thriftstore shopping

I have been in need of new shirts for a while now but I am too stubborn to buy them. I hate spending money on myself. Don't get me wrong, love buying stuff, and I love shopping, but I hate the effect on my bank account. I have procrastinated shirts for a long time but yesterday I took the plunge and went to Goodwill. $16.xx later, I now have three new shirts and my husband has three new books.
the husband took one of the books with him to work

I know that for most people this is an awesome deal, but to tell you the truth, I hated spending that much money on shirts. Why?

They are used shirts. It is not that I have a problem wearing used clothing. I will gladly accept hand-me-downs or shop at thrift stores. I guess the problem is that I associate used clothing with yard sale prices of $1 or so, and when I go to Goodwill I have to spend almost $4 on a shirt that has been worn by who knows how many people for who knows how long! I could go to a regular store and get a brand new shirt on clearance for that price or close to it. So why did I do it?
photo courtesy of GettyImages

They are used shirts. I have been working hard to reduce waste and have really been making an effort to buy used...or at least not buy something new when I can re-purpose something I already have. It takes a lot of resources to produce goods. To produce a single t-shirt it takes 766 gallons of water and 1/3 pound of pesticides. When I buy a used shirt, that water and those pesticides have already been used. The fact that it has already been worn and washed many times also means that all the pesticide residue has already been washed out. Score! Sure, it would be nice to be able to have all organic clothing to begin with, but then again, more resources still have to be used to produce those. Used clothing means less oil being used because clothes are not being shipped across the country or globe.

So have I convinced you yet to buy used clothing? If you have never done it, these are my tips.

  • Locate all the thrift stores in your area. Look in the phone book, ask friends, Google it. The Thrift Shopper has thousands of stores listed and you can search by location.
  • Don't rush. Thrift stores can be a goldmine, but they can also house a lot of junk. They are an eclectic mix of everything and you have to really take your time to comb through them to find what you want. 
photo courtesy of GettyImages
    •  Don't be too specific. It is perfectly fine, if not preferred, to go into a thrift store with a general idea of what you want. But going in with too detailed of a want may discourage you. You never know what you are going to find, so if you go in looking for a purple polka dotted, puffy sleeved, pink size large petite shirt that has four buttons and lace trim you will probably not find what you want. Instead you should go in with a list such as "pink short-sleeve shirt" or "button-down."
      • Start looking. Some stores, just like department stores, are better organized than others.  You may find clothes organized by color, gender, size, or not at all. Don't be discouraged. Not all will be that way and you will soon find the ones you like or overlook the chaos. 
      photo courtesy of GettyImages
      • Check it out. Once you have found that perfect item, make sure to inspect it well. I found a beautiful shirt yesterday but after picking it up and carrying it around the store I noticed that the hemming was coming undone in one spot at the bottom. I certainly wasn't going to pay for that. Look for messed up stitching, holes, and other imperfections that could ruin your find.
      • Try it on if you like. If the idea of trying on someone else's clothes that haven't been washed yet doesn't bother you, by all means, ask if there is a dressing room for you to try it on. Most clothes look much better on a person than they do on a hanger. Conversely, a shirt may look nice on the hanger but not so good on you. Bigger items like jackets can be tried on in the store while shopping. At the very least you can hold an item up to you to get an idea of how it would look.
       photo courtesy of GettyImages
        • Check out the other departments. Thrift stores aren't just goldmines for clothes, they also sell books, toys, electronics, housewares, and many other items. But the same rules apply to other items as they do to clothes. Do not go in expecting to find X book if you know you are going to be disappointed if you don't. Inspect the item for holes, cracks, tears, and other imperfections. Many stores even have places for you to plug in electronics to test out before you buy.
        I  hope that next time you are in the market for new clothes, books, or any other knick-knack that you will check out one of your local thrift stores. Help reduce waste while saving money. Now THAT is green &  thrifty and Works For Me.

        While Goodwill is not my favorite thrift store, it was what was convenient for me yesterday and I am still glad I went. But tell me something, am I weird for thinking that Goodwill is too expensive? Am I that cheap or I am I not alone in this? ;)

          1 comment:

          1. "But tell me something, am I weird for thinking that Goodwill is too expensive? Am I that cheap or I am I not alone in this?"

            You're not alone. I'm use to the dirt cheap yard sale finds too but I also love thrift stores (and craigslist). What makes me feel better about it is I first shop at the thrift store that give proceeds to the local children's hospital...then the other thrift stores. I also try freecycle first most times.



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