I love second hand shopping! Second hand shopping is the ultimate Zero Waste pursuit and charity shops are always the best shops to browse because you could come across anything! There is a veritable cornucopia of hidden treasures just waiting to be found. One woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure!
Buying second hand is the most sustainable way to shop, especially when it comes to clothes. The fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world so when you buy second hand, you’re not supporting fast fashion and its environmental impact. You’re not creating demand for more resource-intensive production of cheap clothes, which are shipped over from the other side of the world and mostly packaged in plastic. Guilt free shopping for the win! A great documentary that can help you stop buying fast fashion is The True Cost, which is really eye-opening.
I don’t like the term ‘getting rid’ of stuff, as it implies that you can dump stuff care free with a lack of consideration for where it ends up. When we throw things away, there is no ‘away’. When it comes to ‘getting rid’ of clothes, donating or re-donating to charity contributes to the second hand market so it is MUCH better than dumping clothes in the landfill, as each of us now throws away approx 30kg of textiles in the bin each year, and the more we can keep out of the landfill by reusing or recycling, the better. In the 3 R’s waste hierarchy, reuse comes before recycle so second hand shopping and giving stuff to charity for reuse is also more Zero Waste than recycling textiles.
I think a lot of people are put off as they some second hand shops can be very hit or miss. You could go in several times and find nothing but crap but then go in again and find great stuff. It’s a good idea to go into them with something in mind already, so you can do a quick scan and if what you are looking for is not there, you can vamoose and not waste your time trawling through the rails. 🙂
I find that whatever you are looking for usually turns up eventually, if you are patient. When you try to be more minimalist or more of a conscious consumer, you realise that you don’t have to rush out and buy what advertisers are telling you is a ‘must-have’, so you can definitely afford to take your time and find something second hand instead of buying new.
Some of my all time favourite clothes are from charity shops. I recently got a Tommy Hilfiger black winter coat with detachable hood which I got this to replace a black coat I got on Erasmus that I loved but was lost in the mists of time. Another minor perk of charity shopping for the anti-social side of me is that the shop assistants leave you alone and don’t try to talk you into buying stuff. 🙂
If you buy something and you end up not liking it when you get home, or it doesn’t fit quite right, you won’t have spent that much money so you can just re-donate it. No hoarding clothes you never wear because you know how expensive they were! A minimalism win!
The stereotype of smelly second hand shops is sometimes true, and some are better curated than others, but the crappier ones can still be hiding some treasures. Try to overcome your snobby aversion to smelly shops and give it a go! Some charity shops in Galway are NCBI in Eyre Square, St. Vincent de Paul & Irish Cancer Society on Merchant’s Road, COPE Galway & GSPCA on Augustine St, Enable Ireland on High St, and Galway Simon Community, Twice as Nice & Gorta on Sea Road.
Remember you should always bring a reusable bag with you when second hand shopping too so you can refuse their bags 🙂 Buying clothing already in the waste stream is cheaper, more eco friendly and you’re giving money to charity- it’s a win-win-win! Thrifted, pre-loved, second hand, vintage, call it what you like. It’s all pretty darn nifty 😀
Do you guys and gals enjoy second hand shopping?