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Thrifting: How to, where to, and more!

2023-06-29 2:55 PM | Deleted user

Secondhand shopping has been receiving more attention as an affordable, sustainable, and engaging way to find clothing, home goods, and more. Operating primarily on a donation basis, thrift stores serve an important role in the circular economy, keeping materials from landfill and connecting them with shoppers. Secondhand shopping—in addition to its affordability and more sustainable model—serves an important social purpose. Thrift stores serve communities all around us by providing an accessible way to engage in reuse.

Reused goods are typically more affordable than new ones. While some antique or vintage items may cost more than their new counterparts, a majority of the secondhand market consists of quality, affordable goods seeking a new home.

Thrift stores boast diversity in the clothing department compared to chain retailers. While not all of the clothing may be your style, there are always some hidden gems on the shelves. Additionally, buying clothes at thrift stores provides a low-cost way to try out new styles to see what works for you!

Many people thrift for its social benefits: a more engaging experience, to bond with friends and family, or to browse local and vintage clothing and goods. Many thrift store regulars build relationships with retail employees and choose to shop at the thrift store first. Reuse is an excellent way to build connections and explore local goods, opportunities, and even friendships!

Your dollar can go further at thrift stores than it can when buying new. Many rely on thrift stores as the more budget-friendly option. These stores play an important role in connecting people with quality, and necessary goods. Consider exploring some mission-based reuse retailers in your area and learn where to donate your unneeded items. Donate Good Stuff is a great resource for learning where to donate items you no longer need!

Sometimes the most unexpected discoveries are the most exciting. Browsing a thrift store is a great way to find your new favorite pair of jeans or the perfect painting for your living room. Secondhand shopping provides an affordable way to find the items that will brighten your space and complement your wardrobe.

Thrifting, especially at larger reuse stores, can be intimidating at first. With so much to look through, it feels like you can be there for hours. And you can! But you can also be there for only twenty minutes. Knowing how you shop best can turn a trip to the thrift store into a leisure activity. There is no best way to shop secondhand, but here are some tips if you’re looking to try it out:

  • Stick to one or two departments, depending on what you’re looking for at the time.

  • Don’t go in with overly specific expectations. Inventory is always changing, so being flexible is important and will result in an opportunity for creativity. Alternatively, if you know exactly what you need, such as a specific item for your kitchen, write those things down so you can always keep an eye out for them when you make a thrift shop stop.

  • Invite friends and make it an event with dedicated time. With so many great finds hidden throughout the store, you don’t want to be too rushed!

  • Have a plan, be creative, and allow yourself the time to find the next best thing for your home and/or wardrobe.

  • For a more tailored experience, consider Arc Value Village’s personal shopper service. This unique opportunity is great for people who have a particular style in mind.

  • See Hennepin County’s Guide for great thrifting for store recommendations and more!

Some secondhand shoppers see thrifting as a formative experience on how they shop and spend their money. Three current Minnesota GreenCorps members shared their varied experiences with thrift shopping, how they were introduced, and what it has meant for them.

Heidi shared that her first time thrifting was in the 4th grade and was part of a money lesson. With $100, she could get bags full of clothes from secondhand stores compared to just a few items from the mall. She and her mom ended up skipping the mall that day.

Abby shared that her introduction to thrifting came from a sense of environmental consciousness. It is no secret that the rise of fast fashion has its impacts across the globe. Eco-minded shoppers benefit from not only the affordability of reuse but also by supporting the circular economy by buying what exists in their community and sparing the environmental costs of new material production and transportation. In this case, Abby’s passion for reuse inspired her to study sustainability and adopt many sustainable habits.

Many thrift shoppers care about the quality of goods, choosing to seek out vintage clothing for its higher durability. Through thrifting, Claire grew to appreciate the design and craftsmanship of vintage and handmade clothing. While some items had wear and tear, she said it encouraged her to develop her sewing and embroidery skills, allowing her to personalize and repair an otherwise perfect and unique piece of clothing. What a great way to keep clothing in use longer!

Want to share your experiences shopping secondhand? Click here!


Heidi’s picks

Abby’s picks

Claire’s picks

Reuse Minnesota staff picks:

Reuse Minnesota was founded in 2012 and is a member-based nonprofit that supports repair, resale, and rental businesses, bringing visibility to the reuse sector as a means to lower our state's impact on the environment.

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