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Secondhand clothes

Should I feel guilty for buying my kids secondhand school clothes? They’re in very good condition — no doubt donated by kids who have legitimately had no use for them anymore because they’ve grown or left the school. $2 per item, about 90% cheaper than buying new. Reduce, re-use, recycle, right? So I’m covering 2 Rs and saving money.

Yet because it’s not something I’ve tried before, I’ve got little pangs of guilt. But I’ve chucked them into the wash cycle and no doubt will have forgotten about it in a day or two, when everything’s mixed-up and nobody can tell what’s “new” and what isn’t.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

13 replies on “Secondhand clothes”

Hey! Why not feel guilty for:
* being a single parent
* sending your kids to a government school
* not taking your kids skiing in Vail every year
* not hiring the entire circus to perform for your kids’ birthday and
* not quitting your job so you can spend more time with them.
Mate, you are a lousy parent! DHS should take the kids away from ya!

Now, Daniel, surely you would not feel guilty if the clothes were handed down from an older sibling or cousin or child of a best friend? Surely it depends on the quality and fit of the clothes so the kids don’t feel awkward – but then at the start of a school year children often start in uniforms a little large to allow for growth. In other words, what on earth is there to feel guilty about? Second-hand uniforms and books have always been part of school life from generation unto generation.

No problem at all with second’s school clothes. We had a uniform shop that we almost always got our uniforms from. The one big exception was year 12 (form 6!) when you got a new blazer with your sporting colours on the pocket. Still got that blazer, and it still fits !!!

Heh. If I was to feel guilty about this, the impending twins would go around in about 3 outfits. We’ve got stacks of clothing sitting there waiting for them to need them, and they are mostly 2nd hand. Hand me downs from friends and friends of friends.
Who cares if they’ve been worn before. As long as they look good and the quality is there (ie no holes) what the heck. Recycling is a good thing!

There are a whole group of people who are trying NOT to buy anything new, so NOT buying second-hand clothes will make them (us) feel guilty. It’s all in the name of reducing the consumer “footprint” we leave in the planet. You should check out No Impact Man, The Compact and Freecycle!

Urm…no! Absolutely not. Given the rampant consumerism that abounds these days you are actually doing something worthwhile by re-using something that might otherwise be thrown away don’t you think?

(Now maybe they wouldn’t have been thrown away, because that’s a bit extreme and in all liklihood if it wasn’t you re-using them then someone else would, but it’s the principle that counts and I reckon it’s pretty great!)

Our little posum in the first of her generation in the whole extended family so that she only got a few hand-me-downs from our friends. However, as she gets older, we are collecting bags of stuff that is already too small for her and that will be passed on to either her as-yet-nonexistent siblings, cousins or, failing that, to a charity. Given how quickly kids grown out of their clothes it would be irresponsible not to recycle their clothing by having a few different kids wear each piece. It also makes good sense considering how the price of everything that is to be bought by parents for their children is automatically twice as high as it would be otherwise!

not at all! i dont think i ever wore a new school uniform in my entire 13 years in 10 different schools. i do remember my dad going to get my winter kilt and coming home with a skirt my mum had to take in about 6 sizes… apparently it was the cheapest one there!

the only piece of school clothing i got new was the windbreaker they sold when Mt Waverley High had some kind of 60th birthday or something… never wore it!

My 2 year old has bearly seen new clothes – he is the youngest by far within our family and friends and so he gets everyone’s handmedowns – including school uniforms that he wont see for another 3 years!! He also has a pile of 2nd hand toys – he doesnt know he difference!

Absolutely not! (Probably better for them in the long run too… I reckon it was for me & my siblings.)
And if they grumble at all, rephrase it as recycling and tell them they’re doing their bit for reducing landfill!

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