Second-Hand Shopping Tips: What to Avoid and What to Buy?

Thanks to Gen Zs, second-hand shopping has gained a lot in popularity over the past couple of years. Reasons? Increased sustainability awareness and, well, the infamous inflation. Yet, not everything should be bought second-hand. In this article, we’ll share with you some useful second-hand shopping tips that will clear up any confusion on which items should and which items shouldn’t be bought used.


Things You Shouldn’t Buy Second-hand

          1. Mattresses

Mattresses are the one item you should always steer clear of purchasing used. They not only have the potential to be unhygienic but also gradually lose their support and structure. Furthermore, dust mites and other allergens that might cause health issues can live in mattresses. While investing in a new mattress may be costly, doing so is essential for your health and well-being. Invest in a new mattress that will offer the support and comfort you require for a restful night’s sleep to avoid the potential health concerns and discomfort of a used mattress.

Girl on a matress
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

2. Car Seats

A car seat is one item that you should never purchase used. Why? Well, it comes without saying that you want your child to be protected in the event of a car accident, and if your child’s car seat has been in an accident before, its structural integrity may have been affected. A used car seat could have concealed damage that is difficult to see even if it looks to be in good condition. It’s crucial to spend money on a new car seat that complies with safety regulations and hasn’t been in an accident before to guarantee your child’s safety.


3. Underwear

Underwear is one thing you should never consider purchasing used. Even though it might seem apparent, it bears repeating. Close skin contact while wearing undergarments makes them a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses that can cause diseases. Wearing something that someone else has already worn is not just unhygienic but also uncomfortable. For hygiene and comfort reasons, it’s always best to buy new underwear. So, the most obvious of second-hand shopping tips: avoid the risk of infection and the discomfort of used undergarments by investing in a new, fresh set of undies.


Things You Should Buy Second-hand

        1. Furniture

Now let’s talk about DOs. Second-hand shopping DO number 1: Furniture. Buying second-hand furniture is an eco-friendly and cost-effective way to furnish your home. Not only can you find unique pieces that are not commonly found in furniture stores, but you also reduce waste by giving a new life to pre-loved furniture. By opting for second-hand furniture, you also contribute to reducing the negative impact of furniture production on the environment. Additionally, buying second-hand furniture can save you money, and you might even score a better quality item than what you could have afforded brand new. With the rise of online marketplaces and apps, buying second-hand furniture has never been easier, so why not try it out for your next home decor project?


        2. Books

Second-hand shopping DO number 2: Books. Purchasing used books is a sustainable way to read your favorite books and give back to your neighborhood. In addition to finding rare or out-of-print books that you wouldn’t discover in a typical shop, used bookstores frequently sell books in outstanding condition. The best thing is that buying used books contributes to reducing waste.

Paper is the primary component of books, and the creation of new books can contribute to deforestation and other environmental problems. By purchasing used books, you’re lowering the demand for brand-new books, which benefits the environment. Second-hand novels can also be read repeatedly and distributed among friends, making them an even more environmentally friendly choice. So the next time you’re looking for a new read, consider checking out your local used bookstore or online second-hand bookshop.

Girl reading a book
Photo by George Milton

         3. Clothing

And the most obvious one – Clothes. Buying second-hand clothing is not only a great way to save money, but it’s also a sustainable choice. Clothing production has a significant environmental impact, from the use of resources like water and energy to the release of pollutants into the air and waterways. By buying second-hand clothing, you’re reducing the demand for new clothes, which in turn reduces the number of resources used and waste generated.

Another benefit of buying second-hand clothing is the opportunity to find unique pieces that you wouldn’t find in a store. Vintage clothing and one-of-a-kind items can add character and personality to your wardrobe. Plus, buying second-hand clothing supports local businesses like thrift stores and consignment shops.

So next time you need new clothes, consider browsing second-hand options before heading to the mall. You might just find a hidden gem and do your part in reducing fashion’s impact on the planet. And if you’re interested in buying second-hand items but don’t know where to start, consider Faircado. Faircado is a browser extension that automatically looks for the best second-hand or refurbished alternatives when you shop online and that way makes it a lot easier to find exactly what you’re looking for.


Making wise choices when buying used goods helps minimize waste and fosters a more sustainable future. Many products are fine to buy used, even though other things like mattresses, car seats, and undergarments should always be bought brand new. You may find excellent deals on clothing, furniture, and books, and by purchasing used products, you’re helping the environment by giving them a second chance.

For more tips and tricks on how to live a more sustainable life, check out our magazine.




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