Simple Living: How I fell Love with Second-hand Shopping

how to start shopping second handThis is the story of how I fell in love with second-hand shopping……..

If I asked you to guess where the above cozy, beautifully photographed sweaters came from, I would bet you many people wouldn’t guess a thrift shop. If you had told me even earlier this year that I’d be thrift shopping, I’d call you a liar and slammed the door in your face. Okay not that mean, but you get what I mean. The sweaters pictured in this post were all purchased from my local thrift shop on my most recent trip on Sunday. I went with a friend of mine and we had such an amazing time thrift shopping.

PS: I would really advise and appreciate if you could take the time to read some of the links embedded in this post. They are highly informative and will help you see more meaning beyond this post.  Also. there will be a sequel to this post highing the key reasons why I shop and will shop exclusively second hand. Be on the lookout for that. It’s extremely important 🙂

Never in a million years would I imagine writing a post such a this. You see, the journey to simple wholesome living has taught me so many things along the way. It has also opened my eyes to a lot of things I was otherwise oblivious to. One of those things was the plight of clothing factory workers in Bangladesh.

how to shop second handTransitioning to simple living and learning to live more sustainable meant I had to prioritize shopping ethically. I was no longer interested in Fast fashion or buying cheap items. No longer was I chasing after deals and buying things just for the sake of having them or simply purchasing things just because I could afford to. I was embarking on a lifestyle that required me to be intentional about everything including how I shopped.

But you see, shopping ethically is a struggle. Just like I wrote about some of my struggles with minimalism and simple living, I do hope to write a post about the struggles with shopping ethically and living sustainably.

Growing up in Nigeria, second-hand shopping was it for us. You usually only got the high-quality items thrifted. It’s called “Okrika” in Nigeria and it’s typically the way most people shop. But as I grew up, my perspective on second-hand shopping shifted. Somehow I started to believe the lie that shopping second hand is only for the poor. I thought “why shop second hand if you can afford to buy brand new at Macy’s or even Burlington”

How terrible is that mentality? Well, I’m sure many people think that way.

Before I even fully embraced simple living and considering ethical living, I stumbled on a fashion YouTuber who was doing a try-on haul on her recent trip to the thrift store. I couldn’t believe the quality of items featured in the haul video. I had forgotten from my childhood that you really could get quality items second handed. She reminded me of that in that video and it soon sparked my interest in second-hand shopping.

Fast forward to learning about fashion revolution, I just couldn’t imagine shopping brand new anymore. Even worse was shopping brand new from brands that didn’t sauce sustainably. I became interested in the plights of the factory workers who made my clothes (and your clothes), I was disgusted by the fashion industry. Actually, I was disgusted by fast and selfish living in general. I knew that I had to make a change in my own little way. One of such ways was to become more conscious of what I buy especially with clothing. So I knew I had to give secondhand shopping a chance.

I remember my first second-hand shopping trip this year so vividly. It was quite awkward. I was nervous and paranoid. What if I bring back rashes and insects to my home? What if I bring the bad energy that the previous owners had? I was determined tho and didn’t let the paranoia deter me. Occasionally while shopping, I would remind myself of the fact that for most of my childhood, 60% of my clothing was second hand and I didn’t die. haha.

how i shop second hand. When I came home with the clothing items I bought, I tried them on and I was instantly amazed! The quality of items I found was amazing! Why didn’t I do this sooner? I started reading a lot about thrifting and seeing how a lot of people loved it. I also felt more at peace when I spoke to people at my church and realized the majority of them shopped second-hand! One thing I love about my church is how simple the members are! They really exemplify the simplicity of Jesus.

Since my first trip to the thrift store, I have gone multiple times. I am proud to say it’s my new favorite way to shop. Other than underwears, kitchen items and bedroom items which I’m sensitive about, my first instinct when I need something is to check if I can find it second hand. I realized that I had fallen in love with second-hand shopping- for the right reasons!

Moreover, when I visited my local thrift store, I found out that they were directly making an impact in our community. They hired lots of people with disabilities as well as those who may not have to clean records. It meant a lot to me that by me shopping there, I was giving hope and a source of livelihood to this individual. Shopping at my local second-hand store also meant I was supporting a small business! Incredible.

Most importantly, by shopping second hand, I was directly being kind to our planet. It was reported in 2014 that in America alone, about 10.5 tons of clothing ends up in landfills. THAT IS MASSIVE! This is OUR mess and that is the stress we are putting our planet through.

I realized I am almost venturing into the second part of this post so I will stop here. I hope you find some meaning in this post. Share with me; Do you shop second hand? Would you shop second hand? Why? if not, what would it take for you to consider shopping second hand?

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Lots of Love!!!

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  • It’s our God given duty to care for the earth. I have adopted thrifting too and even about to start an online thrift store soon. I’ve gotten really good pieces from thrifting. I’ll also blog about this so others can see reasons why they need to switch.

  • I think it’s really amazing that you’re trying to do your bit for the planet and for society! As you said, the pieces do look really nice, but I don’t think we really have thrift shops here. We do have charity shops but sometimes the owners just use them to make profit for themselves x

    Velvet Blush

    • Thank you! I think that’s terrible that your charity shops aren’t what they’re supposed to be. There are lots of second hand shops with great quality finds online tho. Also, clothing swaps with bloggers and sales on apps like depop are great alternatives as well.

  • Thrifting is great!!! I get to spend less on great clothes and save up more…. But it could be very tempting as I might tend to buy extra.

    • Yes!!! Absolutely agree! The first time I went and saw so many great skirts for $3 I was so tempted to buy a lot. Haha. But yeah, I’m totally sold and hope to shop my clothes exclusively second hand. Great deal and great mission 🙂 it’s so nice to see other people who love thrifting especially in my Nigerian community where it’s almost looked down on as something only poor people do. Haha

    • Typically, I don’t try them on because I never feel it’s sanitary enough (I’m a little OCD) but this time I did. I went with a friend and she tries on before she buys, she encouraged me to try them on and I did. Good riddance because it helped me not buy things that didn’t look right.

      • Yeah I was wondering because it didnt sound like you tried them on so I was wondering how did that work. Also, are you always successful with your thrift shopping or have you had any flops?

        • I have had major flops. Especially now that I’m intentional about my spending, I don’t just buy things; I make sure it will work for me and I truly love it before I purchase. So I have gone and left with nothing. And there are days where everything is so beautiful and I have to restrain myself from overspending. I’ll say tho, if I go alone, I never try on. But I’m glad my local ones accept returns so I try them at home and return what doesn’t work. Are you a thrifter?