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My Year of Thrifting

October 7, 2018

If you haven’t tried thrifting, you are missing out. Sure I could go to a boring old department store and find each shirt in five different colors and any size- but what’s the fun in that? At a thrift store I could find anything! Its like digging for buried treasure.

I used to be intimidated by the idea of going to a thrift store. I didn’t have a lot of success at first especially in finding clothes. The first few times I left with one or two items and honestly I didn’t really like them. BUT thrifting saves our family so much money that I have commited to buy only thrift clothing for our family for one year (not socks and underwear).

But thrifting has gotten so much better in the last ten years. Why? One reason: fast fashion. If you are not familiar with this term it is talking about the speed at which fashion trends are changing in our culture. Way back in the olden days there were two seasons- hot and cold, and fashion designers designed and marketed clothing accordingly. Now the fashion industry recognizes FIFTY-TWO seasons. That’s right- one season per week for the year.

The goal is to make you believe that your clothes are not on trend two weeks after you buy them. WHAT?? The result? landfills are filling up with clothing. Odds are that even if you donate all your old clothes to a thrift or resale shop, some of those are going to be sold as rags and a lot of them are going to end up in a landfill. Some countries in Africa have made new policies this year that they will no longer accept clothing donations from America.

Hearing that feels a little yucky. But don’t worry it gets worse- most of our clothing is made of synthetic fibers now, and guess where all the dryer lint that makes it through your dryer filter ends up? In the ocean. Before you get too bummed out here’s what you can do: shop. Just do it smarter!

I save hundreds of dollars a year by shopping thrift stores.

  1. Since EVERYONE is buying so much more clothing than they used to, the thrift stores often have some really nice clothing.
  2. Buying gently used clothing is going to keep it from going straight to a landfill.
  3. Used clothing has been washed and is not going to shed as much lint as buying new clothing.

Here are some simple how to’s for getting the most out of you thrifting trip:

Get the lay of the store

When you show up to shop, take a second and look around. Not all thrift stores are equal and they sometimes have different rules. Some have a color on each tag and certain colors discounted each day. These are usually posted on the wall somewhere, or they will announce them every so often over the intercom.

Get a basket and don’t be afraid to dig!

You can’t count on a thrift store to sort clothes by size so you may have to check every single item in a section to find some possibilities. Grab a basket. You should have SO many things to try on because there are all different brands sizes etc. to sort through. If you can, go with a friend, its so much more fun. Often thrift stores have an item limit on their dressing rooms so you will have to take in a few at a time to try on.

Be Wise

Its tempting to lower your expectations since you are buying used clothes, but don’t come home with a pile of clothes that you got for .50$ each just because they were cheap. If you won’t wear it don’t buy it, you can do better. It takes more work, but you will be more likely to stick with it than if you do what I have done and come home with something that isn’t your style/doesn’t fit properly. You can and will do better. I have found new dress shirts with the tags on for Ken’s work, cute leggings for a couple dollars and new looking tunics to wear with them. I’ve also found clothes with holes and stains in them. Many thrift stores do not take exchanges or returns so make sure before you buy it.

Make the Most of Your Trip

Find out what the sales are going to be so you can go on the best days. My favorite thrift store has clothing discounted on Thursdays  and books are discounted on a certain day of the week. Touch every piece of clothing! move every hanger, look at it all. I recently got a pair of pants that fit great and are so comfortable. They are my size, but petite- I never would have even looked in the petite section of a department store since I am 5’7″ but its my favorite clothing item right now. If you can’t find exactly what you are looking for, try again another day. One popular thrift store near me claims to put out 10,000 items a day, so I can always find something better next time. See my next thrift trip here.

Do you go thrifting? What treasures have you found in thrift stores?

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