After a lengthy lockdown, most of us have had time to have a good clear out and many of us will have amassed some hefty bags to take down to our favourite charity shop when it reopens soon. But how is second-hand shopping going to work in a post-coronavirus world?
One thing we need to remember is that leaving bags outside closed charity shops does not mean that they're going to a happy home. Unless they are inside the demise of the charity shop, the bag will be considered fly-tipping rather than donating - and will be thrown into the bin, with your clothes eventually ending up in landfill.
But even when charity shops do reopen, and hopefully receive lots of wonderful donations, where to begin? Customer footfall is likely to be lower than before, whilst second-hand shops are going to have more clothes than ever before. Shop managers will be focused on selling as much as possible in order to make money for charities which have faced significant struggles over the last three months, but in order to do so, the shop will have to look reasonably nice and the rails can't be so full that customers can't browse. So, it could be a sad inevitability that many clothes donations will inevitably go to landfill either way.
If we take a step forward, let's imagine being inside a second-hand store for the first time. How will hygiene measures be dealt with? Some reports say that Covid-19 can live on clothing textiles for 48-72 hours. In reality, most of our charity bags were packed up and ready to go weeks ago - but shops can't take that risk and may have to go to huge lengths to deal with this. Will they have to disinfect everything they receive?
With bricks and mortar stores yet to reopen, and likely to struggle when they do, it goes without saying that it's a time for resale sites including Depop to shine. They're benefiting from their online infrastructure which most high street charity shops simply don't have, which has opened them up to a whole new customer base. That said, as a peer to peer platform, they can't guarantee any hygiene or contamination issues either. Interestingly, it hasn't stopped their traffic from increasing by around 90%, perhaps suggesting that customers aren't as worried as you might think.
So hopefully, as soon as we are all able to, we'll be back inside second-hand stores to support charities and small businesses by picking up some absolute gems. And maybe, the new wave of second-hand retail models such as The Nu Wardrobe aren't just for Covid-19 times, but they're here to stay.