My name is Ana and I have a confession – Up until very recently I hated the idea of shopping second hand. For a long time I have known that this aversion to second hand was against my desire to be more eco-friendly, but my reasons for disliking second hand shopping always far outweighed any positives. Lack of good charity shops locally, the old fashioned feel most have, how long it takes to trawl through racks of clothes or items knowing that likely you will never find anything you like in your size. I focused instead on finding ethical brands, eco-friendly options and tried to shop items that would last, ticking a lot of boxes, but I was missing out on the treasure trove of finds that is second hand. My Mum was a big charity shopper, so much so, that despite the fact that she passed away several years ago now, I still have boxes of her charity shop treasures in my loft. Although I am not big on trinkets or collectables, these things were so very much part of her, I find them very hard to part with. Perhaps that is why I am not a big fan of trawling charity shops, it just never felt right.
So what changed to convert me to second hand shopping? I embraced a different way to shop second hand using social media apps such as Facebook. It all started when I was pregnant with Baby Green, I was much more reserved with my purchases, as people often are with second children. Any purchases were very much thought through like the bedside crib which was a great buy, a box of hand me downs from her brother was my starting point of building a “nest” this time, rather than heading to the shops to get all the fancy baby gadgets we are told we need. Then friends started to pass on clothes and toys, meaning we had to buy even less brand new.
Social media has completely changed the way we shop second hand; For all the less than ideal aspects of Facebook, the marketplace and Facebook buying and selling groups in my opinion are a really positive way to find a home for all sorts of items that might otherwise end up in landfill. Unlike selling sites like Ebay, trading items on Facebook is completely free and with the new marketplace option it is easy to search for the items and location you want. We have had lots of success with garden toys and other items that would otherwise be costly brand new, but not only that it has enabled us to buy things such as a plastic toddler slide without any guilt, because it already exists and needs a new home. It isn’t just buying either, I managed to make a substantial amount of money back, selling baby items. It is strangely satisfying knowing that items we no longer need have found a new home. So if you aren’t yet an avid second hand shopper, check out local Facebook groups, sites like Freecycle or perhaps a car boot, you never know what you might find.
I still buy new items and in all honesty can’t see myself shopping entirely second hand any time soon. With so many more options available now to shop second hand, it has however become a habit to check to see what is available locally to me before even starting to look for brand new items and this shift can only be a good thing. Do you shop second hand? What are your favourite second hand shopping tips?