It's so interesting isn't it, how different people react to dressing your children in second hand clothes? I never realised that it could be a controversial choice. I can kind of understand that you might have some concern if the clothes smelt of cigarette smoke, or if they were covered in irremovable stains. But after a hot wash, how is a second hand outfit any different from something you'd bought on the high street?
I've always been an enthusiastic recycler. Ever since doing a bit of volunteering in a charity shop as a 16 year old, my friends and family have been used to my magpie finds, and occasionally 'interesting' outfit choices. But since commiting to a year off buying anything new for me or my two children, a few people have said things like, 'Oh, I'd never do that', with a slight hint of disapproval!
Without being too evangelical about buying second hand (after all not everything will ever be for everyone); I'd like to gently challenge the idea that you wouldn't want to dress your kids in second hand clothes. If not, why not? At the very least you can be confident that you are probably taking an outfit out of landfill. And if you are choosing not to buy new, you are getting one less online order (Black Friday discount or not), which comes wrapped in mountains of plastic and cardboard.
Last Black Friday, I managed to avoid the high street clothes shops (with very enticing deals in the windows), and stuck to charity shops. Without much effort, I was delighted to find TWO pairs of nice jeans. Both looked pretty unworn and just like something I'd have bought new. In just one charity shop, I managed to get these, a pair of wellies for my youngest and a second hand birthday card, all for the princely sum of £7.20. If that's not a great Black Friday, I don't know what is! At the start of my year of buying nothing new, I was all stocked up with jeans for the coming year. I'm confident I'll be able to find whatever else I might need clothes wise, as and when needed, from charity shops or online marketplaces.
I created the website One Baby Owner to help other mums (or dads) like me, who are looking for specific items: coats, wellies, swimwear etc., and are happy to receive nice quality second hand items from other parents in the same boat. I'm hoping to convince more people to take a punt on a new selling site. You could save another family from having to buy something new, de-clutter your house a bit, and earn some extra cash! Triple win! If people were to sell on just a fraction of their kids' clutter (which they wouldn't be able to sell elsewhere), then that would cut down on so much 'stuff' that would be bought new. We work so hard at recycling food waste, plastic bottles, cans, and glass. Why don't we make it a priority with clothes?
Mum of two little girls, aged three and one, Dr Katie Musgrave is a doctor by training, but environmentalist by passion! Katie set up One Baby Owner after feeling frustrated with the difficulty of sourcing good quality second hand children's items, and struggling to find an effective way to sell on children's items.