The good, bad and ugly of preloved shopping

The good, bad and ugly of preloved shopping

Sort the good from the bad and ugly when buying secondhand and preloved clothes with this handful of fast tips:

1. Pick your time. A change of season is when people usually have a clean out of their wardrobes – there are generally great bargains to be had. You’ll also find some terrific bargains at clothing markets by visiting an hour before everyone starts packing up. Stallholders don’t want to take their clothes home with them! And, on days with inclement weather, or on blistering hot summer days, stallholders don’t want to lug their collections back to their cars so are likely to be more open to negotiation and can offer (like 3 for 2… etc) great deals!

2. Pick your area. On the one hand, out-of-town community markets may have particularly good bargains, whilst at city markets near more affluent suburbs you might just find some amazing designer or ordinarily-too-expensive-to-justify labels going for a song.

3. Think outside the box. Find out what’s happening in your area. Pick up clothes from fetes, garage sales, op shops, consignment shops, car boot sales, vintage shops, clothing markets, and swaps and friends. 

4. Scan. If you get overwhelmed with the quantity of collections and stalls, try scanning. Know what piece is missing from your wardrobe and look for that black fitted T or infinity scarf. Focus on finding particular colours that you know suit you or patterns and fabrics that pop. This way you’ll get to traverse a market more quickly and effectively.

5. Buy it right, buy it once. Having an eye for quality is key to scoring great unique pieces. A classic designer trench, tweed jacket or handbag may be something you can’t afford new, but it will always be in style. Apply the thought… ‘I’m too poor to buy cheap’.

6. Take style risks. If there is a new trend you’ve been eyeing but not sure if it’s you, buying it secondhand is the perfect way to give it a go.

7. Don’t be afraid to haggle. Most stallholders at markets just want to see a little money back from their initial investment; this puts you in the perfect place to have some convivial fun haggling. This form of haggling is usually reserved for markets. Bargain with a smile yields the most successful results, but don’t start too low.

8. Go with an open mind. If you don’t mind the slow wander and the market’s open for a few hours (and you’ve nowhere to be in a hurry) keep your options open and don’t be specific about what you’re hunting for – you’ll likely find gems.

9. Prepare to rummage. If you have the time, have patience. There’s so much fun in rummaging through over-stuffed racks and bargain baskets. Look for fabrics that catch your eye.

10. One in, one out. When you buy something new, pass on a no-longer-loved piece – simple as that.

11. Always try it on. Sizes vary widely between brands and eras, and the label won’t always tell you what you want to know. If it looks like it fits, give it a try.

12. Inspect it. Missing buttons or a small tear can be tidied up. If that’s not for you, though don’t be tempted unless it a must-have piece. There are local seamstresses that will do their magic even if it adds a few dollars to the bargain. It’s likely to be well worth it in the long run.

13. Upcycle it. Seen something amazing that you can’t live without, take it to a local seamstress and they’ll revitalise it to create your unique piece. It’ll most probably still be much cheaper than buying the piece new.

14. Look for vintage. Clothing from the 60s and 70s hold their value and were often well made. You can release your inner wild hippy or stick to classics. They’re great for onselling too once you’ve had your fun!

15. Go online. Facebook buy/sell groups, eBay and Gumtree are fertile ground for secondhand clothing.

16. Get clothes swapping. A group of friends, a bottle of bubbles or two and a bit of a laugh…perfect for a clothes swap. Bring all the clothes you haven’t worn in a while and use this as your currency or collateral to swap for someone else’s unwanteds. Anything left can be donated or sold at a market stall.

Adapted from an article by Penelope Quinn, Lifestyle.

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Gearing up for market day: when you’re running out of time

Gearing up for market day: when you’re running out of time

Your chest of drawers is still bulging and you are nowhere near closing in on a really serious clothing declutter. But, market day is looming.  Count down has begun…7 sleeps to go! Yikes!

Stay calm and go quick-fix
Exclamations might run through your head..why did I say I’d do this, why did I think I could do this (no doubt peppered with some colourful swear words!). but you know you’ll have fun once you get sorted and lighten your unwanted clothing load. So, try a quick-fix approach to get started – try a declutter in bite-sized chunks. For your first market, start small but specific.

Easy pickings
Pick out 15-20 preloved items – clothing, handbags, shoes, hats, belts and the such like. Bear in mind that preloved clothing market stalls are more successful if they’re 80:20 or even 90:10 clothing to accessories. Mostly choose pieces that are at the upper end of your quality preloved collection. Tag them from $20 to $30. (Next time, you can move onto your $10 and $15 items).


Is this you in the mornings?

