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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  1. 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!

    1. 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!

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