My Year Shopping Secondhand First

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With the end of the year just 11 days away, I’m pretty pumped to report I kept my New Year’s Resolution this year! Maybe for the first time ever? For 2018, I set a goal of only shopping second hand first with a few exceptions. That’s right - no mindless $100 Target checkouts, no more Nordstrom sale, none of it!

The real push behind this change was wanting to get as far away as possible from my old blog, What I Wore. Creating near daily content for 10 years took a huge toll on my wallet and although I wore and re-wore my clothes all the time, I still bought a lot. A lot more than I needed. I genuinely liked my clothes, but how many pairs of jeans do you need? How many coats or striped shirts? Olive jackets? I’ve always bought things that had a timeless appeal and I’m happy to report that nothing went out of style in one year’s time. I’m still wearing the same pair of Rag + Bone booties, Lee Jeans (LOVE THEM) and self knit sweaters. The one thing that does need retired? My old Anna Maria sweatshirt (as seen in a million of my instagram stories). That thing is ratty AF.

I think the reason this resolution worked is because it was something I truly wanted to do, not something I should do. If you’re not fully committed, it’s probably not time to start something you’re not 100% keen on.

Exceptions to the Rule

Of course, there were exceptions. I bought myself two new bras after I completed 16 months of breast feeding and my size changed. I purchased three pair of Thinx undies in hopes I could turn my cycle into a no waste experiment (jury’s still out on them. They are great for light days but I probably need a few more pair to feel like I’m not constantly washing and hanging them up to dry).

And there were some new additions to my closet as gifts. A pair of 18th century shoes care of my mom, a few pieces from my MIL and a jacket and tee shirt from my husband.

I don’t count fabric for sewing my own clothes against my purchasing habits so my whole 1780s look fell into the parameters of my resolution too.

As for my kids - they get almost 90% of their clothes from the grandmas - a mix of new and second hand. Everything I buy them (minus socks and undies) is from a kid’s resale shop called Once Upon a Child. So many of the things there are never worn or maybe worn a few times and in like new condition. This goes for their boots, snow gear and coats too!

In my home I also focused on second hand first. I did this bedroom makeover without buying anything first hand and my sunroom was completed last year without any 2018 decorative purchases (but the rugs and one new chair were bought new in 2017). Some have asked about construction supplies - those are usually new too. When i can find an old light fixture I’ll use it (like in the laundry room), but in some places where 5 lights are needed (like the lighting in the sunroom), you just have to get new.

So what about 2019?

I’m still committed to second hand first (here’s how I normally attack a thrift shop), but in 2019, I’d like to go a step further by sewing my own clothes. I have some denim I want to make into overalls and I’d like to try making a bathing suit (and I already have that fabric too!). This might be the year I try to make my own bras (why not?) or maybe a grey sweatshirt (I’ve never sewn knits, but if I like it, maybe I’ll make tee shirts too?) I found a new to me fabric store in Adam’s home town and I think it’s going to help make all of my sewing dreams a reality. It might cost me more, but designing and sewing my own pieces is one of my favorite things to do. I won’t skip an amazing vintage piece from the thrifts, but my days of Target shopping sprees are over.

Was it hard? No! We have great thrift stores in town and if I’m not in a hurry to get something, it will eventually show up (I’m looking at you, donut pan!). I’m also a person that loves hunting and digging. It’s like I can scan the junk and the treasures just pop out at me! Also: I love a bargain. It was a great experiment and I’m so happy I’ve changed my shopping habits!

What are you resolving to change in 2019?