04/09/2014 10:00 EDT | Updated 06/09/2014 05:59 EDT

Six Reasons to Second-Hand Shop

Resale shopping is more popular than ever.It's a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States, and the choice of resale stores is growing quickly across Canada. Television shows like Storage Wars, American Pickers and Pawn Star celebrate the treasure hunt of resale shopping. Across all age groups, more people are buying used clothing, children's items and home decor for six reasons.

1. The stigma of buying used clothing and accessories is dead.

I've been buying resale for 15 years, and whatever stigma existed even five years ago is officially dead. The majority of resale shoppers don't have to buy resale, they want to.

A group of female doctors all earning six-figure incomes introduced me to buying resale. They bought used children's clothes and equipment for their babies because they liked to spend less for high quality brands and felt that it was good for the environment.

In the past few years, baby boomer grandparents in droves have taken to buying resale children's items. Children's resale stores are full of grandparents outfitting the second nursery and filling their home with toys and books to keep the grandkids occupied. And when it comes to buying items for themselves, Kijiji, E-Bay, Amazon and even Facebook buy/sell groups have further popularized buying nearly anything resale. It's a proud moment for most people to say, "I bought it used and saved 50-70%!"

Thank-you Macklemore for your catchy "Thriftshop" tune for further beating the dead horse.

2. It's a fun and entertaining treasure hunt.

Regular resale shoppers say it's all about the thrill of the hunt. You never know what you are going to find, but you can be sure there will be lots of deals. The best resale stores in North America are seen as destinations, and vacations are planned for the shopping experience. Bus tours are organized for resale shopping stores in cities like St. Louis, New York City and Atlanta.

Regular resale shoppers tell me that they are addicted and that they visit their favorite resale stores a few times a week.

3. The selection is gigantic.

Resale stores accept anything from anywhere that is desirable, in style and in good condition. You can expect to find hundreds or even thousands of brands. Thanks to ecommerce purchases from abroad, and globe-trotting tourists, high-end European and Asian brands can be found in Canadian resale stores. What other retail store offers such a broad selection?

4. Babies and young children don't know the difference.

Depending upon your own little fashionista, kids don't show a preference for new versus used until they are six or seven years old. Used toys have less packaging and already come assembled with working batteries. More people are buying used clothes and toys for kids' birthdays and Christmas.

5. They won't shrink or fade.

What you see is what you get. A used clothing item has already shrunk and faded. If it's a perfect fit now, it will be a perfect fit after the next wash. Used designer jeans, all broken in and soft are a best kept secret of resale stores.

6. It helps to stretch our budgets.

Most resale clothing, kids' equipment and home décor stores price items at 50% -70% off the original retail price. If the item is new, or less than 3 years old, and is also in hot demand, resale stores will price it higher, maybe 20% off the original price. At any rate, you are getting a deal. Resale shoppers stretch their budget by trying to buy the item them want resale first. I see parents in resale stores at the change of season with a list of needs for their kids. They get as much as they can used, and then buy the rest new to fill in the gaps.

One mom recently told me that she and her friends buy resale items for their kids so that they can justify buying new items for themselves. My kids have also caught on, and realize they can get the most desirable school-girl brands on their birthday money budgets.


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