Pre-Loved or Pre-Owned

Pre-Loved or Pre-Owned

What goes through your mind when you hear the words “pre-loved” or “second hand”? Maybe you’re one of the moms who have been doing it for years, be it to save some money here and there, or to help preserve the planet or maybe you’re one of the moms who think “no thank you – not for me”. There really is no right or wrong here and I’ve been both – the mom who refused to buy pre-loved, because of personal fears, and the one who has bought pre-loved and loved it. A couple of weekends ago, I had a little poll up on my Instastories and I were pretty surprised with the results – more than 70% of the moms said that they either would or already do buy pre loved clothing for their children. Why is that you might wonder – although I’m sure each and every individual has their own personal reasons behind why they choose to either buy pre loved clothing or items or prefer not to, buying “pre-loved” items is actually beneficial in a number of ways – for both parents and the environment, but first:

Pre-loved vs Pre-owned                    

Is there a difference between the two terms or do they have the exact same meaning – an item that is not new and has been owned and used before? Personally, I find the two terms to be quite different, and that definition to be incredibly vague. To me, Pre-loved means items that are not new but have been loved and taken care of by the previous owners and are still in excellent or good condition, whereas pre-owned on the other hand means that the item has been well worn or  used and isn’t in a prime condition anymore.

I never really thought of buying pre-loved clothing for Aryan and except for the usual “hand me downs” from friends or family never really even knew that there is a market for second hand clothing or even household items. That is until about a month ago, when Aryan suddenly went through a growth spurt and the winter closet I updated and re stocked just before winter no longer fit him. I also noticed that the bigger he got, the smaller the sizes were getting (and the larger the price tag) and despite the fact of having a very average, even relatively petite 2 year old boy, I now had to buy clothing in sizes between 3-4 and even 4-5 years old. Re-stocking an already new closet can become quite expensive and then to just have him wear his very new “school tracksuit” for a single day and come home looking like he went through an earthquake, whirlwind and hurricane all in one day – how even? That’s when I decided to look into pre-loved and second hand clothing and I’m going to be bold and say it out loud – I am loving it.

I really only buy pre-loved items for Aryan for school with the odd exception of a toy here and there (if it’s worth it) with the main intention that I then have a little extra spending money to invest in something that he really wants or some more expensive clothing items for Church or weekend wear. These kids grow like weeds, not even to mention they really are little wild rascals who can make a R500 jersey or R800 pair of shoes look like something you picked up off the street within half an hour – so yes, right now Aryan’s closet contains a lot of PEP, ACKERMANS and JAM Clothing items – not only because they are affordable but because the quality really is impressive for the price you pay and I actually don’t mind if he feels like it’s a good day to roll around in the ground like a puppy or climb through fences and over walls because a dinosaur is chasing him, but I am slowly but surely adding some pre-loved items to his very “fancy” closet collection. Lets look at some pro’s and cons of buying second hand or “pre-loved” clothing and items:

Pros of buying pre-loved clothing or items:

1. You save a ton of money!

I recently bought Aryan a whole bag full of winter (mostly branded) clothing for a mere R150, including courier! With the clothing still in excellent to good condition, I saved around R400 on that bag alone! After a good wash they look as good as new and Aryan looks as stylish as ever! In fact, I have even received some compliments on his outfits from fellow moms who had no idea that the entire outfit cost me less than R100! I have also bought him a complete jungle gym for R300 pre-loved and it is still one of his most loved “toys” around the house. 

2. It is sustainable. 

So not only are you saving some money, you are also doing your share in saving our planet, or sustaining it at least. Through buying pre-loved clothing, you are recycling an unwanted piece of clothing that could otherwise just end up in a dumpster somewhere. Many pieces of clothing, especially those that are of good quality can last decades if it is treated and looked after well. Through buying pre-loved clothing we can also reduce the impact that the chemicals and dyes have on the water, the air and the people who work with those chemicals in the production of the item. Every little bit counts. 

3. When buying pre-loved you are supporting local small businesses, parents and even single moms.

A lot of the people (not all) selling pre-loved clothing or items are small home based businesses or desperate moms, trying to make ends meet with what they have. Others sell clothing or other items in order to buy new clothing or items for their own kids again, so your little goes a long way. 

