A person in a second hand shopping looking at clothing items

Why second-hand shopping is second to none

14 Jan 21 3 minute read

From clothing to furniture, shopping second-hand is a great way to get a hold of what you need.

Generally you can find high-quality products in charity shops, at lower prices than brand new, saving you money and having the extra benefit that the money will go to good causes. With everything having had a past life, pre-loved items are unique and often have interesting stories behind them. 

Reusing by donating or buying second-hand means items that may have been recycled, or worse chucked in the bin to end up in landfill, get a new lease of life making the best use of our limited resources. Take 1 tonne of cotton t-shirts for example. Recycling them would save the equivalent of 1 tonne of carbon but reusing them could save the equivalent of a whopping 12 tonnes of carbon. 

By choosing to shop second-hand over buying new, these purchases can benefit your wallet, the community you live in and help to reduce the environmental impact of our resources by extending the useful life of our stuff.  

If you’ve never shopped second-hand before, the prospect of knowing where to begin can be a little daunting, so here’s our guide to getting the best out of your shopping experience.

Second-hand is a great way to get a hold of top branded items for less.

Browsing in a second hand shop

Find your local secondhand shops

Check out your local high street. There are lots of charity shops and independent second-hand stores that you might not have realised were there. Shopping locally not only supports good causes and the local community, but it also provides valuable employment and volunteering opportunities in your area.  

Have a look online

There are now loads of websites dedicated to buying second-hand, both from local sellers and from people further afield. If there’s a specific item that you’re looking for then searching online can be an easier way to target your search. Sometimes things online can be listed under lots of different words, so try to do a few searches with different combinations of words. For pre-loved clothing, you may see the acronym ‘BNWT’ which means it’s a brand new item with tags. 

Look for quality items

When shopping second-hand look for quality. Shopping in person can be easier to do this by feeling the fabric or material of the item. Second-hand is also a great way to get a hold of top branded items for less. For peace of mind look for shops that are Revolve certified. There are now over 140 shops and organisations with the Revolve stamp of approval in Scotland. Revolve certification means that the secondhand goods have been checked and conform to modern safety standards.

Bring a friend along - it can be really fun having someone on hand to give you advice on different styles.

Check regularly

Whether shopping in-store or online you need to be on the ball by checking regularly for new stock. With new donations coming in, stock can be changing daily so you don’t know what you will find the next time you pop in. If you do see something you really like then get it while you can, as you don’t know how quickly it will be snapped up by someone else.  

 second hand shopping with a friend

Try things on

Sizing is not always standard in second-hand clothing so try things on. Even if something doesn’t fit quite right or is the wrong length, if you see potential then you could get it altered, why not try a repair cafe? Or you could alter it yourself.

Get involved

  1. Shop locally to support local businesses and communities.

  2. Check if the second-hand store has the Revolve stamp of approval.

  3. Second-hand stock can change daily so check regularly.

  4. Be open-minded to finding something unexpected and trying different things.