second hand shopping tips & finding rare finds

How to find quality pieces & other second hand shopping tips

Tips and tricks to ace your second hand shopping adventures both online and offline

By Vaishnavi Nagwekar

Since our childhood, many of us have used hand-me-downs by our relatives. And yet, we hesitate when it comes to secondhand shopping or thrifting. So, why should you choose secondhand shopping instead of buying a new one?

Buying secondhand products shows your financial status. First of all, let’s break this myth. Yes, secondhand items are cheaper than your fresh new ones. But, sometimes secondhand shops have vintage finds, rare editions, limited in stock, timeless designs and rare finds. Indirectly, the value of that second-hand is higher than new products.

Benefits of Second Hand Shopping

  1. The best part about secondhand shopping? You get all the high-end originals at a lower price.
  2. You might come across a very luxurious find when you thrift. Rather than buying a product that is currently trending, you can buy a vintage find which will be a classic piece.
  3. Buying secondhand extends the life-cycle of a product by giving them a second renewed chance. Reusing ensure that it has been used to their full capacity. Whether you use it, donate it or gift it, you are resuing it. The cycle of recycling and reusing keeps ongoing. So, at the end of the day, it’s one less item in the landfill
  4. Buying thrift goods allows you to bargain with the seller and save you some more money.
  5. Whenever you buy something from a thrift store, you become a part of the conscious community. No matter where you buy it, you are helping expand this community.

Second hand shopping can be exhaustive but you end up with one of a kind product. Buying second-hand clothing saves you some money. Importantly, it encourages reusing, which is environment-friendly. In short, you are doing good for your pocket as well as the environment.

Second Hand Shopping Tips & Tricks

Now that we know why second hand shopping is good, let us dig deeper into the best practices while shopping secondhand. The second hand market is big and growing each day, so here is a step by step guide on how you can go about it.

Step 1: Know your sizes

Get your measuring tape, and note down the required measurements. If it’s clothing, then know your measurements. If it is a home product measure the area you have for the product.

Why should you know your sizes beforehand? Most of the thrift stores are online or on social media pages. So, knowing the measurements beforehand helps save time later. Similarly, if you selling some of your own stuff, note down the measurements of the products and then upload them to resell.  

Secondhand tip: Keep a small note on your phone with all your measurements and the sizes so that it is easily accessible.

Step 2: Make a Shopping List

Ask yourself three questions. What are you looking for? What are your typical buying traps? Do I own something similar?

Since we have the festive season coming up, many of us want those pretty OOTDs for the day. So, make a list of what exactly are you looking for. Brownie points if you get into the specifics! Note down the pattern, length, colour, fabric and even designs. 

Remember, you are looking for something new to add, and not to over-consume. So, note down your traps or things you tend to shop more of even though you have enough. This way you know what to buy and what not to buy. Lastly, before you go ahead and pay for the shipping, check your closet to see if you own something similar.

Secondhand tip: Take pictures of the same type of outfits to cross-check before buying. For instance, if you are looking for a kurti put together an album of all kurtis you own in your gallery.

Step 3: Get Hunting

We have a lot of options today when it comes to thrifting. There are dozens of Instagram Thrift pages, and then your local secondhand stores too. All of these are filled with some of the other hidden treasures.

Take a few laps or clicks, make your decision consciously. Eliminate options that don’t work for you, and buy only if you want to.

Remember that second-hand shopping takes time, dedication and patience. It’s better to spend your money on something that you will use a number of times, rather than wasting it on something you won’t use too much or ever.

Secondhand tip: Don’t be afraid to walk out empty-handed or without purchasing anything online.

Step 4: Think Quality over Quantity

To make sure that you buy something that ticks everything and will hang in your closet for a
long time, check this small list first.

  1. Small Holes: Secondhand items always go through regular wear and tear. Inspect all the clothes and products, or enquire about the condition of the apparel before you buy it.
  2. Permanent Color Marks: Look closely at the insides as well as outsides of the products. Are there any spill marks or product discolouration?
  3. Cracks, uneven stitching or dents: Yes buying secondhand means the product is not in perfect condition. But do not compromise on quality. You are giving the product a second chance but it should last you years before it breaks down.

When shopping secondhand you don’t want to forget the lessons you learnt and practices you adopted as a conscious consumer. Putting in all this effort allows you to secure a few quality products that will last longer than piles of junk.

Secondhand tip: Take all the time before making a purchase.

Step 5: Repair & Mend

Since secondhand items are mostly one of a kind and in one size, you may need to fix it a little so that it is n sync with your measurements. So get your toolbox, make those alterations, paint it a new colour or simply break it into more than one piece. Make your one of a kind even more unique with your own personal creativity.

Secondhand tip: Learn basic stitching, ceding and repairing techniques. These will help elevate your second hand shopping game and make you a thrift ninja!

These are our top 5 second hand shopping tips. Hope this helps start your second-hand shopping journey and eventually switch to only buying secondhand items.

When you shop secondhand you are helping local economies, reducing the waste heading to the landfill, giving products another chance and hence reducing carbon consumption. Thus you end up saving money, help someone make money and invest in a better future for the planet all at once.

Vaishnavi is a blogger and sustainability enthusiast who runs a small business. Her love for crocheting has resulted in starting an Instagram business account by the name of Sage Green where she sells handmade crochet products.

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