4. Buying pre-loved can be more “humane”

Unless you already only buy from local small businesses, this is a topic to consider. A lot of the big fashion brands’ clothing are manufactured in poor countries, where workers are paid minimum wage and some of these “workers’ even include small children. We can help decrease this exploitation through buying pre-loved clothing and items. 

Cons of buying pre-loved clothing or items: 

1. You never really know what you’re going to get.

Unless you can take the time out of your day to actually go and view the clothing or items, you never really know what you’re going to get. It’s not always possible to 1. find the time to take the drive just to go view the items and 2. Drive to the person as they might be in another city, so 90% of the time we have to trust photos and we all know photos can be deceiving. You will need to do proper research to ensure that the items you are interested are not damaged and still in prime condition. 

2.It can be time-consuming. 

The market is much larger than you might think and “scoring” the bargains can become quite time consuming. You need to follow a post and “claim” an item as fast as possible, because it really is – you snooze, you lose. If you are not interested in buying online you need to take the time to drive to second hand markets, and then search through the different items to find something that you like. 

3.There are just some items that cannot or should not be bought pre-loved. 

Some of the items that are included on that list for me includes underwear and shoes. Both are a big no-no for me. 

4.Courier or delivery fees add to the cost.

Courier or delivery fees can add to the cost and quickly turn a “bargain” into a more expensive buy , therefore you need to know market prices and take every little thing into consideration when buying pre-loved. 

5. It can become tiring.

Pre-loved clothing need to be washed thoroughly before use and this can add to your already piling laundry load, but if you are anything like me and wash even newly bought clothes this really won’t make much of a difference to you. 

Some tips for when buying pre-loved clothing and items:

  1. Find a trusted online store or market, don’t just buy from anyone.
  2. When you do join a group on Facebook such as Destashalize, do your research before buying from that person. View their profile and analyze how they post their destash. Unfortunately, you do find scammers and chance takers, you will quickly see when someone is a worthy seller by the way they post their items (bringing attention to possible stains, tears or marks, etc.)
  3. Do your market research – make sure that the items being sold is not overprized (you do get chance takers who try to sell pre-loved items at their normal retail price or even push the price up). Take everything into consideration such as courier fees or delivery fees. I usually don’t buy pre-loved clothing if I feel like I could get the same item, brand new at that price at a sale in the normal retail store. It really needs to be a good deal.
  4. When you buy, try to buy in bulk and not a single piece at a time.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask questions – ask for more photos if the quality is not clear on the photo itself or the lightning is bad.
  6. Visit second hand markets in your area or even arrange a meeting with the seller to view the items or clothing if possible.
  7. Never claim items that you do not intend to pay for – we are all busy moms, lets respect each other. 

Some pre-loved clothing/goods stores/sites we love:

I actually love browsing through Facebook’s marketplace for items like toys, books and educational resources, but for clothing items I love the following sites/markets:

  1. Destashilize (turn notifications on as everything sells super fast) –
  2. Petit Fox –
  3. @kidslinked.cpt on Instagram – I’ve never bought from them myself, but I just love the fact that all proceeds go to feeding the homeless which is pretty amazing.
  4.  Baby Market usually has a big market day where you can go view and shop for all things pre-loved.  –

All-in-all I have never had a bad pre-loved shopping experience, but that might be because of my legendary detective skills (Joking), but I do make sure that when I buy from someone I look at everything to save myself the heartache of being scammed. I actually really enjoy buying pre-loved items and it is satisfying to know that my saving is eco-friendly, helps put an end to the exploitation of children and sewers in poor countries, and could help a single mom, small business or parent in need. 

Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want – Anna Lappe

5 Replies to “Pre-Loved or Pre-Owned”

  1. Megan Keith says:

    I work at a charity shop that sells only baby and kid related clothes and toys. We go through everything and if we feel it is not sellable, it goes in a pot outside our shop, which the community knows they can rummage through and take what they need out of it for free. I’ve found some gems for my Noah and even found the odd top or 2 for me! Megan xx

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