Why Should You Thrift?
Shopping at thrift stores is a sustainable practice that you can implement into your life. Roughly 98 million tonnes of non-renewable resources are used by the textile industry. Additionally, around 10.8 million tonnes of clothing is thrown out each year (Waste, Reduction Week in Canada, n.d.). If everyone takes the active step to buy second hand, think about how much water, chemicals, and other pollutants could be saved in the long run!
How to Thrift Like a Pro
I would call myself an experience thrifter. I began my thrifting journey over five years ago. Although I still occasionally purchase new, I have made the shift to primarily shopping second hand. Because of this, I have experience on what to look out for while thrifting, and what should be avoided.
1. Have a mission
Thrift stores can get overwhelming. When first getting acquainted with a thrift store, it may be hard to know where to start. Going through every section of thrift store will take ages, therefore it is a good idea to map out what you want to look for while shopping. I tend to make a list on my phone of certain things that I’m looking for. This will help to you stay focused and motivated as you search the store.
I would also recommend making a fashion Pinterest board. This is a good reference to look at while shopping. If you see a piece that has potential, look at your Pinterest board and see if it corresponds with the style that you’re going for.
2. Listen to music
Thrifting takes time and patience. Finding something you actually like and want to purchase is not an easy task. Because of this, I recommend putting on a pair of headphones and listening to music or a podcast while shopping. This will elevate your shopping experience. When I listen to music at a thrift store, I’m in my own world and time doesn’t feel real.
3. Avoid impulse purchases
Things to reflect on before making a purchase:
- Would you actually wear this out?
- I used to find myself buying any piece that I thought was remotely cool. Since I couldn’t go home, think about it, and then return later to buy it, I would buy anything I sort of liked, in the fear that I would regret not buying it later on. Don’t do this! If you wouldn’t wear the garment at that moment, chances are you won’t ever wear that garment.
- Is the price justified?
- Be careful with certain stores as they rack up the prices on name brand items. Think about if the price is worth what you’re getting before making the purchase.
- Check for flaws
- If the item has a flaw, either don’t purchase it or ask an employee for a lower price. Often flaws are missed when pricing an item, and most times the employees are willing to lower the price to account for the flaw.
4. Wear a basic outfit
Pick out a simple outfit to wear while thrifting. Often times thrift stores do not have change rooms, thus wearing an outfit that is simple will allow you to put clothing pieces over your outfit to see what they look like. I would recommend wearing a plain white top and jeans or black leggings. White tops are neutral, so if you try on a sweater or a shirt over your white top, it wouldn’t clash with what you’re trying on. Moreover, if you’re looking to thrift a pair of pants, I would recommend wearing leggings. This will allow you to try on pants over top of your leggings to see if they fit well. If you’re not looking to buy pants, jeans are a safe pick as they go with almost everything.
*Also make sure that your outfit is comfortable! Uncomfortable outfits will make your experience less enjoyable.
The Best Things to Thrift
Although you can thrift pretty much anything, here is a list of some of the best things to thrift:
- Books (instead of buying a new book for $25, thrift one for under $5!)
- Accessories (thrift stores have unique jewelry and other accessories that will elevate your style)
- Room decor (thrift stores have large wall art sections)
- Dresses (looking for a dress for a special occasion that you’ll only end up wearing once? Thrift it!)
- Graphic T-shirts (thrift stores always have huge graphic t-shirt sections)
- Purses (I’ve thrifted some of my favourite purses!)
Where to Shop Second Hand
- Non-profit thrift stores (such as The Salvation Army Thrift Store)
- Typically more affordable and your supporting charities!
- Larger thrift stores (such as Value Village)
- Can have higher prices but also a larger selection
- Online second hand sellers (such as ThredUp, Facebook Marketplace, Depop, and Poshmark)
This doesn’t mean that you have to make the switch to only shopping second hand, but keep this post in mind the next time you go shopping. Thrifting is fun to do, helps you find unique, one-of-a-kind pieces, and saves you lots of money!
Waste Reduction Week in Canada. (n.d.). Textiles Tuesday. https://wrwcanada.com/en/our-themes/waste-reduction-week-daily-themes/textiles-tuesday