5 Reasons to Shop for Clothes at Thrift Stores
The majority of my wardrobe has been purchased from thrift stores - and I like it that way. At thrift stores across America, one man's trash is truly another man's treasure. Thrift stores are social businesses that sell second-hand goods, and because inventory is donated and stores are staffed by volunteers, almost all the money goes to charity. They can be found in nearly every neighborhood, and as the name suggests, are a wondrously thrifty way to shop for things like kitchen appliances, jewelry, books, art, and most importantly, clothing. If you have never shopped at a thrift store, I can offer you 5 good reasons to start.
5 Reasons to shop for clothes at thrift stores
1. It's good for the environment
You’re eco-friendly. The bumper sticker on your Prius reads: Save The Planet. You do your best to conserve water, switch off lights when you leave a room and recycle. Yet, you are still shopping at Bloomingdales. Shop at thrift stores, and Mother Nature will fall in love with you. Consider the implications of buying brand new clothing from a store. Imagine the resources involved in making just one item of clothing; between the materials for fabric and packaging, the fuel costs of production and shipping, and the human labor. You recycle cans, so why not cardigans?
2. It's for a good cause
Thrift stores are social businesses, often owned by a charity or non-profit organization. Since the items sold are donated, the money you spend at the thrift store goes to their charity or non-profit, minus the cost of rent, maintenance etc. Take for example, The Goodwill, who uses the money to fund education, training and job placement programs for people with disabilities and other barriers within the community. At The Salvation Army, your purchases support The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Centers where they help others by rehabilitating, reclaiming lives and healing families. Doesn't that make you feel good?
3. They have a diverse selection
Thrift stores survive off donations. With these donations coming in on a daily basis from all types of people, the store's inventory is constantly changing. Your local thrift store doesn't discriminate fashions either. You can find a legit Members Only jacket aside a brand new fur coat. The selection of clothes will vary depending on the location of the thrift store. It's possible to find a $15 Versace dress at a thrift store in Beverly Hills, California, for example. Although finding an item like this isn't easy, it will take shopping with some patience, persistence and a little luck.
4. You own a wash machine
Ok I admit, there is a downside to shopping for clothes at a thrift store: the smell. It’s a truly musty odor that I have come to understand and appreciate. I understand that if you were to gather an item of clothing from a group of a hundred people, and pile it in one room, it’s bound to smell a little funky-funk. I can appreciate this because - yeah I'm admitting something else - I smell too. The good news is, you can wash whatever it is you buy. After a quick cycle in the wash, it will soon smell just like you.
5. It's inexpensive
Even Donald Trump likes to save money. Especially trapped in the middle of an economic slump, who wants to spend a paycheck on a pair of jeans? There is a fine line between gently used and brand new clothing. In fact, they are nearly the same, omit price. Think about a new car. As soon as you drive it off the lot, it’s used, and it’s resale value drops tremendously. The reality is, aside from four dusty tires, the car is still in perfect condition. Clothing at the thrift store is often still in perfect condition, just like the new car fresh off the lot. You can find new items with even the tags still on them. Either it didn't fit the previous owner, or it was a gift they never liked in the first place. No matter what the condition, new or slightly used, it's always less expensive than the department store. In my opinion, shopping at thrift stores doesn't mean you're cheap, it means you're smart.
Tips for shopping at thrift stores
- Bring cash - Many thrift stores won’t accept anything else.
- Wear light clothes - Many thrift stores will not have a changing room. In this case, you can try on items over your lighter clothes
- Map a route - If you plan on thrift store shopping, map out a route first of several stores you can visit. The selection will be different at each one, and your odds of finding something you love are will be increased.
- Check it before you buy it - While most items at the thrift store will be in good to great condition, it’s always smart to check them for stains, rips, tears, missing buttons etc. before purchasing. Remember: thrift stores don’t take returns.
- Have patience and be persistent - Don't get discouraged after an unsuccessful day of thrift store shopping. Check back again another day when you're feeling thrifty, eventually you will find something that suits you perfectly.
Still not convinced to shop at thrift stores?
If you disagree with these reasons to shop for clothes at a thrift store, don’t worry, I won't judge you. Personally, in a United States rampant in over-consumption and unemployment, I think it’s only wise that we recycle clothes and shop frugally at thrift stores. People are just people, but if the thought of wearing a strangers clothes still bothers you, consider this: You use a strangers knife and fork every time you dine out. Why not share a t-shirt and jeans? After all, it's good for the environment, cheap, and most importantly, it’s charitable.
Shop online or find a thrift store near you
Shop Goodwill online is the Goodwill's online auction site offering a wide array of clothes, antiques, collectibles, books and much more
- The Thrift Shopper
This is a national thrift store directory to help you find charity resale shops in your area. Search for thrift shops in our thrift store directory and learn more about thrift shopping.
- Once in a Blue Moon
An online thrift and consignment store. For a thrift store, they have the most comprehensive selection of merchandise to be found.
More about thrift stores from other hubbers
- How to Shop Thrift Store Smart
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- The Pros and cons of thrift stores
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