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How to Safely Shop for Second Hand Items

black top levis jeans bodysuit thrifting
A pair of vintage Levi’s that I scored at my local Goodwill


I absolutely love thrifting. It's kind of a hobby of mine. I shop everywhere from consignment shops to the Goodwill. Even though it is a blast and saves so much money, thrifting (arguably) has a bad rep for some people. The most common reason is, well, you have no idea what kind of environment these items came from. I totally get it and honestly I am still super cautious because of this. I’ve shared some of the precautions that I have learned to take from thrifting over the years. Up to this day I have not had a problem with infestations or anything yucky.


Leave items in the environment- I always leave the items in the baking hot or freezing cold environment for at least two days. I choose my car trunk. This way I can make sure that anything that may have been alive is no longer. This works the best on those scorching summer days or below freezing winter days. If it’s somewhere in between it may not be as effective. In that case I follow the next step.

Launder immediately-I either take the finds to the cleaners or wash in very hot water as soon as I bring them inside. It kind of freaks me out to think about mixing our dirty but clean laundry with outside items. I hope that made sense.

Dry on the hottest setting- this is self explanatory and pretty much goes with leaving the treasures in the heat.  Sometimes I dry the item more than once.

Choose what you purchase wisely- there are only a few categories of items that I will actually purchase second hand. My personal preference is small items that I can launder quickly and be done. I think that's saved a lot of hassle in the long run. 

Don’t, just don’t try on clothes in store- I know clothing items are usually non refundable but just think of the pros and cons here. Would you rather waste a few dollars or risk putting on something dirty/transferring something to yourself or your clothes. Try them on after washing and alter or pass the item down if needed.

Lastly, have fun! It’s like treasure hunting.


Thank you so much for reading. I hope this helped you get a little closer to exploring the secondhand world if you are on the fence.

Have a great week,

C. Kelley


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