Addicted to clothing - save and buy second hand

I LOVE clothes (like most women) and need to exercise a lot of self-control to not buy too much.

My wardrobes (yes two) are full to over flowing with clothes and I feel very guilty at times when I spend money on clothes I don't really need.

We now live in an age of the "disposable wardrobe" — wear something for a season and toss it out when the next "in" look arrives. Young girls in particular, are spending $$$$ on clothes which they only wear a few times before they want to spend more $$$$ on the next fad. We are not content with what we have and continue to want more and more, influenced by what we see on TV, in the magazines, social media and from our peers. 

Our lack of contentment (and control) across all facets of our lives is causing such pain to many — restlessness, unhappiness, lack of money, debt, envy, hoarding —

we all need clothes, but we don't need as much as we have. (note to self!!)

We need to learn to live with less and be content with not following the latest trends (in all aspects of our lives). Of course, that doesn't mean we should look frumpy and completely out of date — we need to be wise with our purchases and shop careful. We need to be good stewards of our money and not waste it with clothes that we only wear once.  We will never find contentment through earthly things like clothes, they will only disappoint us and bring us sadness — our contentment is found through Christ and Christ alone.

Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (1 Timothy 6:6-10)

Annual average spend on clothes by Australian women (2013) (from Roy Morgan Research)

If you are like me and enjoy buying clothes, there is a cheaper option that will save you lots and lots of money — buy secondhand. Visit the charity stores and be surprised at what you find.  

I love rummaging through these stores looking for a bargain and sometimes I find almost brand new for a fraction of the cost. However, there are some strategies when shopping at charity stories:

* Be willing to find nothing on some occasions — it can be very hit and miss and on some occasions you will find nothing at all and at other times, lots of things.

* Be prepare to rummage — it takes time and energy to shop this way and one needs to rummage to find what you are looking for. 

* Look for quality — don't buy for the sake of buying, buy something because it is well made and of a good quality and therefore last. 

* Pick your stores — the more upmarket the suburb, generally, more up market the second-hand clothes. You are more likely to find better quality, brand items and perhaps those gorgeous vintage clothes that are now all the trend. 

* Think outside the box — you might find things that don't look great, but with a little alteration, can become your all time favourite.  

* Always try it on — always try on the clothes you have picked, even though cheap, you don't want to waste money on things that don't fit, buttons likely to pop or isn't your style. 

* Inspect well — always check out the quality of the item, making sure that the zip works (unless you are great at putting in new zips), there are no runs, stains or require too much work — unless you are a great seamstress (or know one), you are not likely to get these things done and the clothes will sit around unworn. 

* Go online — I often use eBay when searching for skirts in particular and have found some amazing bargains this way. 

* If your wardrobe is full — why not do a swap — buy something secondhand and give something back to charity. This way you can keep equilibrium in your wardrobe! 

* Wash the clothes — one never knows much about the history of the clothes you buy, always worth giving them a good wash.  I have never bought anything that smelt or was dirty, I think most charity stores do a good job of eliminating the nasties from their collections. 

* Go with a friend — no other reason, but it makes it heaps of fun!!

Not only do I  buy clothes second-hand, I also buy lots of china, glassware and platers this way (often for a few dollars), sewing patterns, books, DVDs etc.. My dad has picked up a number of jigsaws this way and even though on occasions a piece or two are missing out of the 1000, he still gets a lot of enjoyment from doing it. 

But always remember — don't over do it and buy for the sake of buying — learn to be content with such things as you have (Hebrews 13:5)

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. 

(Colossians 3:1-4)


  1. I just read where the average piece of clothing only gets seven wears before being tossed. What a waste!! I try to buy quality basics that look and wear well and can be worn over and over. If I get bored I'll occasionally splurge on some inexpensive, trendy costume jewelry, but that's about it. I've lived long enough to know the regret and waste of getting rid of bags and bags of poor clothing choices. I'm much more selective now. Great post!

    1. Wow - that is hardly worn. I can remember my mother having clothes in her wardrobe that were decades old and she kept on wearing them and they were still in excellent condition! I like to add scarves to jazz clothes up or I simply don't wear something for 12 months and get it out the following season and it feels like new!! I'm more like these days to spend more but buy less :)

      Have a wonderful week.

  2. We do love a good thrift shop! My girls like to buy second hand. More selection. More for your money!
    Blessings from Harvest Lane Cottage

    1. It so much fun and very rewarding when you find a bunch of things that are in good condition, fit and only cost a small amount!!

  3. I think thrift shopping may become more popular with younger people. I recently read an article about how traditional retailers are struggling because the instagram and snap chat generation don't want to pay so much for outfits that they can only photograph and share once.

    1. I work with women who earn high incomes who shop at thrift stores as its the trendy thing to do! I think we have become wise and cunning shoppers that don't want to be ripped off.

      Have a great week:)

  4. I am right there with you Jo! Especially the tip about trying on... In my early thrift store days I didn't bother but that became a problem. Just because it is a deal, doesn't make it inexpensive if it doesn't fit! I can never pay full-price retail again...

    Thank you for sharing this on the Art of Home-Making Mondays at Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth!

    1. I'm also really careful about faulty zips, hems, stains and damaged fabric . Always worth spending a few moments checking these things.

  5. I love all of your tips. Another that I would add is see if your second hand stores run a half off day. The store might be packed on that day, but you can get even better deals.

    1. Mine have red sticker days when those clothes are 1/2 price making everything just a few dollars. Bargains can certainly be found!!!

  6. All of your ideas are very good ones! Netflix is showing a movie called "True Cost," and one of the sad things it shows is that mountains of clothes end up in landfills. Better to slow that process down by buying in thrift shops!

    1. I must have a look for this on Netflix as it sounds really interesting. One of the reason I buy second hand is to save the planet from wastage - we throw away so much and I like to do my small bit.

    2. Stacey - I started watching "True Cost" last night and it really makes you think twice about buying clothes make in third world countries - it is really disturbing and thorough provoking. I recently bought a dress made in India that came with documentation to say it was ethically made and the workers were all paid well above standard wages and fabrics and colours used were safe to both workers and wearer. I paid much more than I would usually for such a dress.

  7. I haven't bought clothing for myself (apart from tank tops and underwear) for years. I often get given clothes from other people that either fit or can be altered to fit and apart from that I'm trying to wear out my wardrobe. A skirt I sewed myself back in 2007 recently got holes in it - I was actually sad because it was a favourite - which is probably why it has holes in it: it is VERY well worn! I have a lot of clothes from 2007 or even 2002 that I am still wearing. I just don't feel I should buy any more clothes until what I have is worn out! However, I must add that I have sewn myself a few dresses & skirts in that time when I've found favourite pieces of fabric, but I usually look for fabric at bargain prices if at all possible! :) When my wardrobe finally empties out, then I'll think about either sewing or buying clothes... I do like sewing because a lot of clothes available out there just don't suit my body shape!

    1. When your wardrobe empties you better get yourself some clothes!!!! otherwise it will be interesting :))

    2. Hahaha!! Don't worry - I will!! :D


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