Secondhand clothes shopping (or thrifting) has undeniably been booming in recent years. From curated Depop feeds to TikTok trends that embrace vintage looks, Gen Z, in particular have adopted the practice.
According to data collected by Reluv, in the 2020-21 financial year, 72% of Australians purchased at least one item of secondhand clothing. Most folks stated that style consciousness, price and, of course, sustainability as their reasoning behind secondhand shopping.
We're all more aware of overconsumption, overproduction and in turn waste than ever before. So, why should our secondhand shopping habits stop at just clothes? Given how mainstream thrifting has become, buying clothes secondhand seems relatively low-risk (sometimes flaws in clothing can be half the fun of buying secondhand).
However, if you've had some apprehension about shopping secondhand in other areas, here's proof secondhand shopping across the board is the way to go.
Gym & Exercise Equipment
Trawling Facebook Marketplace for the perfect velvet green couch is a form of Zilennial spirituality. But why stop there when it comes to fitting out your home?
Throughout the pandemic, folks around the globe became very well acquainted with at-home workouts. While faithfuls may have missed hitting the gym, others have lapped up the convenience and cheapness of home fitness.
If you're buying used machines (like treadmills or bikes), checking for excessive wear and tear, whether safety features are up to scratch and whether a product is still under warranty is important. Additionally, it's probably best to disinfect handheld equipment like dumbells, kettlebells and balance bars before diving into your first workout with them.
Buying a phone outright is an expensive ordeal — especially given just how quickly new iterations are released these days. Globally, around 44.7 million tonnes of tech are sent to landfill each year in favour of new devices. This stat is pretty alarming, given e-waste can leak toxic chemicals into our waterways and soil.
Services like Belong's Second Life Shop (in partnership with KingFisher) is an excellent option for purchasing refurbished, secondhand phones that are fit out with up-to-date software — often for less than what you would pay for a new device — and 12 months of warranty (this warranty is provided in addition to other rights under the Australian Consumer Law). They offer carbon-neutral data plans, which is a bonus.
If you're looking to embrace your Tumblr era, seeking out a secondhand camera is also a great shout. In Sydney, there are heaps of specialty stores that cater to camera lovers, and the usual secondhand marketplaces are a great place to start.
Most major tech retailers will also sell pre-loved gaming consoles and games that have been thoroughly checked by staff before resale. It's also a great shout to pocket some extra cash if you've got a Nintendo DS from yesteryear hanging around.
Much like our workout routines, the pandemic also shifted our relationship with weddings. According to global fashion shopping platform Lyst’s 2021 Wedding Report, searches for pre-owned wedding gowns were up 103% since March 2020.
Given wedding gowns (mostly) only end up being worn once, the secondhand marketplace can be a more environmentally friendly and cost-effective addition to your special day. It also poses the opportunity to find something super unique and fashion-forward — sites like Vestaire Collective are packed full of incredible gowns from brands like Paco Rabanne, Pronovias, and Dior.
On top of this, if you're attending a wedding (or another formal event this year), secondhand formalwear has also made a splash in recent years too.
Musical equipment is so expensive. From amps to MIDI controllers to instruments, investing in gear, whether you're looking to take on music as a career (or just as a hobby) can be a financial stretch.
While gear is expensive, it is built to last, and when taken care of properly can last a lifetime. Because of this, the buy-and-swap online community for music equipment is huge, and you'll be able to find anything you'd ever need secondhand. In addition, many musicians will try to offload unneeded gear before tours, so you'll often be able to negotiate the prices of equipment when talking to sellers too.
Books & Vinyl
Being a collector can get expensive, especially if you're a pop culture fanatic.
Going record shopping is one of the greatest simple pleasures in life. Picking up a secondhand, coveted, rare vinyl is simply priceless. Checking whether a used record is warped before purchasing is quite simple. Holding it up to eye level to see whether the vinyl is bent, and assessing for any significant scratches or water damage to its packaging is usually the best way to check whether there's any damage.
While there's nothing better than a new-book smell, there's something pretty dang romantic about buying a secondhand book — whether the previous owner added in their own transcriptions or the pages have a slight-yellow tinge. On the other side of things, University students will understand the pain (and cost) of tracking down new textbooks ahead of the semester. Purchasing secondhand books is a surefire way to curb the costs associated with studying.
On top of this, op-shops are usually a treasure trove of DVDs, comic books and other pop culture collectables.
Your Next Car
There is some taboo around buying a secondhand car. My dad instilled the fear of God in me around buying one years ago, claiming that you end up "paying double for a secondhand car in the long run".
There are plenty of ways to check whether the car you're buying isn't a complete lemon. We'd recommend checking out one of the many guides online (like this one from the Motor Traders Association) to create a checklist before blindly purchasing secondhand.
If driving isn't your thing, buying a secondhand bike and using it to ride to work is doubly environmentally conscious (and budget-friendly).