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What are the Pros and Cons of Buying Second-Hand?

When it comes to shopping, some items are seen as acceptable to buy second-hand; cars, motorbikes, paintings and some furniture. But why isn’t it more common for clothing, electricals and all homeware to be re-loved?

There are always different arguments to however you shop, but here’s a list of pros and cons that may just make you think twice about clicking a popular online shopping app.


Pros of Buying Second-Hand


Better on the environment

There’s no denying we have a crisis regarding climate change and there’s so much we need to do in a very short amount of time to help stem the irreversible damage. Buying second-hand helps to reduce the manufacturing of new goods, which in turn stems the impact on the environment through the use of water, chemicals and excess waste.

As well as the direct impact with the manufacturing, the impact of fast fashion on the environment is big news at the moment. By reducing the amount of ‘throw’ away clothing we buy, the reduction of garments ending up in landfill prevents the constant strain we’re seeing on our oceans and soils. Selling items second hand, rather than choosing to throw in the bin, means we’re stopping the constant buying cycle that has become the ‘norm’ and replacing with a more sustainable option of shopping.

Unique Finds

By browsing charity shops, auction sites and preloved listings, you can find something unique that you just weren’t expecting. As things age, they can often be passed through different owners and used in various ways. By taking the time to search for something you’re after, you may just come across a gem that is even better than anything you could have bought new.

Cost Savings

Whether it’s pence or pounds, everyone likes to be able to make a saving, so why do we continue to pay a mark-up on items that we could get as-good-as-new, but for a fraction of the price?

The most commonly used items people buy are vehicles due to the depreciation on brand new cars in their first few years. Buying a car that is only a year or two old, can already save you 100s of £s compared to driving off the forecourt yourself, and the same goes for other items too.

Items such as designer clothing, high-quality furniture and jewellery can see a price drop when listed second-hand and may not have had hardly any use at all. There are over £32,000 of unworn men’s and women’s clothes in the UK, which could be sold on and are as new as they were hanging on the shelves in the shop.

Support a Good Cause

Buying second-hand doesn’t have to be complicated, there are so many ways you can purchase items that actually give back to those who need it most. Charity shops are nothing new, and now more than ever before they are being recognised as the perfect way to find perfectly wonderful items, without the hefty price tag, whilst giving the money to worthwhile causes.

Gone are the days where they were seen as only selling dusty old books, many charities shops are raising the competition on the high street and with online suppliers, and even branching out into superstores where home goods and electricals are top sellers. Many charity shops also have a selection of new goods including pet supplies, furniture and ornaments to name a few, that are perfect for people that are just branching into charity shops.

Higher Quality and Longer Lasting 

Second-hand items can be sold when they’re good quality as they often still have a lot of life left in them. With clothes and shoes, many older pieces are made with good quality materials, meaning they are sturdy and can last for years to come and it also saves them being added to landfill where the quality can mean it’s hard from them to breakdown.

Finding gems like this is easier than you think, it’s just a case of looking that little bit harder.

Support ethical practices

Whether it’s the ethics of who’s selling, what you’re buying or how you’re buying it, finding the best way to ethically buy ‘new’ products is easier than you think. Look at who and where you’re buying from, what are their principals and how do they operate. Is there fair trading? Where does their stock from and under what morals? Getting to know the items you need or want, allows you to make smarter choices and support businesses who deserve your trade.


Cons of Buying Second-Hand

Slightly imperfect condition

Most second-hand listings will come under a variety of categories: Brand New, Like New, Good, Fair and is often priced fairly based on this grading. Don’t be afraid to ask for more pictures if buying online and make sure, if there is damage, it’s somewhere you feel happy to accept e.g on the bottom or back of the item.

Lifespan may not be as long

Although most used goods have stood the test of time so far, you may find that some have a slightly shorter lifespan than a brand new item. Again, if priced right, it may be something you’re happy to have for a short period before it’s replaced, but make sure you’re fully aware of the wear and tear it has gone through to see if it will see you out for as long as you need.

Tricky to find exact items

Maybe it’s a particular colour, style or make of an item you’re after, but looking for this second-hand may mean a sacrifice on exactly what you want. The right search terms will work wonders for finding what you want online, but if visiting a charity shop, call and see if it’s something they stock or could put aside if spotted in donations.


Finding the items you want is easy when you’re used to buying from certain shops. When you make the switch to buying second hand, you may find it may take a little while longer to get what you’re after, which may put you off. If it’s not something you’re desperate for, then taking the time to scour through shops or pre-loved sites can be as rewarding as it is timely and you never know, you may find something even better.


Warranty and guarantees

With a lot of second-hand buys, particularly electricals, you won’t have the guarantee or warranty with the item, which may cause a few issues if you find it’s not in full working order. It’s always important to know exactly what you’re buying which is why every electrical item sold in charity shops should be PAT tested to ensure it’s safe for resale.

So, whether you’re an avid pre-loved purchaser or a no-new-goods novice, we hope these tips on what to look for and how your shopping choices make a difference all-round inspires you to look at what goods may just be waiting for a new home near you.

However you choose to shop, we have a number of places you can get your items, including our online store, eBay store and of course, our high street shops.