If you’re thinking of changing your shopping habits or becoming more sustainable, or you’re trying to give up fast fashion for good, you will need to think more carefully about how you shop. Try to remember that failing to stick to second-hand shops doesn’t mean you have ‘failed’ the sustainable way of living. It’s a learning curve getting used to sustainable living so don’t be too hard on yourself if you find it difficult. Here are my seven tips to make this journey easier for you.

  1. Start small: Reduce the amount of time you spend shopping. By cutting down how often you shop it will make it easier to eventually only shop when you need something.
  2. Sort out your wardrobe: Go through your wardrobe and have a sort through. You may have to be tough on yourself. When you’re looking through your clothes, ask yourself when you last wore that item and if you still like it. If you can’t remember when you last wore something, or if you don’t like it anymore, consider donating it to charity or passing it on to someone. You could surprise yourself and find some gems you’ve forgotten about!
  3. Make a list: Now that you’ve gone through your wardrobe, it’s time to consider what items you need, not want, if anything at all. It’s very easy to get lost in indulgence when you go shopping, so by making a list, you’ll find it easier to save money and not overflow your wardrobe. When making your list, start simple. Think about what you need most and set your sights on finding those pieces.
  4. Start shopping! Part 1: Before you start heading into the first second-hand shop you see, speak to your friends and family, are they clearing out their wardrobe? If so, do they have something on your list? By asking you might save them a trip to the charity shops. If they don’t have anything, then go shopping. But where should you go? It can be hard to know which second-hand shops to visit. You can do some online research about second-hand shops in your local area or ask someone. Or you can go shopping without any recommendations and discover some shops you really like.
  5. Start shopping! Part 2: Now that you have your list, set a budget. Don’t go shopping to find everything all at once, get used to this way of shopping. If you’re looking for seasonal clothing, shop smart, they are very unlikely to have summer dresses in the middle of autumn. If you are shopping in a charity shop, shop with at least some level of respect. Yes, you can ask if they have something on your list, but don’t ever ask for a discount! (This does happen!) Your pennies are helping the charity to care for people, so surely you can spare £5 for a t-shirt. In vintage shops, items might be more expensive – unless it’s a vintage charity shop – so you will need to think carefully about what you’re buying. You might find something you fall in love with, which is part of the fun.
  6. Start shopping! Part 3: You are allowed to shop in high street shops. Changing your shopping habits and shopping ethos does not mean you are banned from the high street. It just means don’t buy items as if it doesn’t matter where it ends up or how long it lasts. If you do buy things from the high street, buy things to invest in like a coat or a pair of boots. Just don’t slip back into your old habits.
  7. Longevity: When it comes to shopping second hand, you need to think about the longevity of what you’re buying. Think about cost per wear and this will help you make smarter choices. When you try your finds on think about the price, the fabric of the item and how often you’ll wear it. If you think like this every time you shop, you’ll save money and only buy what you need