I know it might sound a bit creepy at first to find reasons to buy second hand clothing for your baby, especially when it’s your first baby, but actually there are several good reasons for it. As a first time mum myself, I know how exciting it is to go the baby/kids section and see all the cute clothes and imagine how your own baby/toddler will look wearing those items that you like. I still do that from time to time. However, I also really enjoy going to the charity shops (in the UK most second hand shops are run by charities) and I get excited in anticipation of what I will find.
My husband and I already bought many of our clothes from charity shops before becoming parents and whilst we don’t currently buy all our clothes as second hand, we do buy a significant amount. In my husband’s case, about 90% of his clothes are from charity shops and in my case it’s about 75%.
Now that we have Diego, when we go to the charity shops we now also look at the baby/kids section. Therefore, Diego’s wardrobe now contains a significant amount of clothes from charity shops too, in addition to hand-me-downs from family and friends. Actually, I was very lucky that a dear friend who had her baby boy a year before Diego was born lent us most of the clothes that Diego wore from birth to 6 months old. Although of course, we also received some brand new clothes as gifts from relatives and we couldn’t completely resist temptation, so we succumbed on occasion and purchased about 5 brand new outfits ourselves.
Based on my personal experience, I have found that buying second hand clothes for babies/toddlers is the best decision you can make. Here are my six reasons for buying second hand clothes:
- Good quality clothes at a cheap price. You can often find good quality clothes at less than half the original price for well known brands that are found online, on the high street or at department stores. Also, we mums know that baby/toddlers grow out of their clothes very quickly and this means you often end up with clothes that have hardly been worn. Also, by buying second hand you will not end up wasting as much money should your baby/toddler out grow their clothes too quickly.
- You can be creative with your baby/toddler look. Sometimes, you want an item of clothing or style for your baby/toddler that may not be fashionable right now. Therefore, it can be hard to find the missing items you want. Second hand shopping gives you that chance to find those unique items of clothing that you’ve been dreaming of.
- No risk. Many clothes shrink a bit when you wash them the first time, especially woolen jumpers. Buying second hand means this process of first wash has already been completed and the size you see is likely the size it will remain.
- It’s healthier. Ok. This point divides opinions. When Diego had his eczema at its worst, I researched the best clothes to wear due to his extremely sensitive skin. Obviously, organic cotton clothes came up as the best option and I agree, they definitely are. It is indeed good for our skin and for the planet to buy organic due to the lack of chemicals used. However, I also came across the idea of buying second-hand clothes. The idea behind this approach is that when you buy second hand clothes, that item has already been washed many times before and therefore some of the chemicals used in the production process have already been washed out.
- It’s good for the environment. It is said that the fashion industry is the second biggest polluter in the world. Often we buy without knowing the full process behind the production of an item. For instance, as referenced in this article, it can take 5,000 gallons of water to only produce a T-shirt and a pair of jeans made of organic cotton and this is an example of the best option available. The so called ‘fast fashion industry’ wants people to consume fast which means buying clothes and discarding them often, sometimes even for every season. When we buy second hand we are getting clothes that are still in good condition and that otherwise would be in landfill. Also, buying second hand means saying no to consumerism.
- Peace of mind. In 2013 we all were shocked and saddened with the tragedy that happened in a factory in Bangladesh that made the international news. Many people don’t know the terrible and exploitative conditions in which people in developing countries work to produce the clothes that people in the West wear every season. Buying from certain charity shops means that you are actually supporting communities and projects, either locally or abroad, to overcome exploitation and poverty. When I buy second hand I feel that I am contributing to a better world and I feel happy about my purchases.