Feeling thrifty? You’ve come to the right place. From thrift stores to flea markets, it’s no mystery that second-hand shopping is cheaper than buying brand new. But some of the greatest benefits of thrifting are easily (and frequently) overlooked. In fact, they’re often hiding right in front of you.
So before you shop until you drop, let’s explore the hidden benefits of thrifting.
Finding High-Quality Pieces For Much Lower Prices
Thrift stores are full of hidden gems. Keep your eyes peeled and you could easily find a diamond in the rough. Thrift stores are typically filled with high-quality clothes and sought-after name brands, but always for a fraction of the cost.
Word to the wise: pay attention to fabrics. High-quality fabrics usually mean the used piece will have more longevity. Not to mention, well-made items are frequently priced based on their clothing category, rather than their quality.
So whether you’re on the hunt for something contemporary, vintage, or by a top designer, you’ll probably find a high-quality piece if you take your time and look closely through each rack.
Building A One-of-a-Kind Wardrobe
In addition to high-quality pieces, thrift shops offer a wide variety of hard-to-find and unique items. Some may no longer be sold or made anywhere else. By collecting rare pieces, you can affordably and easily build a one-of-a-kind wardrobe.
Thrift store selections are eclectic and more diverse than stores with one image or target demographic. In turn, the options for putting a distinctive look together on a budget are endless. In fact, I receive the most compliments on outfits when I’m wearing something I bought from a thrift store.
People always ask “where did you get that?” When I reveal it’s from a thrift store, they think I’m keeping fashion secrets to myself. The real secret is, I score all of my best pieces while thrifting. And you can too.
Stumbling Upon Clothes That Fit Just Right
Because thrift store clothes are recycled, they’ve sometimes been tailored to fit someone else. The downside of this is that you might think you’ve found the perfect piece, only to find it’s been taken in 3 sizes when you attempt to put it on later. If you can, be sure to try on items before you buy them.
By doing so, you could get very lucky when you least expect it. For starters, thrift store clothes are worn-in and ready to go. Once in a while, they’re also tailored just right. As someone on the shorter side, thrift stores have become my hemmed pants gold mine over the years. If you find something you love, but you’re not sure about the size, try it on anyway.
Even if the size is nowhere near what you usually wear, if it looks like it could fit, it very well might. More often than not, you’ll find the perfect fit thanks to someone with similar proportions.
Exploring a Constantly Changing and Diverse Selection
For most thrift stores, new donations are received on a daily basis. If you don’t find anything you like one day, the next day could always bring new possibilities. The trick is to familiarize yourself with your favorite thrift store’s rotation. Do they change things out seasonally? Once a week? Everyday?
Some thrift stores keep their inventory in a warehouse before anything hits the floor. Others put donations straight on the racks the day they come in. Regardless, there will always be a diverse selection to choose from, so don’t get discouraged if you’re not sold on anything yet.
Be patient. And remember, the more you thrift, the more you’ll find.
Discovering Truly Vintage Items
When it comes to the rare, the unique, and the no longer made, thrift stores are a treasure trove for truly vintage items. Sure, you could go into a retail store and buy an overpriced, faux-vintage band T-shirt. Or, you could hold out for the real deal and pay a quarter of the cost. And it’s not just vintage T-shirts you’ll find.
When many people donate, they’re not only getting rid of last year’s fashions or doing a little spring cleaning. Sometimes, people who donate are doing complete wardrobe overhauls. In the process, they might be letting go of special pieces that no longer fit. Many who thrift for great finds often donate great stuff too.
And so, you never really know what vintage piece could wind up in your local thrift store next. But it’ll be there. Just keep digging for that steal of a deal.
Reusing Clothes as a Form of Recycling
It goes without saying, reducing waste is important. So when you get that itch to go shopping, consider dressing greener. While buying and donating used clothes is just one effort to recycle, thrifting is definitely one of the most fun and rewarding ways to do your part.
Reports from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency claim that current “clothing and textile recycling patterns” have a more significant impact on reducing greenhouse gases than when you recycle yard waste, glass, and even plastic products.
It pays to be charitable. Thrifting and donating at national thrift stores might help you out financially in more ways than one. According to Federal law, monetary donations, clothing donations, and donations of household goods are potentially entitled to tax deductions.
Do note, all donated items must be in good condition. The next time you plan to donate to a store like Goodwill, be sure that your donations are itemized and valued for this reason.
You Might Find Your Next DIY Project
In need of a new creative outlet? For affordable and unique DIY projects, thrift stores are definitely a good place to go. When hunting for DIY inspiration, keep an open mind. Some clothing or furniture items that no longer seem functional may hold unlocked potential.
Maybe you’re searching for unique and budget-friendly fabric for a throw pillow. Perhaps you’ll find your next crafty idea in an old lamp or dress you’d never wear. Whatever you’re looking for in a DIY project, you’ll know it when you spot it. But first, you’ll have to explore.
Supporting Your Community
Unlike department stores, retail chains, and pricey boutiques, most thrift stores primarily exist to serve others in some capacity. Choosing to shop at a thrift store can often make a positive impact in your community in a variety of ways. Due to affordability, lower-income families frequently rely on thrift stores for essentials. So while it’s good to be a resourceful shopper, try not to get greedy when it comes to buried treasure.
As mentioned, thrift stores will always have new and special things coming in. So if you plan to go thrifting, consider donating once in a while too. Many thrift stores are part of local mission programs. Some stores have specific goals catered towards helping the community. For instance, Goodwill provides career opportunities for the disabled with every donation and purchase.
Whether you shop or donate, you’re likely giving back much more than you know. So get out there and start thrifting! Your wallet and wardrobe won’t be the only ones thanking you.