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I grew up in a country that used to only have grocery stores, second hand clothing shops and puma shops (sports wear shop). It was only recently that they had a mall that has different stores that offer fashion apparel and accessories.
I was used to buying my clothes and other things from second hand shops. I was never afraid if the owner of the clothing died or whatsoever. Some even say that the clothes from these shops could be dirty and full or bacteria or disease but that never really stopped me from buying not only because I didn't have a choice but because it was cheaper and some are of really good quality.
Even when I reached the Philippines, despite all the good brands I see in the mall, I still find myself hauling my apparels from the racks of the ukay-ukay shops. Unlike in PNG, clothes being sold in second hand shops in the Philippines are either ragged or has stains and holes in it so you really have to be patient in looking through the all the racks.
1. Find out the nearest ukay shops near you. Ask your friends and your neighbours if they know a good ukay shop near your area or if a little far, ask them what are the main good thing that is being sold there (ex: shoes, bags, tops, slacks, etc.) so you would know if it's worth going there.
2. Know the status of their stocks. It is very important to know when the new arrivals of their items will be displayed. New arrivals usually have the best items but it definitely has a higher price depending what kind of item it is. In my experience, new arrival of dresses in Teejay Ukay Shops in the Philippines usually range from 180 to 220 pesos. Knowing when they will put out new stocks will give you an idea when it's best to visit the store. For sure, you wouldn't want to travel and waste time going there to find nothing to buy, right?
3. Do your budget and to-buy list. The cheap prices of the ukay shops often tend buyers to splurge on buying items they don't really need. Do your to-buy list, just those things you really need. It will then be easier for you to do your budgeting. Set a limitation for your spending. As for me, I usually set a date for my ukay shopping so that I can only bring the exact amount plus a little extra for my food and fare. This will not only save you money, but it will also keep your closet cluttered-free from the apparels you wouldn't really be wearing any sooner.
1. Check your to-buy list and remember your budget. It is important that you check your list to remind you of the things you NEED to buy. Go directly to the area where those items are located to avoid being tempted by the other items.. Again, REMEMBER YOUR BUDGET.
2. Check, check, check! Carefully check your items. Check for stains, rip offs, holes and other damages. In tops or shirts, check the neck and the underarm areas. Most of the buyers often forget to look at these areas especially if they are in a hurry. ALWAYS CHECK YOUR ITEMS. Even if you're already in the payout counter, double check your items to be sure. Ukay shops don't accept refunds, returns or exchanges.
3. Double check the price. Sometimes, some of the items were in the wrong racks. You might think that it costs just this but it costs more than that. So confirm with the employees of the store the prices of the items you have on hand. You may never know, some of your items could also be on sale or are discounted for some reasons. It will give you a chance to find another one to change it or to find an additional piece.
4. Fit them! I know some of the girls wouldn't really want to try them out because they believe that those clothes or items are from the boxes and are all dirty. But it is a must that you try to fit those items and assess if you're comfortable with it, if the fabric and fitting is okay because, as I said above, ukay shops do not accept refunds, returns or exchanges.
5. Should I really buy this? In my experience too, even if you really try to stay away from the temptation, it is hard to say that you will get home only with the items listed on your list because the cheap prices are truly hard to resist. So before you pay out, ask yourself if you will really buy it. Questions like "Where will I use this?" "What can this go with?" "Do I have something similar to this?" "Should I really buy this?" will help you decide and justify the behaviour you are about to perform at that point.
1. Setting aside. Put to one side the garments that are colored and those items that are delicate. Make sure you do this because some of the colored items can stain the other things you bought. You wouldn't want to damage them after carefully picking them right?
2. Soak in hot water. Soak those items in hot water. This will help sanitize the items. I cannot fully say that those items are clean and free from germs or bacterias. Wait until it cools down. For me, I don't soak it overnight. I don't know but I just believe that keeping them soaked in water overnight will add some germs onto them so better wait until it cools down and prepare them for laundry. And if you bought whites, you may want to soak it with a Zonrox.
3. Laundry time! After soaking the items, wash them with a gentle laundry soap. Check the type of garment and how it was stitched (or made) so you can decide whether to hand wash them or just let the washing machine do that job for you. Make sure to rinse them properly.
4. Soak again. This time, soak it with any of the fabric conditioner. Leave it for about an hour then sun or air dry them. Leaving them soaked in a scented fabric conditioner will make the fabric softer and give it a good smell.
5. Hang them up! Now it's time for you to properly hang them on your laundry line or dry them underneath the sun or air dry them. After leaving them hanging or drying, try to check them after a few minutes to smell and see if the washing was enough to take out those moth balls/box smells. If the smell is still there, trying soaking it with the fabric conditioner again.
So basically, that are my rituals in buying second hand apparels and items. I know it's nothing different from the rest and you probably know it too. But sometimes, we do need to be reminded from time to time.