First hand or second hand – ask yourself the question?

First hand or second hand – ask yourself the question is a piece to focus on the excellent services provided by charity run thrift stores, second hand shops what ever they are called in your area. Second hand shops support people and families in need through so many ways, and are staffed by caring people who are mostly volunteering their time and effort to a great cause.

There is also an important environmentally responsible side to second hand stores all over the world. Without them all the items on sale in these stores would more than likely end up in a landfill somewhere! Instead there is a valuable cycle where old clothing, shoes, toys, books and all the other finds are available for recycling and up cycling for a fractional cost, the proceeds of which fund a charity. Win Win cycle.

(Cute wooded puzzles I purchased second hand for my two year old little girl Eabha)


We live in a consumer focused society where the majority of us living in the first world (I hate this term) have too much “stuff” clogging up our homes and of course our lives. Did you ever notice how lighter you feel as a person when you clear clutter from your wardrobe or home! A startling fact that “20 % of the worlds population consumes 80% of its resources” – Home a film by internationally renowned photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand. World resources such as cotton for jeans, tees and so many other clothing items, carbon fuels used to make the product and transport it by container ship to be purchased, materials used for packaging. Packaging plays a vital part in the selling process and sometimes costs more than the end product. For what purpose? Only than to make you think you need something you don’t!

Second hand stores to me provide a refreshing take on the way I would love things to be:

  1. No pressure to purchase as everything is post consumer cast offs – “One mans trash is another mans treasure”
  2. Cheery people around, staff are there for a cause and customers enjoy the excitement in what treasures could be lurking around the corner
  3. No packaging – carrier bags are donated also!
  4. The knowledge that the money you are about to spend will be put to good use, most charity shops have a single charity they support.
  5. Recycling & Upcycling – items are used and reused and might even do the cycle again. Isn’t this better than waisting resources and then burying it in the earth.

I have a two year old little girl who absolutely loves to play – what child doesn’t? Eabha has so many toys, books, games and everything else a child could want. Even though I am a mother who limits the amount of stuff she has it still gets out of control, especially around birthdays, Christmas etc. A benefit I find when using second hand shops is the ability to bring some no longer played with toys back and buy some more. Creating space in your home and getting Eabha used to sharing! A good scrubbing with Milton and the toys and books are good to go. Kids love helping out with the cleaning process and they earn the toy in the end of all the scrubbing!

Claire Lewis hopes you will support your local charity shops & thrift stores either by donations of items you no longer need or want or by purchasing you never know what you might find! Enjoy xx

(Some lovely examples of toys Eabha picked out on one such shopping trip)

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