Monday, January 12, 2009

Why Thrift Stores are Cool

We didn’t have a lot of money when I was growing up, so the bulk of my clothes came from a) my sisters or b) the local Church-owned thrift store. It was the height of embarrassment to have it be known that you shopped at the thrift store, even though several other kids I knew shopped there too (we just never admitted it to each other).

Today, thrift stores are the “in” place to shop—quite a change from the mindset that prevailed when I was a youngster. We have global warming to thank for this shift in perception. People now realize more than ever the effect that industry has on our environment, and they are recycling their goods and seeking to purchase goods that have been recycled. Who knew—I was living green before the phrase was even coined!

This trend toward thrift store shopping doesn’t just extend itself to common, everyday folk like you and me. Celebrities the world over are embracing this lifestyle, going “vintage” and sporting their latest thrift store finds. Rather than spending $1,000 on a new bag, many celebs are now reducing, reusing, and recycling, choosing to carry the bag they found at the thrift store instead.

I can’t tell you how much this delights me. I went from being gauche to being trendy, almost overnight. As for my kids—I’ve always shopped at the thrift store for their play clothes. Why on earth would I pay $20.00 for a pair of size 4T jeans that would be ripped up after one hour on the playground? Instead, I pay $2.00 for them and don’t sweat it if they come back with grass stains. It saves my pocketbook a whole lot of worry, and if I happen to help save the planet at the same time, that’s all the better.

Thrift stores aren’t just a wonderful place to buy clothes. I’ve picked up blankets, cookbooks, extra shoes to send with my daughter to Girls Camp, a CrockPot, furniture (my couch, pictured, lived its former life in a Church lobby, was sent to the thrift store for rips in the arms, was purchased by me for $50.00, mended, and now lives happily in my living room) and toys. Things that still have use in them and yet aren’t useful to the original owners can now be mine at a fraction of the full retail price, and in most cases, so what if they’re a little used? I’m sure that after ten minutes at my house, anything I bought new would look just as used.

Save a tree, stop adding to greenhouse gases, and keep some money in your wallet. That’s what shopping at a thrift store will do for you. And now that it’s cool, there’s really no reason not to!

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Josi said...

I love thrift shops and find my favorite things there. It takes patience and good evaluation skills, but is quite the feather in my cap when I find that 'perfect' item. I got snow pants for my daughter last week--$5. I would have paid $40 if I"d had to go to a regular store. I didn't know it was becoming so sheik though, now I feel even better about it.

ali said...

That was awesome Tristi, funny too!

I am not a good thrift store shopper, but I'm trying to learn. Wish me luck!

Karlene said...

I got a great namebrand queen size sleeper sofa that looked barely used for only $40 at the thrift store. And the mattress? As comfy as our bed. :)

Stephanie Humphreys said...

I love thrift stores. I remember shopping at them when I was a teenager and trying to hide the fact from most of my friends because it just wasn't cool. Of course, when it became cool and I started admitting to shopping there, I still wasn't cool because they figured I was just trying too hard to be cool. Sometimes you just can't win.

Like you, I especially found them valuable when my kids were younger. They grew out of anything I bought them so fast, I couldn't imagine paying more than a dollar or two for anything.

Lee Ann Setzer said...

I'm proud to say I've run into Tristi at the thrift store at least twice!

My favorite thing about second-hand clothes is that you know what they're going to look like after they've been washed.

Danyelle Ferguson said...

Yeah for thrift stores! I have to say though that DI is way cheaper than Good Will is here in Kansas. But it's still less than purchasing something brand new, which as you said, makes my wallet very, very happy.

Anna Maria Junus said...

My kids were raised on second hand clothes. No shame attached. In fact they love getting a garbage bag of clothes from someone. (So do I). In fact I was raised on second hand.

If it weren't for thrift stores and others cast offs I wouldn't have been able to clothe my kids. And often they'll end up with something better than what I can afford.

Occasionaly they get new things, especially when they buy it themselves. Everyone needs new things now and then.

violetlady said...

I love thrift shopping. I never knew it was being "green", just frugal. I just bought a 100% cashmere sport coat for my husband for $6.00.

Cindy Beck said...

Great idea, to shop at thrift stores. I have heard, though, that some are better than others and offer better selection.

Cindy Beck said...

Ooo, forgot to say this. I have a friend who buys her clothes through e-bay and gets $300 suits for about $50.

Sandra said...

I was just discussing something I wanted and said "I guess I should hit the DI's and Savers and see if I can find it." Jessica said, "I'll take you to the one's in Salt Lake, I know where all the good ones are". Did I raise a smart girl or what?

My motto has always been- after you wear it once, it's used.

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