Wow, September is already here! I’m so happy that it is Autumn, and soon I can start wearing my thick jumpers, winter coat and boots. Today’s post is going to be about how to have a successful second-hand September. You might not have heard of it before, or maybe you are taking part yourself. But here are my top tips and ideas for taking part.
What is second-hand September?
Second-hand September is a movement started by Oxfam, in 2019. As the name says, the aim is to only buy second-hand items for the 30 days of September. People have become too used to buying something instantly, and not really taking the time to consider whether they want it or not. The general rule I have (with some exceptions), is can I picture myself wearing this at least 30 times? If the answer is yes, then I am happy to buy it. If not then I tend to put it back.
We need to get reaquainted with repeating outfits, not becoming obsessed with trends and mending things when they are broken instead of buying new. I really don’t understand how someone could just throw out something after wearing it once. I buy clothes that I love, so why would I not want to repeat the outfit? The outfit I am wearing now is what I bought over 4 years ago, and I still adore it. It’s not like it hasn’t been washed, there’s no shame in wearing the same things. It just means that you take good care of your clothes.
Why should I shop second-hand?
Second hand is not only better for the planet, but it is also cheaper. Did you know that the fashion industry is responsible for 8% of carbon emissions? Or that the textile sector represents 10-20% of pesticide use! Shopping second hand gives clothes that already exist, a new life. Hopefully if enough people choose second hand, then the demand for new clothes and products will be reduced and there won’t be so many produced.
My top tips for having a successful second-hand September
Sign up for the pledge
You are much more likely to complete a challenge if you physically sign up for it. You can sign up for Second Hand September here. Oxfam even send you a 20% off voucher if you do it, so it’s definitely worth it! They will send tips and reminders throughout the month. How good will it feel at the end of the month? And who knows, you might decide to continue buying second hand.
Shop at charity shops
So maybe you fancy going shopping, or you need some boots. Instead of shopping where you usually would, pop into a charity shop. Once you have started shopping at charity shops, you won’t want to stop! There is such a variety of clothes styles in just one shop, and the prices are normally pretty good.
Maybe go to an area that has a few charity shops so that you can shop around. But don’t wait too long, because they soon sell the item you were unsure about! One time I went to the British Red Cross and found a shell basket, I wasn’t sure if I wanted it/had a use for it. I came back the next day intent on purchasing it, and it had already been sold.
Unfollow chain stores
My next piece of advice for a successful second-hand September is to unfollow and unsubscribe from chain stores. Searching online at chain stores such as Amazon, H&M or Waterstones will make you want to order something. One way to resist this is by unsubscribing from email subscriptions and unfollowing these brands on social media. Then you aren’t tempted to look at what they are selling. Buying chidlren’s clothes second-hand is a genius idea because they grow so quickly!
Continue reading: 10 ways to have a successful second-hand September
Sign up with friends and family
Another way to have a successful second-hand September is to take part with friends and family. Taking part with other people is always fun because you can help each other complete the challenge. Maybe you could both check out some local charity shops? There’s a whole second-hand community on Instagram, Oxfam have started the hashtag #SecondHandSeptember so make sure you share your second-hand purchases.
Mend what you already have
Something that a lot of people forget about is mending the clothes you already have. You don’t have to buy something new, or even something second-hand. My dad just got his walking shoe soles resoled, and before that he bought some new laces for them. It’s little things like that which will make your items last longer.
Download second-hand apps
Downloading second-hand apps will stop you scrolling online for new items. While you’re at it, you could delete any fast fashion apps you have on your phone. This will reduce your chance of buying something new. Sometimes I scroll through Vinted more than Instagram!
Related post: How to declutter sustainably
Don’t limit yourself to clothes
A lot of people only think of clothes when they think second-hand. But there is so much more than just clothes. The homeware section is so special, because there really are lots of little gems. I got this adorable mini piano ornament which when you open the lid, tells you the time! That is one of my favourite purchases because it reminds me of my Granny. Charity shops seem to sell lots of baskets, I’m not sure why. It’s good for me though, because I love organising things into boxes, and baskets are so much prettier.
Books is something else to buy second-hand. There are so many second-hand book shops! My favourite of all time is World Of Books, I actually just did an order there. They have amazing prices, free (UK maybe) delivery, and often have discounts on. They buy books from charity shops and then sell the books online. In most charity shops, they have a book section, and I can never resist leaving without one! If you have exams coming up or you need a textbook for school, I highly recommend using eBay. Their textbook prices are always pretty low. Second-hand apps seem to sell most things, not just clothes as well. I have bought a couple of books from Vinted.
Kitchenware is another section you should consider buying second-hand. My friend got all her plates and mugs for university from one of our local charity shops. I also got a Friends mug from there for only £1! This is definitely one of my favourite buys.
You can find board games, DVDs and boxsets in charity shops as well. I know that most people don’t tend to watch DVDs or boxsets when there’s Netflix or Disney+ to use. But I am always on the look out for particular films that aren’t on these. I absolutely love a board game, they are one of my favourite things to shop for anywhere. My friend bought this amazing board game about ecosystems, and it just so happened that it was what we were studying about at the time! If board games aren’t your thing, they have puzzles too.
Children’s toys is something that I don’t personally look for. But they tend to have a fairly big selection in one of my local charity shops. It might be a little bit niche, because I think most people tend to look for clothes. But I’m sure buying second-hand will save you a fair bit of money! There are also some cute clothes for them too.
Second-hand furniture is really good if you are moving but don’t have room to bring your old furniture. I haven’t bought furniture second-hand before because I have never needed any. But I love to watch people buy furniture and then add there own personal touch, whether that’s painting it or decorating it. Facebook marketplace is a great place for preloved furniture, and it is often free which is always a bonus!
Don’t let yourself get hooked on the sales
September is a classic time for the shops to start a big sale. Summer is over so there is guaranteed to be a sale on there because Autumn is right around the corner. They put the prices really low, but what you have to remember is that charity shops are already at the price, if not lower. And with the sales, they hook you in on buying stuff you don’t really need. Fast fashion stores are a classic example, when one trend ends they need to get rid of the stock quickly. Just because there is an offer or the price is reduced, doesn’t mean you need it. Do you really need that bikini? You probably won’t go swimming for a few months, and maybe your style will change or you will find something better.
One way to get free clothes, is to do a clothes swap. It doesn’t necessarily have to be clothes, you could do it with books. Now that I’ve thought of that, I definitely want to do a book swap! Who doesn’t love free things? Last September, my university did a clothes swap and I found a short cream cardigan, which is just what I had been looking for.
Research local second-hand shops
It’s all very well me saying this, but the best thing to do if you want to go charity shopping is to see what is close by. Here is a list of places you could think about using:
- Car boot sale
- Oxfam – online and instore
- Facebook market place
- World Of Books
Are you taking part in second-hand September? Will these tips help you have a successful second-hand September?
Best wishes, Cx