01 Sep Second Hand September
What is Second Hand September?
Do you prefer to listen? You can listen to the audio version of this post below.
Second Hand September is an initiative originally created by Oxfam in the UK to encourage people to shop second hand. The idea is to inspire people to ONLY shop second hand for the 30 days of September.
By creating momentum behind the idea, it can bring awareness to all the different ways that you can shop second hand. While the original campaign was very much focused on clothing the concept can be extended to nearly every aspect of our lives.
So lets dig in.
What can you do to take part this year?
Apart from the obvious there are lots of ways that you can take part in Second Hand September, not just this month, but going forward too.
Shopping second hand for clothing
Lets dive a bit deeper into this. When you mention second hand shopping to people, most people will think of charity shops. That is definitely a fantastic option.
Not only are you reducing your carbon footprint and clothes waste but you are also helping a charity. Win, win, win.
But there are so many other resources for shopping second hand that people are not aware of. Here is a great list of resources that I myself use to shop second hand instead of buying new.
I’m not saying don’t use a charity shop, but the more options you have, the more likely you are to be able to find what you are looking for second hand instead of having to buy new.
1 – Adverts. Here in Ireland we have a few second hand marketplaces. My favourite is adverts. I sell or give away a LOT of items on there myself. It’s a brilliant way to declutter and put some extra cash in your pocket. And I love it for buying too. I will create saved searches for items that I need, but not urgently. And when something breaks or needs replacing I will always look on adverts first.
For example at the weekend our blender broke. I tried to fix it but unfortunately it was beyond repair. So I started searching on adverts, I normally search by location first to see what is local. And I found a NutriBullet blender, nearly new, for €70. That was €50 off the new price. And I picked it up the next morning.
TIPS – Always check the sellers reviews to make sure they are legit. Be careful about buying second hand electronics online, especially phones and computers. I chat about this further down the list.
Other second hand marketplaces are DoneDeal and Facebook marketplace.
Second Hand Clothing Marketplaces
There are more and more clothing specific marketplaces popping up all the time. Some are not always available in every country but its definitely something to do some googling to see what you can find locally. One that I recently signed up to in Ireland is Depop where you can buy and sell your second hand clothing.
Thriftify – A brilliant concept: An online charity shop. Definitely worth checking out. You can shop by charity, brand or type of clothing.
Etsy – Has a huge vintage section for clothing, household and lots more
Vinted – Not available in Ireland
Poshmark – American second hand clothing marketplace, not available in Ireland
While Second Hand September might be based on the idea of buying second hand there are plenty of other ways to get items second hand that do not involve having to spend money.
Even better for your pocket and still great for the environment.
I am a member of a Whatsapp swap and recycle group and it is fantastic. Ask locally if anyone is in one, generally parent groups or local social media groups will know of one. I love the concept of the circular economy in my group. You post a photo and some information and the first person to express interest gets the item. Great for anyone with kids or newborns as the cycle of clothing goes around quickly. I have gotten some great items here. For example I needed some storage containers for paint and glue for the summer camps. I got a big batch of takeaway containers from several people in the group. So I saved them from landfill or being put in the recycling, I didn’t need to buy any new plastic and I am still using them years later. I have given away everything from books, to couches, to electronics to kitchen ware.
Other free groups can be found on local Facebook pages. They generally have one day a week where people can list items. Or there are dedicated Free cycle pages. Just search in Facebook and lots will come up.
TIP – If I am listing something I always say NO DM’s, as its way too hard to track who asked first. So I state No DM’s, first to comment gets item. It keeps it far more transparent.
Olio – Still relatively new in Ireland, Olio is a brilliant resource, mainly for food but you can list non food items there too. I will often list food items that we are not using or have too much of and someone always requests them within a few hours. You can leave the items in your porch for contact free collection. There are also food heroes who can link in with local participating supermarkets to collect food items that would otherwise go to waste. This, in my opinion, is where the real value in Olio lies. If this can be fully utilised the opportunities for preventing food waste and helping with food poverty are unstoppable. If you are interested in becoming a food hero, download the app and you can apply.
Build the habit, break the pattern
To me this is the most important concept to get to grips with.
You have to start building the habit of looking for second hand items BEFORE you even consider buying new.
Ways I build the habit
– Write Notes
I have a notes file on Google Tasks thats on my phone. If there is something that we need to buy in the house I pop it in there. For example, I wanted to get some extra hand towels to have. So that’s in there as a note and if I am scrolling adverts or in a charity shop I will check that file to see what I need to remember to look out for.
– Saved Searches
I have saved searches on the second hand marketplaces I use. If you’re patient, it’s amazing what you can find. We are on the look out for a larger slow cooker so I have that as a saved search. Every now and again I go in and check. You can also set up to get alerts. But I try and keep most alerts OFF my phone
Last minute shout outs
Now those tips work great if you are not in a rush, but what if you need it yesterday?
Community groups. Facebook groups, local Whatsapp or neighborhood chats. They are a hive of information and help. I have seen so many people being helped (sometimes by me) with last minute shout outs. Some things I have lent recently. A blow up bed, a garden hoe, paint brushes, a Harry Potter cape, a sander…
You will be amazed how generous and helpful people can be.
Do you need to keep it?
Another great question to ask yourself is, do you need this item forever. Sometimes you will have an event or a party coming up and you need an extra bed, or chairs or party decorations. But you might only need it for that one day or weekend.
Start building the habit of borrowing (from friends, family or like I mentioned above from your local swap groups) instead of buying.
There are also fantastic businesses popping up where you can RENT dresses and clothes. This is fantastic, especially for formal occasions like weddings.
Use what you already have
Expanding out from the idea of shopping second hand is the radical concept of not shopping at all.
I will sometimes set myself challenges to use everything I have before I buy new.
For example, a few years ago I set the challenge de-clutter my bathroom cupboards.
- Taking everything out and sorting items into Keep – Pass on – This is so old its now radioactive waste.
- The items I was getting rid of, some I could bring to a cosmetics recycling bank at a local boots store. Depending on where you live its worth searching to see what available. Companies like Terracycle have recycling programmes.
- Passing on, I got rid of lots of perfectly good items on my local Whatsapp group, through Olio and Facebook freecycle pages. If they were brand new I could donate to a charity shop
- Then I started using up all the random creams, lotions etc in the cupboard.
Now I have a much more organised bathroom. I have baskets to hold unopened new items and I will go through every now and again to check that I am going to use them. If not, I pass them on.
I LOVE challenges like this, it really helps you de-clutter and realise just how much you already have. I won’t tell you how many soaps I had… suffice to say it was a lot.
Mend and Repair
Of course, given the courses I teach, I am obviously a big fan of mending and repairing your clothes, household items. I will always try and fix something before I throw it out. You tube is a brilliant resource if you are not sure how to do something.
Yes, it will take more time, but its incredibly satisfying and sometimes it can even save you time. If you have to get in your car, drive somewhere and have to deal with traffic and crowds.
And its far kinder to your bank balance AND the environment. So its a win win in my book.
If it doesn’t work, what have you lost?
But if it does you have gained a new skill, saved yourself money and saved something from landfill.
Thank you for reading
Thank you so much for reading this post, as you can probably tell it’s a topic that I am very passionate about. I would love to know what you think and if there are any habits you do in your daily life, or if there are some new ones that you plan to try out