Reusable: Second-hand Shops
Seasons are changing, the kids are growing and you may suddenly find yourself surrounded by closets bursting with clothing you rarely use. Like me, you may not be quite ready to pare down to the 18 piece wardrobe of the zero-waste crowd, but you still want to pass on some good condition clothes instead of tossing them. I enjoy replacing my worn & tired with someone else’s. If that sums you up too, read on to find out about Hiroshima’s 2nd Hand shops.
The best deal for your second-hand clothing is likely going to be the international chain H&M, the most convenient outlet is along HONDORI covered shopping arcade. You can donate a bag of clothes (be ready to leave the bag) and they will give you a 500 yen coupon to use with your next H&M purchase. H&M will take any brand goods in any condition, no questions asked. Other companies such as UNIQLO also offer clothes drop off boxes in their stores which they claim to reuse, donate to people in need worldwide and reuse in other responsible ways. BUT unfortunately they ask that only be UNIQLO brand goods be donated which is a bit more of a hassle unless you are a loyal UNIQLO user, and no coupons or other incentives are given.
Another shop to try that offers a little (very little) cash and a more unique shopping experience while you wait is 2nd Street. One of the most convenient locations is the shop between Starbucks and Hiroshima’s H&M Hondori shop. 2nd Street Reuse shop is a popular national chain that takes most clothes, bags and shoes and will give you a few coins cash per bag. As you would expect, there is a little more hassle involved in “selling” your items as you must present ID and be able to write your name and address and occupation on the registration form before you are given any money, but the staff are usually pleasant and there are some good finds in a range of sizes and colors in most of these shops. They also sell some of the clothes online and have a home pick-up and payment service for appliances, beds and larger items that they might want to buy from you. Don’t expect a lot of money even if you donate items in great condition. Look out for “campaign” times when they are offering 2x or 3x the normal payout for donated items. There is free parking available at their larger stores outside of the city center.
A similar used-selling service is offered by the national reuse books, clothing and goods re-sale shop BOOK-OFF. There are eleven locations across Hiroshima prefecture and the most convenient is likely to be the Otemachi Super Bazaar shop (2 blocks down from the Hondori Street Car station, not far from Peace Park). In my experience, Book-Off has more clothing selections and cheaper prices than 2nd Street, but they are a bit pickier if you are donating. Quite often, you will walk out after waiting for them to inspect your donation (for 30-60 minutes) for them to tell you that they are not taking certain items, and can only give you 30 yen for what they do want to take. Frustrating, yes, but as long as you expect this when you go, and use the time to peruse some great reused bargains while you shop, you can take it in stride. As with 2nd Street, when they offer you such a measly amount you can always choose to say “no thanks” and walk across to H&M to donate and get a coupon instead.
I hope more chain shops start accepting any brand clothing and the reuse shops start offering a flat coupon per bag donation system. Until that happens, however, the best way to resell items, at closer to their true value, is to run your own Flea-Market stall for a day. There are regular flea-market events throughout the year in Hiroshima- check the event listings for details on where and when. You usually have to book a space and pay by bank transfer at least a few weeks in advance of the event and if it rains, it will be rescheduled.
Another handy way to pass on 2nd hand goods for resale or donation is of course via the free GetHiroshima classifieds. We have heard such great stories over the years how some new residents have gotten a job, apartment, language classes, furniture and even love through our classifieds. It could also be effective for you in selling, donating or buying your 2nd hand goods. Remember, good photos & descriptions seem to help!
Other reuse shops worth mentioning are Kuroneko’s Recycle Furniture shop which is my usual stop en route to Hiroshima’s Dai-gomi (oversized garbage) center. If you say you are happy to donate it for free, they are usually happy to take it off your hands. If it’s in great condition, they may offer you a few coins for it and ask you to sign a form with your name and address on it. There are some very reasonably priced refurbished items here too if you are looking to buy.
Across the river, opposite the riverside go-cart fun facility “kotsu-lando” driving-land (Oshiba park), is the funky-select-retro-recycle shop Haraya which buys & sells high-quality original items. The staff are friendly but also very picky about what they will take. They do offer reasonable big-haul “waste” removal if you have a lot of stuff to get rid of in a short time. There are a lot of recycle and reuse shops within this Oshiba/Misasa/Yokogawa area of the standard variety which also offer pick-up services, cheap deals on appliances and furniture and will give you a little cash for good quality goods. There is a good-sized 2nd Street shop (away from the river) with free parking in Misasa if you are doing the rounds. You can drop a bag of clothes off, give them your telephone number, go to LOPEZ okonomiyaki or the BOMBAY Indian restaurant not far away for a lovely meal, and pop back when they have determined how much your lot is worth to them. (Fingers crossed it’ll be enough to buy yourself an ice-cream for dessert).
If you are looking for somewhere to donate English books, try the Hiroshima YMCA. They can usually take books, toys and other fun items to use in kids classes. Another option is The Hiroshima Peace Park Lounge (opposite side of the Museum complex above the meeting halls) which also takes English book donations for their small public library.
There is a growing list of these convenient reuse and recycle vendors and services in Hiroshima which certainly adds to the quality of life for residents. This list is by no means exhaustive, so please feel free to add any you like which are missing in the comments below.