It can be a bit scary at first if you’re not use to shopping second hand regularly. I love second hand shopping because the truth is I don’t like to look or dress the same as everyone else! I’ve always been the same, even when I go out with my friends I always stick out as the ‘different’ one in the group. Lets be honest with second hand shops you don’t know what your going to find and that’s what I like about it. Rummaging around in the hopes you’ll find that star item, it could be a bag, a skirt or even a glass I’m a sucker for anything out of the ordinary.
You need to be much more open with second hand shopping though, you can’t really go with a certain ‘look’ in mind. The thought process needs to be more like “I need a dress for a party” that’s it nothing more specific than that, otherwise you’ll get into dangerous territory and you’ll shop will turn into a stressful nightmare! Just something to bare in mind before you set off to roam charity and vintage shops.
I thought of this exact thing the other day. I would like a dress for a family wedding I’m going to in September, now I’ve not even thought of the type of cut I would like the dress to be because it’ll make shopping for it a million times harder! As I was thinking this, I thought maybe I should do a “how to survive second hand shopping” post because you don’t think it is but it can be really hard to find what you want. You think being more prepared would be better but in this case it makes it worse.
So here are a few tips and tricks to survive a second hand shop without having a complete meltdown. This goes for all things as well, not just clothes but books and records too.
1. Be vague – As I said earlier, be vague with what you’d like to purchase. I want a dress for this occasion, a horror book or a blues record. Don’t narrow down your search too much because if you do then you might as well spend hours surfing the net but I personally like to physically go into a shop where I can touch the items.
2. Take a long run up – Now the wedding I need a dress for is in September and because of my job I will be away a lot of the summer, I’m actually going to start looking for something now. This is a rather long run up I must admit but I don’t want to start stressing about not having anything a few weeks before because I won’t have time to look. The same goes for presents, if you want to start buying presents second hand then you really should think about what type of gift a month before their birthday. Your more likely to find that perfect gift!!
3. Block out time – In our super busy diaries we need to block out a good few hours to do second hand shopping. Take time to really look through everything, the quality, style and even price. As you spend more time in the store you get a feel of the regulars who come in and these people are just looking for high quality stuff, which they usually sell on for double the price on Ebay.
4. Quality – Just because it’s second hand it doesn’t mean you don’t want the quality to be good. Getting another year or two out of the item is ideally what you want, so take your time to feel the products and look over them, holes in clothes, missing pages in books and bad scratches on records (there’s nothing worse than getting home to listen to a record and realise that the scratch is so bad the track keeps bloody jumping!!).
5. Pricing – Now not everyone will want to do this one, so it’s completely up to you on how confident you are. I find a lot of time second hand stuff can be crazy overpriced, considering it’s been worn multiple times and probably by more than one person. So don’t be afraid to haggle, you don’t have to be all cockney market trader about it, just go up to the counter and say will you take £10 for this (when it’s priced at £15). If your really determined it’s not worth anymore the £10 then say why, it’s got a bit of damage on it etc. They don’t have to say yes to you but they might if they think it’ll be hard to shift because of the damage.
I’m planning on setting out on a monthly or bi-weekly second trips, so if I find any little gems I will share them with you!
Much love x