Thrifting safely during the COVID19 pandemic

by Cath

Our lives have changed a lot since the beginning of the pandemic. While the virus is still out there, a lot of countries are trying their best to go back to a new normal. A normal that means keeping social distancing and sanitizing our hands multiple times a day, but that’s what we as humans do: adapt.

For that reason, I have decided to share with you a couple of tips to thrift safely in this “new normal”. Feel free to hate this expression, I kinda like it because it has the world “normal” in it: if it’s normal it’s good, am I right?

Wear a mask

While wearing a mask may not keep you from getting COVID-19, it can help lower the odds.

Masks are meant to protect not only you but the people around you from respiratory droplets. If you have COVID-19 but don’t have symptoms, wearing a mask can prevent others from getting it from you.

So wear your mask, for everyone’s safety.

Keep your social distance

Try to keep away from other people who are shopping in the thrift shops and flea markets. Social distancing is the best-proven way to prevent the spread of the virus and, while it can be harder to keep distance in smaller shops, try your best to avoid person-to-person contact.

Disinfect your hands when arriving and leaving

If you have COVID-19 in your hands when you enter a store, by sanitizing your hands, you’re avoiding viruses to enter the store. If everyone wears a mask and does this, the odds of the virus existing in the store are slimmer.

By sanitizing your hands when you leave, you’re keeping you safe if you had contact with the virus.

me using a mask in a second hand store looking at the clothes

Wash your hands when arriving at your home

You’ve been out and about, so wash your hands. I have been doing this ever since the whole COVID-19 pandemic started, regardless of whether I enter a store or just go outside. It was an easy habit to implement and, this way, you can lower your chances of getting COVID-19.

Limit your shopping trips

If you used to go frequently to thrift shops, perhaps it’s a good idea to limit the number of times you go. Instead of going every week, go once a month. By limiting the number of times that you go, you have a smaller probability of catching the virus.

It’s the same thing as the supermarket, I used to go every week to the supermarket, now I try to go grocery shopping once a month and regularly do pantry challenges to make sure that I don’t waste food.

Refrain from touching items that you don’t know if you’ll purchase

Even if you think you don’t have the virus, avoid touching items that you don’t know if you’ll purchase.

The habit of touching everything can be hard to conquer but make the effort and control what you touch.

Even if you sanitize your hands, why touch everything just for the sake of it?

Wash everything as soon as you get home

This was a practice that I already adopted before COVID-19. When I buy new clothes, I wash them before I wear them, so why shouldn’t I do the same for second-hand clothes?

If you’re not buying clothes, you can opt for quarantining what you bought instead.

There’s still a lot of controversy on this topic but these two studies: one and two, indicate that COVID-19 virus can live in surfaces at maximum for 3 days (although it depends on the type of surface). While the contamination that derives from touching these surfaces seems to be relatively small, I prefer not to take any chances.

For that reason, opt either for quarantining what you bought or wash them if you can.

Most of these tips are tips that you should follow at every store, during this pandemic. The easiest way to make the world safer for everyone is to be more careful.

If you’re not ready to go shopping at thrift shops, it’s okay. My goal with this post is to give you tips to thrift more safely, not to push you into doing something that you don’t want to or shouldn’t do in your current situation.

It took me a while to go to stores and restaurants, and every country/area’s current situation is different.

And even if your country is currently stable, if you’re in a risk group (or if someone in your household is) you should take care of yourself. Only leave your home to go thrift shopping when you feel safe. If you can’t leave your house, why not shop online?

hand holding phone with plant in the back

Check if your favorite thrift shop has an online store or is selling on Instagram or Facebook

Because of lockdown, thrift shops had to reinvent themselves and, a lot of them opened online as they were physically closed.

These shops started to sell online, not only to connect with their customers but also to find a way to keep afloat.

Keep supporting your favorite shops but online! They’ll gladly appreciate it. Perhaps your purchase can help them survive these tough times.

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