Inside: Here you’ll find 5 compelling reasons to buy used and shop at thrift stores.
I love shopping at thrift stores and buying used, but that hasn’t always been the case. In fact, I used to think it was kind of gross. Why would I willingly bring an item in my home or wear a top that used to belong to a total stranger?
It wasn’t until I became a new mom roughly 11 years ago, that I began to reconsider my preconceived ideas about buying used. It took me all of 72 hours of motherhood to realize what a giant waste of money it can be to buy brand new clothing for growing, tiny humans bent on staining everything they wear. I seemed the more money I spent, the more likely they were to end up destroyed.
By the time my firstborn rounded the corner on one full year of life, I had officially become a thrifting convert. What began as a means to obtain cheap clothing my kids could ruin, has now morphed into a preference for buying used whenever possible.
From flannels, jeans and wine glasses, to coffee mugs and kids’ clothes, buying used is my favorite way to purchase new (to me) items.
1. Reducing Waste
Buying used instead of brand new gives stuff (much of it in excellent condition) another chance to be useful while also reducing waste. The reality is everything we own will one day become trash. Maybe not tomorrow, or five years from now. Even if a few of your things get passed down to your children’s, children’s, children, eventually, it’s all going to end up as trash at some point. Every item you thrift instead of buying brand new is one less item you’re adding to the earth.
I don’t consider myself a zero-waste expert (or even a zero-waste person for that matter), but buying used is one way that our family has shifted our habits in a way that reduce waste in a sustainable way.
2. Find One-of- a-Kind Items
When you shop for vintage and thrifted items, you never know what you’ll find. What you do find, however, is often likely to be quite unique. Midcentury furniture, one-of-a-kind wall art, century old hardware, and tops from the 80’s (which have somehow managed to become a hot commodity these days -don’t get me started).
If you want home decor or new-ish clothes that are unique to you, thrifting is absolutely the way to go.
3. Support Charity
Many thrift stores operate in a way that the money you spend there, directly supports a charitable organization such as children’s homes and rescue missions. When you shop at those thrift stores, you are helping to support those charities.
The same goes for donating your gently used, excess. items. The items donated to the Lansing City Rescue Mission are sold to help fund the mission. When you declutter your home, look for local thrift stores with a mission you believe in. In my experience it will help you donate even more than you would have otherwise.
4. The Fun of It
I’m aware that not everybody loves thrifting as much as I do. In fact, very few of my IRL friends love it as much as I do. But for me, thrifting garage sales, antique stores and thrift stores is a legitimate form of self-care. It’s just fun, even when I don’t buy a thing.
It’s a similar experience to wandering down the beaches of northern Michigan looking for Petoskey stones or scouring the forest floor during the spring for morel mushrooms. Each glance offers a new opportunity to uncover a treasure. Whether it be looking for pack-in-plays for a mom in need, golf shirts for my nephew, wicker chair for my niece, or unique, vintage coffee mugs, I find so much joy in the looking.
5. Cost Savings
The money you’ll save is probably the most obvious reason to shop thrift stores first. I’ve always loved bargain hunting and sale hopping. The trouble with shopping retail for great deals is that those “deals” aren’t necessarily deals. It’s marketing. The store has simply manufactured a “deal” so you’ll feel like you’re saving some cash, possibly even encouraging you to stock-up on items you never went in for in the first place.
It Takes Patience
One of the biggest hurdles to buying used is our lack of patience. Amazon has made it ridiculously easy to not only easily find what we need, but to also have it delivered in a day. Buying used takes a little more time and patience.
While there are plenty of online thrift stores, often times, the best deals are sitting on the shelves at the local thrift store down the street from you. I want to encourage you to make the trip your local thrift stores and see what they have. You just may be surprised by the number of items sitting on those shelves waiting for a new home.
Our spatula just broke. Ordering a new one would have gotten us that spatula delivered the very next day, however, I’m confident that adopting a hardly used spatula from our local thrift store will save us money, reduce waste, and support a cause we believe in. I’ll make time for that.
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