Friday, January 15, 2010


I love and am so grateful for thrift stores. I realize that many people look at them with disgust, as in "Ewww! You wear a shirt that somebody else wore?" I can understand that, but my background is a bit different and has shaped my opinion about thrift stores.

I am the oldest of eight children, and my father is a teacher, and my mother chose to stay home with the kids. So you can probably guess how many new items we enjoyed. Not many. New food, which I am grateful for. But pretty much any new clothing I got, I bought with my own money. When I was younger, I did get maybe one outfit in the fall before school started (from Kmart--still can't stand to buy clothes there. The smell of the store, you know), but we didn't really get anything new unless we absolutely needed it (like, holes-in-the-knees-of-my-only-pair-of-pants-kind-of-need).

The way that my sisters and I got most of our clothes was that we had some awesome and generous cousins who about a couple times a year would send us a bag or two of their clothes. We were always so excited: it was like Christmas for us to go through those bags!

So to this day, I have absolutely no problem putting my kids and myself in clothes that are previously owned. I figure, if it's clean, smells good, and has no obvious stains or holes, why not? The sweater in the picture above I got last week at our thrift store. It's in perfect condition, is warm, and was only $4! Woo-hoo!

Ok, here are my top four reasons for shopping thrift:

#1: The price. A sweater that new probably cost $40 or more (it was a good brand), for $4? Amazing. Last week I got 7 sweaters and 5 long-sleeved shirts for $35. You would have a hard time getting that at a store, even with stuff marked 80-90% off, and the thrift store selection is probably better at that point.

#2: The fun of looking. At the mall, you have a lot more to look through, so you know that probably whatever you find, they will have your size and color. At a thrift store, you never know what you will find. It's like a treasure hunt. Although it can be frustrating (I've gone many times before and not found anything), when you do find that perfect item or items, it is so awesome!

#3: I'm no extremist environmentalist, but I do believe in doing my part, and I think this is a way of recycling. Sometimes I go into the big Everything-Marts, look around and think, "what a bunch of junk!" We are such a consuming society, and buying gently used items just cuts down a bit of that.

#4: It makes it easier to get rid of things. When I have an item that I got for $5, it's way easier to get rid of it (i.e. send it back to the thrift store :0), than if I had paid $45, you know what I mean? My sister calls it 'renting'.

#5: Entertainment value. I have found some absolutely hilarious items there. Think three inch 70's platform shoes, the most hideous coats ever, and Napolean Dynamite t-shirts galore. Here is a picture of a shoulder-padded jem I found recently:

I love and am grateful for thrift stores! What's your favorite reason for shopping thrift? And what's the best and/or most hilarious item you've found there?


Melissa said...

I love thrifting for all those reasons as well. I noticed your sweater in your smash bros post! Super cute!
Here is a site dedicated to thrifted sweaters.

Jack Foster said...

Hey Andrea, Thanks for stopping by my blog. Don't give up on your dreams. I've been dreaming of being published for 30 years! God's timing is perfect however. Great blog you have here. My youngest daughter and my wife are both thrift store junkies. :o)

Laura S. said...

Funny you should post this. Just this week I went to the DI and got 3 pairs of jeans (one of which still had the size stickers on it), 4 shirts, a movie, and a mini trampoline that is virtually brand new! All for $65! Isn't it so true that one man's junk is another man's treasure. Whenever I donate stuff, I feel bad that I'm giving stuff I don't want, but who knows who else might want it, or what they might be able to do with it? As for worn out clothes, I'm pretty sure that the DI sends unwearable items (even if they're only missing a button) to the Church's Humanitarian Square where they grind them up and make army-style blankets out of the fibers.

Jennifer said...

Environmentalism aside, we are to be wise stewards of all we are given. If we give in to the American mentality that it's okay to consume, throw away and consume some more, we're not really being wise stewards, are we?

MamaChef (JM) said...

I have found some amazing finds over the years. I love to peruse the music and books, and dishes. We set #1 child up great by hitting DI! He ended up with great dishes for college.