A beginner’s guide to shopping second hand

With the rise of second- hand shopping, Charlotte Airey gives us tips on how to finesse the system.

Charlotte Airey
25th March 2021
I love shopping second hand, and since 1st lockdown, apart from the odd trip to Urban Outfitters, I pretty much shop 100% second hand wherever I can. I’ve always popped into charity shops and picked up a few bits here and there, but where I really struck gold was on my beloved fave, Depop.

I had been selling on Depop for a while but had never really bought anything, and since last March I’ve bought way too many items; I just counted, and yikes. However, the good news for you is that I’ve got to be considered an expert at this point. Here are my top tricks for buying second hand off Depop and any other buying and selling platforms.

My first tip is to know what you are looking for. With second-hand shopping in real life, Depop, Vinted or eBay, if you don’t have a particular item in mind, it’s doubtful you’ll find anything you want. Keywords are super helpful as well, so as opposed to typing in ‘yellow skirt’ be more specific, ‘vintage y2k 90s yellow midi skirt’ will show you items that have those words in their description. Something else that is important to pop in here, is that people describe items differently. If your search for a lace-up top for example is not coming up with anything you like, try ‘tie up’ or ‘strappy’ etc.

With second-hand shopping in real life, Depop, Vinted or eBay, if you don’t have a particular item in mind, it’s doubtful you’ll find anything you want.

The second tip is to flick through people’s pages! If a particular seller has items you love, chances are, their ‘likes’ will be full of stuff you love, as will the pages they follow! With Depop you’ve got to really go in deep and dedicate a decent chunk of time to finding something: you can’t expect it to just appear on your home page! So don’t feel ashamed in having a decent look through everyone’s pages.

With Depop you’ve got to really go in deep and dedicate a decent chunk of time to finding something: you can’t expect it to just appear on your home page! So don’t feel ashamed in having a decent look through everyone’s pages.

Another one, which is a big tip, is to look out for sellers who just bulk buy items off Aliexpress and resell for 3x the price. Not only is the quality going to be less than ideal, but you’re basically getting scammed, and you could buy the items for around £5.

If you aren’t sure what you exactly want, click on different brands and just have a scroll through. I do this a lot of the time but if you know you want an item from a particular brand, or just know you like their clothes, if you have a look at what everyone is selling from that brand you will find something you like! A top tip is when you are on the brand page, sort by most recent in order to find stuff for super cheap, as the ‘most relevant' stuff has just been posted for a while.

Something that is super important is buying through the app. Most second-hand shopping places allow for buying through them, or PayPal. This is so you have buyer’s protection and can get a refund! Don’t bank transfer people, as there is no protection, and you could just end up losing money.

Finally, patience is key if you are second-hand shopping in real life, or online. It takes time and effort and isn’t something that is super easy! Patience is paramount.

featured image: instagram @depop

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AUTHOR: Charlotte Airey
Politics Student @ NCL Uni

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