Incorporating the Simple Living Review, the Preparedness & Self-Reliance Review, as well as the Outdoor & Survival Review

Buying Used Clothing

Why and How to Buy Used Clothing

A lot of frugal folks won't think twice about buying used clothing, from garage sales to thrift stores, but there are some who wouldn't dream of wearing 'somebody else's old clothes'.

There are two reasons people don't want to buy used. One is pride, often known as conceit, as in 'I'm too good to wear used clothing!' These people often have an awesome array of credit cards, and as often, not much real money.

The other is squeamishness. 'Eww... wear something that once belonged to someone I don't even know?? What if they had some awful disease...' These people also take their own sheets and towels when they travel, not wanting to use those from the motel that someone else has used before. They never rent skates, either.

The best reason for buying used clothing is often our budgets, but that isn't the only reason. Most of us are not in such bad shape that we can't afford to buy something new now and then. It just doesn't make sense to - not when you can buy three or four somethings 'newish' with the same money and have a better choice!

It's not at all like shopping at a retail store, with it's racks of same style clothing in limited colors and often in limited sizes. At a second hand store, there's not much telling what you can find! People who are unusual sizes often go to big cities to shop or shop from specialty (read 'expensive') catalogs, then sell or give away their old clothing. People with lots of money (or those who just pretend to have lots of money) often buy clothing from several sources and discard 'old' clothing on a regular basis. You can be the benefit of that.

Don't go with a specific style and color in mind, but do go with a list of what you need. Look ahead, too, and be alert to good buys on things you'll need in the future - children's next-size clothing or seasonal furnishings, perhaps maternity clothing or baby items.

Write down clothing and shoe sizes for everyone in your family as well as color and style preferences. Be specific as to what they need. It's not frugal to buy a third white shirt for your little boy, especially if he only wears one a couple of times a year.

You may not find exactly what you're looking for the first time you go to a thrift store or hit the garage sales, but you will eventually. To get the most out of second hand shopping, you need to go often, but you don't buy anything at all if you don't see what you're looking for. You won't save any money if you buy a sackful of junk and things you don't need every time you go, but you won't save either, if you miss that perfect dress or baby outfit because you weren't there.

If you go used clothing shopping at a garage sale especially, wear snugly fitting clothing so you can slip a shirt on to check the sizes or wrap a skirt around your waist to see if it fits.

Zero in on the garage sales most likely to have what you want. A garage sale in a retirement community is highly unlikely to have children's clothing or toys and a community filled with scooters and basketball hoops very likely won't be selling Grandma's handkerchiefs with tatted edgings.

Pay attention to details, whether you shop at garage sales or in a second hand store. Zippers, buttons, tears, ripped seams and pockets and stains may not stop you from buying the item, but the seller should adjust the price for these problems. Many of them can be fixed easily, but be aware of them before you buy and decide whether you want to fix them or not.

Keep an eye out for the occasional sale at a thrift store. That's the time to find material for that quilt you want to make, or the rag rug, or to make other clothing from. It's the time to stock up on undershirts for cold weather (they don't have to be plain white!) and anything else you might need.

Most garage sales are held near the end of the week and/or over the weekend, but it's best to shop the thrift stores during the week. Weekend crowds in the local Salvation Army or Goodwill store can be pretty heavy and make it hard to look through everything.
Consider the time you spend shopping this way to be an investment. One or two trips, or one or two stores or garage sales, won't necessarily have the things you're looking for, but the merchandise changes constantly. Every other week is a good schedule for thrift store shopping and a tight fist is the best policy.

Be sure of the quality of the item and your need for it and you'll win, every time.

Most, if not indeed all of my clothes, with the exception of my uniform, socks and underwear, are bought at Charity Shops, Goodwill Stores, Car Boot Sales, Garage Sales, and the like. $85 boots for $8, a $110 Australian Outback collection jacket for $15, and $65 Bush hat for $2 and so on…

I shall be talking about "thrift shopping", incl. "roadside shopping" in future post on this publication.

© M. V. Smith, March 2006

Product Review - LED Lenser V8 Turbo

LED Lenser (Photon pump) V8 Turbo

Product Details:

Crystal reflector tube system. LED Lensers reflector tubes are lined with Italian crystal and precisely shaped to "pump up" the light produced by the LED for a broader, more powerful beam.
High intensity light chip.
24-carat gold contacts - gold is a superior electrical conductor, which minimizes energy lost at the contact points and maximizes energy that goes into light production.
Solid metal casings - most competitors have plastic.
High Wattage LEDs - LED Lenser uses only the highest wattage and the finest quality LEDs. We laboratory test our lights to determine precise milliwatt output.
Batteries included 4 x AG13.
Length: 7cm.
Weight: 38 grams
Lifetime guarantee.

Price: approx. GBP 9.99
Agents in the UK: Ledco Ltd.

Manufacturers: Zweibr├╝der Optoelectronics GmbH

The "Photon pump" V8 Turbo is a small but extremely powerful miniature flashlight of the LED Lenser Optoelectronics range. Seeing that my own example was not a sample but was given to me as a FREE gift at a tool and DIY exhibition for attending I was, obviously, wondering as to what quality this would indeed be, as, let's admit it, most advertising gifts are not necessarily quality and I must say that I am extremely surprised. Obviously the little light is the standard product with the exception that, in my case, it bears the logo of the exhibitions it was to commemorate.

The light of the flashlight is to powerful that the warning not to look directly into the light is something that should definitely be heeded. I did not heed it and I had problems with my vision for a while after. Self-inflicted injury for sure and as the warnings were clearly visible on the package I had no one to blame for it by my own stupidity. According to the "fact sheet" the light is visible for 2,000 meters and though not having tested it I do not doubt it in the least as indoors and out it outshines a seven-LED flashlight of mine.

The body - small as it is - is of solid metal, is galvanized, so it appears, and I must say that I was rather surprised as to the weight of this little device.

Featured in the Frankfurt Museum for modern Art and a winner of two prestigious design plus awards, the V8 turbo is a design classic. Shook proof and water resistant. The innovative LED light chip lasts for up to 100,000 hours making this the ultimate key ring accessory.

If all of the flashlights produced by Zweibr├╝der Optoelectronics in Germany, who are behind LED Lenser, are of the same quality as this little light that was given to me by a representative of the British agents at the show mentioned then one cannot go wrong investing in one or more of their flashlights.

This small little light designed, theoretically, to be carried as a key ring attachment, really packs an unbelievable punch as regards to brightness and distance of beam and does make an ideal small light to add to anyone's survival kits and such. The only disadvantage, I guess, is the fact that the batteries are not one of the common garden variety but rather button batteries of the type mentioned in the specifications. However, the little unit given to me not only came fitted with a set of batteries but had a spare set included in the blister pack as well. That should at least provide somewhere in the region of 500 hours of light.

Reviewed by Michael Veshengro Smith ©