More than a few of my favorite things are thrifted

A dedicated thrift shopper will make several trips and visit multiple stores to find the exact thing they are looking for on the cheap.

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It’s no secret that I love thrift shopping, but what might not be so obvious is why. And, let me tell you, the reasons are plenty.

First and foremost, I do it for the environment. Why would I need to buy something new (creating more waste) when I could get it used? It’s simple supply and demand. If I’m not buying newly manufactured goods from department stores, then I am not creating a greater demand for the goods.

The second (and more fashion-related) reason is I like finding clothing and décor items that are unique. There is nothing worse than walking into a room and seeing someone else wearing the same exact clothing item as you. You can find clothes and accessories at thrift stores that no one else has, and…leading to my next point…

You can make them your own! I love finding an item at a thrift store in which I can see a second life. My favorite transformation is finding dresses that don’t fit in the bust and turning them into awesome new skirts, which I can pretty much guarantee no one else is going to have in their wardrobe.

Another aspect I feel adds to my ability to thrift is my unconcern about brand names. Sure it’s always a bonus to find a quality brand item for cheap at a thrift store, but there is so much more out there to be discovered. The brand especially doesn’t matter if I am going to reconstruct or modify the item anyway.

Personally, I also just enjoy the thrill of the search. You never know what you are going to find on a trip to a thrift store, and I would argue that it is best not to have too many expectations. You don’t want to limit yourself. You need time to peruse every section with a keen eye to grab the best finds. I never let a single section of the store go un-browsed. Be careful though — if you get really good you run the risk of spending too much money on all of the wonderful things you find.

There are always the staple items you can almost bet on finding at any given thrift store, but you don’t want to go in hunting for a particular item and settle on one that is subpar. A dedicated thrift shopper will make several trips and visit multiple stores to find the exact thing they are looking for on the cheap.

Another bonus to thrift shopping is purchasing from organizations that are making a positive impact in the community. Goodwill, for example, sponsors many community programs and workshops for disadvantaged peoples. Small local thrift stores often partner with charitable organizations or churches to give back.

I won’t say that thrift shopping is for everyone, though. You have to be patient and willing to work and wait for the things you want or need. If you are the type of person who likes to just go and grab the item in one trip without a lot of hassle, you should probably avoid second-hand stores. It takes a special kind of person to love thrift. 

Jocelyn Gibson can be contacted at gibson243@marshall.edu.

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