Is buying used gross?

by Cath

“Buying used is gross”.

I’ve heard this so many times and I want to share my opinion about this sentence. I’ve already discussed several times with other people but I feel like the stigma is still there, even I have issues trying to convince people who are close to me to buy used.

One thing I can say for sure: every day we’re exposed to things that have been used by other people.

Sofas – how many times have been you sitting on a sofa that isn’t yours? In a waiting room, in a store, at the cinema or in a hotel? I dare to say, at least once in your life.

You’ve surely already eaten in a restaurant where you were eating with cutlery that already person already ate with.

Or if you’ve already slept in a hotel, you’ve slept in a mattress and sheets that someone else already slept too.

“But when I go to those places, everything is washed!”

I wash everything that I buy second hand, even if it smells super nice. You’ll do the same.

OK, but why should I buy stuff that’s used and ruined?

A lot of the bad rep that buying second hand gets, it’s related to the fact that a lot of people think that buying used ends up being things with less quality or ruined somehow.

Or as a coworker told me once: “clothes that smell like pee”.

Not true at all.

Every day, a lot of stuff in great condition, or even new, is being thrown out. Saving them from the garbage and saving money at the same time, doesn’t it sound wonderful?

Obviously, there is a lot of bad and ruined stuff out there, but there is also pretty amazing stuff.
Maybe to convince yourself, you only need to look at your own reality, how many items have you donated that you only ended up wearing once or twice?

But I like to buy quality pieces

Buying second hand helped me find my style, why? Because it allowed me to buy something that I’d never buy new because of its price.

If you like to buy quality pieces and you don’t have a lot of money, buying used is the answer for you.

Most of the pieces, from clothes to other types of items, are pretty much always at least half the price.

I’ve found several times things with their tag – imagine getting new clothes for half their amount!

If you appreciate high quality items, you’ll get your money’s worth by buying second hand.

Me happily wearing my second hand denim jacket and second hand skirt

Me happily wearing my second hand denim jacket and second hand skirt

What will other people think of me?

Fortunately, my friends and family don’t comment on my choices on buying used.

They might not want to buy second hand or think it’s gross but they have never judged me for buying used. My boyfriend, for example, never buys second hand clothes.

But I also don’t give people the opportunity to judge me. I talk about buying second hand proudly and not with shame.

For example, if we’re talking about buying second hand clothes and I’m wearing something that I bought used, I’ll immediately say: look at this dress, it cost me 5€ and it’s gorgeous, I use it so often!

Showing to people helps them understand, especially when they see a good quality dress that fits me well.

I’m sure that they give it a second thought, ah buying used is not wearing something full of stains after all.

You don’t need to be ashamed of buying second hand

You’re saving money

For experiences or other things that you love – I like to save money to travel more – it means that you’re prioritizing more important aspects of your life, it doesn’t mean you’re inferior just because you’re buying used

You’re being more eco-friendly

You’re participating in a circular economy, fighting against consumption and advocating that materials need to be used entirely before being thrown in the trash

You’ve unique items

When you shop second hand, you end up finding things that you can no longer buy at “regular” stores, so you end up having a unique home and personal style

Having said that, buying second hand is a choice that is yours and yours alone, you don’t need to talk about it.

I do it because I want to make people aware of sustainable ways to consume, but you can also decide to buy second hand and not mention it to anyone.
No one will know if you’re buying used unless you tell them.

But there are still things that I don’t want to buy used

Just because you buy more used stuff doesn’t mean that everything that you buy from now on will be used.

You’re making a conscious decision of buying more used items but it doesn’t mean that you change overnight and everything that you buy is used.

I don’t believe in being extremist in any part of my life but I believe that preaching to people and saying “you’ve to buy everything used” will deter anyone from trying.

If you’ve never bought anything used, I recommend you to start with simple items, like books and bags.

If there are items that you’d rather not buy used, don’t force yourself. Give it time, start with something that you don’t really mind and slowly build up to other items.

For example, I buy a lot of stuff used but I could never buy a used mattress because I’m terrified of having bed bugs at home.

How to clean stuff bought second hand

Like I said above, I like to clean everything that I buy. Let me share with you how I clean them.


I don’t clean them, if they’re dusty I’ll use a wet cloth around the book to remove it.


I clean it with my normal load of clothes, there’s always disinfectant in each load – since I wash my clothes in a laundromat, the disinfectant is included in the wash.

If it needs a bit more care, I’ll wash it in a separate load with a higher temperature to guarantee that everything is disinfected and clean.

Home goods

I clean with a cloth with dish soap (and diluted bleach if needed) and let it dry.

Kitchenware (pans, plates, etc.)

I carefully wash everything with hot water and dish soap. If it needs a bit more cleansing, I clean them with diluted bleach.

OK! I’m convinced, where do I start?

Take a look at my buying used for beginners guide.

Do you consider buying used gross?

Let me know in the comment section below!

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