This is the second part of this article. Check out the first part here.
Types of second-hand stores
One thing you need to know about Savers: it's not a charity organisation. Only a small percentage of the profits go to charity. It's handy that you can trade your own unwanted goods for store credit, though. Interesting fact I just found: About 50% of goods donated to Savers are unsaleable, so "roughly 262 pounds of clothing, shoes, toys, books and other items are sold and shipped to developing nations each year, keeping those goods from landfill." (Source) I wonder what percentage of that unsaleable 50% goes overseas, given that they didn't say all of it went. And whether the cost of them is reasonable. But that's a topic for another day.
Alternatively, those little local op shops that are in most suburbs are usually run by volunteers and all of the profits go to charity. Then there are stylish vintage boutiques, where the goods are more expensive (sometimes by quite a lot) because they are hand-picked for their trend factor. Needless to say, none of these profits go to charity.
The Camberwell Market in Melbourne, which runs every Sunday, is also well-known for having great second-hand items. Most of the stalls I've shopped at were run by casual stallholders looking to clear out their wardrobe. I've found a lot of quality contemporary brands here, like Country Road and Saba. If you're not in Melbourne, there's probably a similar thing nearby.
Make sure you..
Check for faults before you buy. There's been a few times I've come home and found that something has a hole or a stain in it that won't come off. If it's noticable and you're not into altering, like I am, you've wasted the purchase (but still given money to charity, so it's not so bad).
Try it on. Yes, even if it smells. I promise, it won't be so gross next time.
Check every rack you have time to. It's not like browsing in a shopping centre, where there's a bunch of the same items and they're nicely spaced out. If you don't look at everything you might miss something great.
Don't buy things you're iffy about just because they're cheap. Having things you're not going to wear or use is a waste of space. Personally, I'd rather have a closet half-full of things that get worn regularly than a wardrobe that's bursting but with me still not having anything to wear.
Removing the smell from second-hand clothing
Generally, just chucking something in the washing machine won't remove the smell. I must emphasise that you should not add heat. Putting a smelly item in the dryer or ironing it is outro, because it'll lock in the smell forever and ever and ever. (Yes, I did this once, and yes, it still smells.)
There are a few different ways you can do it, involving vinegar and tea and things. But my preferred method is this: Before you wash the garment, hang it outside for at least a few non-rainy days. Bring it in at night, though. This works especially well if it's sunny, but keep in mind that sun fades fabric, too.
I hope you enjoyed this little sequence, folks. Happy treasure hunting!