September is a wonderful month for all sorts of reasons - schools are back, Autumn is on its way, but possibly best of all (in our opinion!) is the fact that there’s a whole month devoted to shopping secondhand.
In case you’re not up to speed, Second Hand September was started by Oxfam as an annual event to encourage more people to buy second hand. It’s little known that the fashion industry is one of the biggest contributors to climate change. If it were a country, it would be the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases (you can read more here).
Some of this is down to transportation, but much more is due to the production of clothing and what happens when it’s disposed of. Growing, processing and dyeing raw materials often uses a huge amount of energy, only for a garment to be worn a few times then left to decompose in landfill, where it continues to produce harmful greenhouse gases like methane.
One of the best ways to help reduce the carbon footprint of your family’s clothing is to start buying second hand clothing, saving it from landfill and making the most of the precious resources that went into producing it. Nowhere is this more true than for children! They grow so fast that often their clothing gets little wear before it’s passed on. Buying second hand is a no-brainer - it’s so easy to find barely used clothing at affordable prices. Here are some of our favourite places to do just that.
1. Social media
Social media provides a treasure trove of second hand items for kids, though you’ll often need to do a little digging. Facebook Marketplace is great for local pick up, and if you’re clever you can even build connections with local parents who can pass on bundles of clothing when they’re done with them.
While Instagram doesn’t have a dedicated marketplace, many people choose to sell their second hand children’s clothes through this platform. The best way to find items is via hashtags - try #brand (e.g. #bobochoses) or #brandforsale (#minirodiniforsale). Once you get the hang of it, you might find certain accounts that regularly post items that fit your little one’s ages, and you can follow them to be notified of new drops.
2. Curated preloved shops
As the trend towards second hand clothing has grown, a number of independent shops have popped up offering a more curated way to buy preloved clothing. They tend to stock higher end or designer items, but still at quite affordable prices. Some of these shops offer a consignment service, where you can send them your children’s unworn items and have the shop deal with pricing, photography and shipping.
3. Apps and secondhand marketplaces
Chances are you’ve come across some of the fast growing second hand marketplaces like Depop and Vinted, but if you haven’t then you’re in for a treat! These platforms allow anyone to list items for sale, providing a secure way to buy and sell preloved items online. Depop is the more popular of the two, but Vinted has a large collection of children’s items too.
With both of these platforms you may have to do a little searching to find what you’re looking for, but you’ll often find items cheaper than elsewhere. Make sure to factor in postage costs when you’re buying. It often works best to find multiple items from one seller so that you only pay one lot of postage.
4. Vintage shops
Vintage clothing can be difficult to find for children, but there is a growing number of shops that curate beautiful old pieces with unique stories. On top of being more special, vintage clothing is often better made than modern high street clothing, so you’ll find you get plenty of wear for your money. It’s possible to find vintage pieces on eBay too, though you’ll probably have to do a lot of digging for the good things.
5. Charity shops
The classic place to shop second hand, the charity shop, is still one of the easiest and most fun ways to buy preloved. If you’re looking for high quality or designer items and you’re not having luck in your local shop, head to affluent areas for a better selection. It’s worth being mindful that charity shops are sometimes a lifeline to lower income families, so shop wisely and carefully, and don’t forget to donate your own items where you can.
Some charities now also offer online shops, such as Oxfam.
What about nappies?
Just like clothing, producing nappies can use significant energy and water, so choosing cloth nappies that can be reused over and over again is a great way to make the most of those precious resources! One of the great things about cloth nappies is that they last long enough to be used by several children, so if you have nappies that still have life in them when you’re done, you can sell them on secondhand.
Buying secondhand is also a great way to save money if you’re on a tight budget. Facebook is the easiest way to find reusable nappies for sale. Make sure to check pictures closely for staining and damage and always ask if there are any issues or damage to the nappy. Paying through Paypal Goods & Services is standard with Facebook sales - this charges the seller a small fee but ensures you are protected if the item never turns up. Some brands and prints are particularly sought after and can sell for high prices, so avoid those if you’re looking for a bargain.