Closing the loopSlow fashionThriftingVintage

Shopping pre-loved: these are the tips and tricks I use

Shopping pre-loved: these are the tips and tricks I use
By Renoon

Eleonore Binns is a 22 year old recent graduate with a passion for second hand clothing. She currently manages a charity shop selling second hand goods and preloved items as well as a Depop page for the charity. She is featured in our blog monthly to share with you her love for secondhand clothes, small sustainable brands and any tips and tricks she has learned on her own sustainable fashion journey. 

Hey, I’m back: this is Eleanor! After telling you a bit more about me and what sustainable fashion means to me as a passionate second-hand seller, I thought I’d share with you a few of my favourite tips that I use when shopping secondhand.

Tips and tricks to shop second hand with Eleonor Binns

If you’re a thrifty lover like me then you’ll probably know all the tricks of the trade. However, despite shopping secondhand for a good few years, I’m still adding to my knowledge bank. I hope you find these useful.

#1 I make a list for obvious reasons

Tips and tricks to shop second hand with Eleonor Binns
Eleonore on second hand shopping

When I first started shopping in charity shops, I would feel overwhelmed from the sheer amount of bargains to be found! I would quite often buy more than what I needed and these items then sat unloved in the bottom of my wardrobe.

Now before I hit up any charity shops, I always make a list of all the things to ensure I can get as much wear out of the clothes I already own. So why not spend ten minutes writing a list to avoid the overbuying temptation?

#2 I double check with my wardrobe

Tips and tricks to shop second hand with Eleonor Binns
Eleonore’s outfits

I highly recommend taking a peak inside your wardrobe prior to any secondhand shopping trips. I tend to do this regularly anyway to make sure I am wearing and using all my clothes. Looking at your wardrobe will show you what you wear most, what colours you gravitate towards, what items are missing in your wardrobe or what you have too many of.

For me, I wear lots of bright coloured clothes, so taking time to actually assess my wardrobe before shopping ensures that I am not over purchasing a particular colour (pink is my downfall!) and if an item will match multiple clothes I already own.

#3 I make sure I know where I am going

Tips and tricks to shop second hand with Eleonor Binns
Eleonore in her Jakkeldn coat

In the past, I have made the mistake of visiting new places and not knowing where the nearest thrift shops are. This meant walking aimlessly whilst irritably following google maps in an attempt to locate different vintage stores – not ideal in rainy England. To prevent this situation from happening, I try to look up where I want to visit in advance. This will save you time and prevent you from wandering into fast fashion shops!

This also works on the online: on Renoon you can keep track of multiple vintage webshops at once, like Beyond Retro or Serendipity Vintage.

#4 I know my measurements

Tips and tricks to shop second hand with Eleonor Binns
Eleonore on sustainable fashion

Many a time have I been fooled by a beautiful vintage jumper to only find out that today’s size 12 UK does not correlate to a vintage size 12 (*sobs*). Often vintage clothing runs on the smaller size and you can never be too sure how small this may be! To prevent this happening to you (the heartbreak is real), make sure to know your measurements in advance of shopping. If you don’t feel comfortable measuring yourself, you can always take them from your favourite clothes that fit you well.

Tips and tricks to shop second hand with Eleonor Binns
Second hand shopping with Eleonore Binns

When shopping, borrow a tape measure – most charity shops have these for customers to use or ask your neighbor if you are buying online. This way, you can ensure an item will fit you before buying. Also when buying secondhand online, always ask the seller for measurements if they are not written in the description.

#5 I avoid searching for hours by being specific

Second hand shopping with Eleonore Binns

Shopping secondhand online can be overwhelming and simply searching a generic term such as ‘stripy top’ can bring up thousands of listings. I find this is off-putting and it has made me stop looking in the past. This is why it is important to be specific in your search as you will get better results.


You can use the filter option to refine your search and that way you will only be shown the most relevant garments. If you know what you’re looking for, for instance a particular brand or style, you will be in a much better position than having a vague and unfiltered search and hopefully you will be more successful!

I hope these tips are useful to anyone wanting to shop secondhand. Let me know over at @eleanormargaret_ if you have any useful secondhand shopping tips and as always, happy thrifting!

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