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Thrifting 101

Updated: Jun 15, 2021

Thrifting is essentially buying a used item for a lower price. Physical thrift stores and online platforms provide spaces where selling and buying pre-loved items is possible.

These past few years have observed the regeneration of thrifting into a trend that many teenagers and young adults do. This occurrence could be related to the increased awareness of environmental issues and economic justifications (buying thrift clothes are more affordable and accessible for teens to experiment with their fashion).

The fashion industry is known for its exploitative means of accumulating resources. Cotton is the most used material in the fashion industry. However, pesticides for cotton cultivation are known for their dangers to farmers and agricultural lands. The amount of water required for the industry is also massive—and we haven’t even talked about the amount of energy needed!

The fashion industry requires more energy than both the aviation and shipping industry combined! This industry is responsible for 10% of carbon emissions produced annually.

With this in mind, thrifting provides a more sustainable alternative. It is also a substitute for sustainable brands that have a higher price than you may afford.

So, we’re here to give you a little Thrifting 101.

Thrifting pattern shirt

Look up thrift stores near you

This first point is relatively straightforward. Before you start your clothes hunting, you should know where the thrift stores are near you. This way, if you couldn’t find the item you were looking for in one store, you could try the other. If you’re in America, you could start looking from here to see the best thrift store in your state!

List what you want

This point may seem mundane, but it is a good first step to start your thrift! With a list, you won’t feel as lost amid the clothing racks. Remember that thrift stores sell second-hand items, so there is a possibility that you won’t get the exact item you wanted. However, it may help you eliminate the types of clothes you may or may not want in your closet with a clear list on hand!

Listing down the items you want can also help you become a more responsible buyer! Even with a list of things that we need, we still peek at other items that interest us. Imagine if we didn’t have that list in the first place! We may just end up buying clothes that we don’t need.

Within this list, you should also put in your standard quality check:

  • See if the material is what you wanted: would it be itchy if you wear it? Is it still durable for extended usage?

  • You could also look for stains: are there coffee or ink stains? Is this something that you can recover yourself, or does this stain seem permanent?

  • Another factor is size: does this fit me? Could I modify it to fit me?

  • The last thing you may want to look at is the potential: would this item look good in my closet? Could I ‘flip’ these clothes into something trendier or something I would wear?


Thrift store

Budget is always an underlying factor of what we buy. If we think an item is too expensive, we won’t buy it.

Usually, you won’t encounter these problems with thrift stores. However, you should still budget the limit of your expenses on that day based on the list you have made. For example, if a piece of clothing averages around $8 and you want to buy five items, you may want to put your budget of the day to $50 just to have a bit of leniency. Doing a small investigation of the average prices in your local thrift store may help you budget better!

You should also prepare your checks and balances: if an item is pricier than what I want it to be, do I need it, and would I sacrifice another item off my cart?

Be Patient

Patience is key in thrift shopping. When you arrive at your local shop, you may not see the item you are looking for at once, but that’s the beauty of thrifting! You get to check out different clothes, which may open you up to new styles!

Thrifting may take hours. You will be looking through racks to find the item you want. You may even go to another store to look for it. So, you need to make sure that you are free the whole day when you decide to go thrifting!

These are only a few tips that may help you start your thrift adventure. With time, you will have your own experience and have your tips to share!

You got the basics down. So why not start your thrifting journey now!

P.S. You can also read more about why you should see thrift here!

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