Be a Better Thrifter / Educate Yourself

8 Reasons Why Buying Secondhand Feels so Satisfying

photo credit to flickr users: Phillip Pessar, Brad K, and Paul L Dineen. Full Collage: Me

photo credit to flickr users: Phillip Pessar, Brad K, and Paul L Dineen. Full Collage: Me

I’m a pretty serious thrifter, serious in the sense that I once followed a women around Goodwill until she put down the jacket I wanted a half hour later.

Under no other circumstances would I consider myself superstitious. My brain defaults to rejection on circumstances of miracles, fate, and many religious concepts. I am the world’s biggest skeptic in everything except thrifting.

But in thrifting I must visit each department in the right order (pants, scarves, dresses, books, shoes, etc) and be in the right mood. I must hang up the clothes that I see on the ground so the thrift gods will lead me to the gold. While other 14-year-olds were thinking about kissing boys I was performing near-satanic rituals by the clothes racks at Goodwill.

Below I speculate on a few reasons why you might want to add “serious thrifter” to your titles.

1) Finders Keepers   I always enjoyed Easter egg hunts as a child. Thrift store hunting is kind of like an extended Easter egg hunt with more junk to sort through. But there’s a much better reward than jelly beans. It often involves a lot of searching, but you also gain knowledge about brands and shapes and fit and eventually find some really unique pieces that YOU put the work in for!

2) There’s Enough Stuff in Existence Already All you need to do is walk through a local mall to see that many stores are selling the variation of the same thing sold in a different store and there are stores online doing the same thing. And there’s a lot of it. It seems endless. There are so many options of where to shop whether it be for clothes, food, homegoods, containers (helloooo , the container store? why??? whhhhyyyy?) and all your other crap. Lots of people in the world have good taste and too much stuff and they get rid of it. Go find it!!!

3) Old Rarities You’ve probably heard your resident old person, whether that be your grandma, a coworker, your parents, your neighbor, etc say “things just aren’t made like they used to be anymore”. Well, I think they’re right. Quality over quantity does not occur in our monopolized market. Tiny engraved metal buttons, double-stitched seams, long lasting cottons… the magic awaits you. The glory really is in the details.

4) Thrift Stories While this may weird some people out, I love that my jeans have been pre worn in to perfection by someone else, or that my shirt has been worn to stretch in all the right places, or that someone seems to have similar odd taste to me. Each item has history. It could have been an unwanted gift, a well worn favorite forced to surrender by a growth spurt, or something that was part of a phase. It’s the sharing of stories without any words.

5) Freedom to Experiment Sometimes I have an idea of an outfit that I really think I’ll like and that will be my new favorite thing. Then I get it home and I wore it twice and five months later I feel guilty every time I see it in my closet. I feel a little more freer to try out a trend if I’m not investing so much into it.

6) Save Money This one is the obvious one, but I want to emphasize that secondhand items you can really save money on are not limited to clothes. Dishware, furniture, posters, craft supplies, board games, socks, and many more are all great items to rescue secondhand. I even love when at rummage sales I’ll find someone’s half started craft project that I can finish for them.

7) Exposure to New Brands or Ideas You may shop specific brands but other people know others. Secondhand shopping is great to find new brands that fit you well or create clothing you really feel comfortable in. I also find lots of ideas for potential sewing projects.

8) Your Wardrobe Becomes Important I think this is the most important number. After you’ve taken so much time to hunt each item down by hand, you really begin to appreciate the action of getting dressed each morning. The items acquire more value and you notice things, instead of monotonous autopilot routine.


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