Why Thrifting Matters
I’ve been around thrifting all my life. I'm the youngest of three children with twenty-nine months between us. And growing up mom never passed up a sweet deal from the secondhand store. She taught me to thrift shamelessly and be proud of what I’ve been able to snag; no need to pay full price if you don't have to.
Fast forward fifty-two years and five kids later, we're very diligent in making sure that the majority of our clothing and household items are obtained secondhand. Whether it’s from a store, online marketplace, family member or friends, it’s safe to say that an abundance of our stuff is pre-loved.
One of the most important things I’ve learned about thrifting is that it’s so much more than just saving money. There are many reasons why buying secondhand is the way to go; from the impact it has on the environment to the impact it has on our local communities.
- COMMUNITY IMPACT
MANY SHOPS SUPPORT LOCAL CHARITIES
A lot of places you’ll find donate a portion of their profits to local charities and causes. They also create jobs and benefit impoverished areas.
CHANCE TO SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESSES
Apart from the big-name thrift stores like Savers and Goodwill, there are numerous locally owned shops that could use the business! Likewise, sites like Poshmark, Mercari and Ebay, to name a few, allow people to sell vintage and secondhand items.
CHANCE TO DONATE TO THOSE IN NEED
A lot of stores offer 50% off on certain colored tags or days of the week. There are also holiday sales such as Labor Day, Memorial Day, etc. in which all clothing items are 50% off regardless of their tag color. These sales are a great time to stock up to get through a few months, but it’s also a good opportunity to pick up a few cheap items that can be donated to a local shelter.
- ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT
LESS WATER CONSUMPTION
It takes approximately 2,700 gallons of water to produce a single cotton shirt, which is enough for one person to drink in 2 1/2 years. Cotton production places stress on surrounding ecosystems and requires the use of harmful pesticides.
LESS CLOTHING IN LANDFILLS
The U.S. alone throws out roughly 10 million tons of clothing each year, which can sit in landfills for up to 200 years. Donating used items drastically reduces waste, while buying secondhand helps to reduce demand.
Fashion is one of the top polluting industries in the world. Nylon production produces nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Many factories also dump chemicals used for dying fabrics into nearby river systems, creating dangerous and uninhabitable conditions.
- ETHICAL IMPACT
A CHANCE TO HELP WORKERS AROUND THE WORLD
Many companies locate their production facilities in impoverished countries in an attempt to keep their costs as low as possible. As such, many people being forced into harsh and unfair work conditions, including children. And some brands may argue that this creates jobs for those in need, the wages are minimal and often not even enough to cover even basic needs.
On top of all that, conditions are unsafe and potentially hazardous to work in. Workers are continuously being exposed to various chemicals and dyes that can have adverse health effects.
Now I’m not saying that buying secondhand is going to make these issues go away completely, but it will certainly help to be educated and aware of where your purchases are truly coming from.
- FINANCIAL IMPACT
LOWER PRICES COMPARED TO DEPARTMENT STORES
Typically, most secondhand items are remarkably reduced in price. This includes many high-end brands that may not be affordable otherwise.
BUDGET-FRIENDLY WAY TO ACQUIRE “FANCIER” ITEMS
Whether you’re a single mom, have a big family, a college student, or simply trying to save some cash, thrift stores are a great place to start. If you’re in the market of any larger ticket items; furniture, bedding, dress clothes, and even electronics are all things that are fairly easy to come across secondhand.
HIGHER QUALITY ITEMS FOR LESS
Believe it or not brand-name items are quite common in thrift stores. And buying a higher quality shirt for half the price is better than buying a product of fast fashion that’s going to wear out after you wash it twice.
- PERSONAL IMPACT
THE HUNT FOR “BURIED TREASURE”
When thrifting, you never know what you’re going to discover. It's like finding buried treasure deep within a shelf or crammed between clothing racks.
All THE NOSTALGIA
If today's fashion really isn't your thing, or you’re looking to take a trip down Memory Lane, buying secondhand gives you the opportunity to explore products from numerous different decades.
Thrifting gives you the opportunity to venture out of your comfort zone and find fun and jazzy stuff. It's also less of a price commitment, so there’s more wiggle room to pick and choose what trends and looks you want to try out... Without breaking the bank...
What are some of your prized thrift finds?