What I Learned from Buying Only Second Hand Clothes for One Year

I only bought second hand clothes for one year...

Last year I challenged myself to refrain from purchasing any new clothes.

Yep. 12 months – no new clothes… but that didn’t mean I wasn’t still shopping, I simply restricted myself to shopping for only thrifted or second hand clothes instead. Why, do you ask? Check out my post from last year about why I said no to new clothes in 2017 (hint: I was driven mainly by a desire to positively impact the environment and eliminate my over-consumption of hard-to-recycle items – especially from “fast fashion” retailers).

This was a true challenge for me because prior to 2017, I never considered myself to be very skilled in the art of thrifting clothes. The only sections in Goodwill I ever paid attention to prior to this challenge were the home goods and furniture sections! That said, I learned how to hunt – and when complimented on my resulting outfits or asked where I purchased a new-to-me item, I really enjoyed being able to respond, “Thank you, it’s thrifted!”

I started my “thrifting” journey at consignment stores like Crossroads and Buffalo Exchange. Those felt manageable size-wise and because they offer somewhat curated merchandise, I almost always was able to leave with a decent haul of great items. I did have some luck at a few strategically located Goodwills and Savers stores, but those required a decent amount of time dedication. If you’re interested in trying to shop more for second hand clothes, check out my post on thrift store shopping tips and how-to.

While I enjoyed the process of learning how to thrift, I equally enjoyed the feeling of knowing that I was doing something good for the planet!

Will I continue saying no to new clothes in 2018?

If I was not 5 ½ months pregnant, I would say absolutely yes! I loved hunting for unique items, saving money, and feeling good ethically about my purchasing decisions.

However… perhaps it’s a weak excuse but it is NOT easy to find clothes that fit in a regular store, let alone hunt for growing belly-friendly items in consignment stores/thrift shops. My ever-growing stomach has been fun to watch, but difficult to clothe.

In 2018, I promised myself that I would eliminate as much self-induced and unnecessary stress in my life as possible – that includes restricting my pregnancy clothing purchases to second hand only items. This is a time to feel good, not guilty!

With that said, I like to think that once I’m closer to my pre-pregnancy body again I will go back to thrifting more regularly for myself because I enjoy it so much!

What do you think, is this a challenge you would ever consider trying?

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  • Reply
    March 16, 2018 at 9:42 pm

    I have mainly bought second-hand clothes for a long time, and I have recently acquired a second-hand children’s clothing store (with my mother and sister). I’m curious to know how you have approached buying goods for your baby, and how you have considered buying second-hand.

    Congratulations on your pregnancy!

    • Reply
      March 17, 2018 at 6:04 am

      Hi Roberta!

      Great question, I love second hand for myself and I absolutely plan to hunt down cute second hand options for my new baby. I have already been scouting on places like Facebook Marketplace for bundles of newborn options (cute, cheap, and eco-friendly!). I love that you have a second hand children’s store – sounds like something right up my alley 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    How to Recycle Old Clothes - A Clean Bee
    July 3, 2019 at 9:01 pm

    […] Donating is an easy choice for clothes that are still presentable. But what about clothes that are far past their prime? Read on to learn about how to recycle clothes and shoes that aren’t in good condition.  […]

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