Safety in numbers
Call a friend. Persuade (cajole, beg) them to do the same. Maybe they call a friend (or you call a second). Now two or three of you have joining forces – and between you, you’ll have collected up at least 30 to 45 items = a decent start-up rack or table of goodies. And, if you share the cost of a $40 stall, the 4-hour market day is shaping up to be one of minimal outlay each for what promises to be a good little earner. And you’ll get to share the load, the experience and the fun with friends!

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That darned wardrobe!

That darned wardrobe!

It’s daunting.  Picture this…

Every morning, racing to keep up because the day is happening all around you. You need to get out the door, still in your pj’s but don’t know what to wear. The weather doesn’t help because it’s chilly right now, but it’s very likely to warm up – or could it snow? (after all, this is Hobart!).

You fling open your wardrobe doors and you’re instantly neck deep, arms flailing as you rummage through, impatiently pushing aside that gorgeous dress you’ll never wear again (how was my waist ever that small?), flicking past those red pants that aren’t ‘my colour’ anymore, and pausing momentarily to (guiltily) contemplate finally wearing that skirt you bought on a whim (it’s bound to go with something, surely….). Then, glancing at the clock, you curse under your breath as you frantically toss it across the floor. With an exasperated sigh, you resign yourself to chucking on that safe and comfortable favourite…again.

And, then, you’re off. But as you swipe up your keys, you swear to yourself that you WILL sort that wardrobe out this weekend and have done with the daily chaos of it all! That was me most days.

Sound familiar? So, the weekend rolls around (much too fast this time) and your bulging wardrobe beckons (coat tails and scarves tauntingly sticking out door cracks, refusing to be tamed).

But where to start? This is equally daunting. 

Here’s my quick and easy 7 step approach to taming your wardrobe.
Step 1 Delay tactics – make a cuppa.
Step 2 Stand staring at the open wardrobe, and whilst sipping on the cuppa, contemplate what’s in its deep dark depths
Step 3 Decide on your motivation
Mine was two-fold: to reduce the clutter and make some dollars to refresh my wardrobe (whilst recouping something on those spontaneous over-spends)
Step 4 Get serious.
Step 5 Do a quick first sweep (don’t be tempted to try anything on, just place in six piles)

Keep. Keep, with some alteration or mending. Maybe. Donate. Throw. Sell.

For many, even making these ‘cull’ decisions can be hard – and that’s a whole other conversation for another day.

Step 6 Have a break, maybe another cuppa (and a chocolate biscuit this time – for the energy to go on, you understand), or take the dog for a walk (oh, wait, I don’t have a dog…but, of course, you might), or go for a brisk walk on the local beach.
Step 7 Back at it – second sweep – revisit the piles in more detail, maybe trying on, but be ruthless!

Keep. Really, absolutely – I wear it often, it will be great for the upcoming dinner/meeting/Christmas party or whatever … If it’s none of that – move it along to another pile.

Keep, with some alteration or mending. Maybe…actually, I’ll never get around to it. Move it along.

Maybe. Nope, I’ve said ‘maybe’ too many times. Move it along.
Donate. Is it good enough to donate or is it pretty worn out/marked/damaged? Over it goes to the ‘throw’ pile.
Throw. Pretty straightforward – but consider recycling first – can it be used as rags, etc.?
Sell. Here’s where preloved clothing markets come in!

Gearing up (excuse the pun!) to sell your preloved clothing.
How I started was by selling some items on eBay – still do and love it. It started off as time consuming and there’s a bit of setting up before it becomes a quick, easy and smooth operation. Mavis the mannequin comes in very handy for this exercise. I’ll present a quick and easy process in another conversation. But always consider, there’s bound to be something that you may want more for than you might get at a preloved market, and eBay can be just the place.

Over the years, I’d sold bits and pieces at markets and garage sales – usually alongside other household goods or knick-knacks. Most of us probably have. But now I wanted to seriously turn my ‘fash into cash’ .


So, one day I dusted down my two clothes racks and assembled them (after the obligatory rummaging around for all the necessary bits and bolts – I always think I’ll remember where I put ‘that thing’. But who am I kidding these days!)? And, ready to go, I did a test run of hanging up all the items in my ‘sell’ pile. Stress-free prep for a preloved market stall.. yet another conversation.

Once the ‘sell’ items were hung on both racks, I found I had an amazing collection of clothes for sale! And after a few ‘oooh, that’s fab, maybe I willkeep it’ false starts, I re-grounded myself (by revisited my motive) and looked up local preloved clothing markets. Then, before getting cold feet, I immediately signed up for a stall. As market day approached, I got washing, ironing and tagging. I thankfully had the terrific help of my very enthusiastic entrepreneurial teen daughter, who, amongst other things, volunteered to write up an extensive inventory! Ready to go…

Away we went and haven’t looked back!

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