How Used Gear Changed My Life

Hi! My name is Sarah, and I'm on the growth marketing team at Out&Back. During my early twenties, I was what you’d call a shopaholic. And while I was an avid recycler, sustainable food buyer, used all LED light bulbs, I didn’t quite get the memo on the fashion side of things. Perhaps because recycling my aluminum cans was easier than refraining from buying a cute top for a date, or at the time, coping with the idea of buying something previously worn. 

But things began to change as I picked up endurance sports, cycling in particular. Bicycles can be very expensive, as much as cars for a good one. And while I needed a nice bike and all the gear to be competitive, I didn’t have the bank account for it. I began looking for bike parts on eBay that had been gently used, and had alerts set up for certain items. Soon, I had a closet of high-end gear and bikes - all at a lower cost. The gear all performed perfectly and allowed me to grow as a cyclist with quality equipment. This was my first introduction to used gear. 

And then another thing happened. COVID-19, in particular. While I had become a frequent buyer of used bike parts, I had never considered buying used clothing. Something about it just felt unappealing. But during the pandemic, I stopped going to work, and all those great skirts, stiletto heels, and dresses I had served absolutely no purpose. And the thing that I realized while in the midst of it all, was that I actually didn’t need any of it, nor ever did. I began using secondhand market apps to clean out my closet and make extra cash when a revolutionary thought came over me. If I knew that my clothing and gear was in great condition and expected someone to buy it and be equally as happy with it as I was, what problem did I have with buying secondhand clothing? I asked myself if I would buy my own item, and I would - in all its used glory. 

I began using secondhand clothing apps for everything. I sold gear and bought gear, and never had to spend any money since I made my selling allowance what I was able to use for spending. And you know what else happened? I saved tons of money, I reduced my carbon footprint, and killed off those desires in my heart to want more stuff. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life. It was a similar feeling to when you come back from a long backpacking trip and have no material wants in the world, just food and a hot shower. The only difference is that I didn’t have to do a long backpacking trip to arrive there. 

Granted, do I still have nice gear that I’ve purchased new and absolutely love? Of course! But do I now have clothing and gear that I’ve bought secondhand that I love just as much? You bet. 

My challenge to you would be to clean out your closet and take a good, long look at all of your possessions. Do you actually need all of them? If one zip up hoodie went away, would you even notice?