, which is great if you are on a budget or trying to pay off debt.
You can afford better quality
In fact, buying second hand really allows you to see the quality of an item. If it has been worn in and is still in good nick, you can see it is good quality. Cheap, fast fashion is likely to look a little faded second hand.
You can buy designer brands
The cost of some designer and branded items amazes me, but people seem happy to pay way over the odds for an item just because it is from a particular designer or brand. These same people seem to tire of their branded goods quite quickly, which is great for bargain hunters like me. I regularly pick up expensive designer items at boot sales, in charity shops and online.
It’s better for the environment
Buying second hand helps create a circular economy. Instead of our make, take and waste approach, which depletes resources and causes issues with waste disposal, buying second hand (and donating or selling on when you no longer require the product) allows maximum use from the resources used in the item’s production.
When you buy second hand, you also encourage people to recycle and prevent items going to landfill.
You save on packaging
When you buy second hand from a boot sale, your local Facebook selling group or a charity shop, items won’t be as highly packaged as a new item, if at all. Even if you buy from online auction sites such as eBay, Depop, Gumtree, etc, sellers often send items in recycled cardboard and other packaging. This is another plus for the environment!
You can buy vintage and unique items
Charity shops, boot sales and jumbles are often a treasure house of quirky finds and vintage items. I love vintage art nouveau and styles from the early 1900s, for example, and Mr S has found some really lovely things for our house. He picked up what seems to be a genuine old piece of Clarice Cliff and a gorgeous old lamp, both on Facebook. He also came across this quirky teapot in the shape of a car, which we have since found on eBay for over £100!
You support charities
Many charities rely on their shops to bring in much needed cash. Even though I often complain that some of them charge too much, generally I am happy to buy from them and know that my purchase is helping a good cause.
When you shop second hand you get the thrill of the chase! There are few things so satisfying as knowing you have found a mega bargain, like our Dyson, or located a unique vintage item. It also tends to be a lot cheaper than spending the day in the shopping mall. I often come back with bags of stuff from the boot sale, having spent about a tenner!
What types of item should you buy second hand?
I have never bought a new car in my life and don’t suppose I ever will. Someone once told me they go down in price by a couple of thousand as soon as you drive them off the forecourt! I am sure there is some truth in this. A gently used second hand vehicle is my ideal.
Ditto with bikes – I don’t think we have bought any of those new either. There are always loads of kids’ bikes in particular at boot sales and used adult bikes aplenty online.
Furniture is another area where you can see the quality of an item when you purchase it second hand. People seem to change their sofas with their colour schemes and you will often find them in charity shops in great used condition. I also love old wooden bedroom furniture from the 1930s and 40s. These are heavy and solid, not like the flat pack rubbish you can buy nowadays that last 5 minutes.
Looking round our lounge/diner, I can only see one piece of furniture that was purchased new. This is a good solid pine bookshelf that was bought 15 years ago and will easily do that and more again.
I was slightly nervous about buying a second hand phone, but Mr S has had two now. Both have been great! As neither of us wants to get tied into an expensive phone contract, a second hand phone makes sense. We can pick up some good quality, fully working cast offs that people sell when they upgrade.
Apart from underwear and sometimes footwear (as I have wide feet!), I rarely get any new clothes and almost always buy second hand. I think the current throwaway fast fashion industry is shockingly damaging to the environment. Also, if a top can be produced in Asia then transported all the way to the UK and still only cost a fiver I worry about how much (or how little) the people who made it must have been paid for their work.
I can buy much better quality, high end bits of clothing if I get them second hand. Great when you are on a budget but want to be a more ethical shopper.
This post gives more information on buying second hand clothing.
Second hand books are everywhere! I don’t read as much as I should, but if I am off on holiday and know I will have time I will often peruse the shelves of the charity shops. If I need a specific title I usually see if it is second hand on Amazon.
I also like the book sales they run periodically at the library – they sell them off super cheaply.
Media – DVDs, CDs and computer games
Ditto. If you aren’t into streaming you can pick up all of the above very inexpensively second hand.
When my daughters were little we bought loads of toys second hand. Particularly when they are tiny, they don’t care if they are new or not as long as they have good play value. Boot sales are extremely good if you want to buy second hand toys and games.
There are lots of things I have missed off this list I am sure! If you buy second hand you can satisfy your craving for a bit of retail therapy without breaking the bank, benefit your local economy and help the environment. What’s not to like?