Why YOU Should Go Thrift Shopping!


Calista Freeland

The recent stay-at-home order makes it more difficult to go in-person for the next couple of weeks. However, there are still other ways to thrift online, and in-person, if possible. Here is why YOU should go thrift shopping! (Scroll down to see tips and ways to thrift online if you are already convinced!)

Some thrift stores in our area:

Reasons why you should thrift:

  • It’s cheap

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Let’s be honest here: we’re high school students, so most of us aren’t rolling in cash. If you are like me, you still want to put together outfits, or at least find comfortable clothes at a price you can afford. For example, at Goodwill (by Spencer’s Market and the Dollar Store), all clothes are under $10. Often, some clothes are specially marked with a particular tag that signifies that there is a discount (on an item that is already inexpensive!). Personally, I have found clothing from brands such as Calvin Klein, North Face, Guess, Adidas, and many more.

For a list of typical Goodwill prices, go here. (It can often vary from store to store)

  • It’s ethical and sustainable

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Fast fashion (such as clothing from Forever 21, Fashion Nova- any brand that sells clothing at cheap prices and warp speeds) is another way to buy cheap clothes, but it’s unethical and unsustainable. According to a 2020 survey, 93% of brands surveyed by the Fashion Checker aren’t paying garment workers a living wage. According to the Ellen McArthur Foundation in 2017, more than $500 billion of value is lost every year due to clothing underutilization and the lack of recycling. They use “open-loop production cycles that pollute water and land,” according to the New York Times, and they are responsible for a whopping 8% of global carbon emissions. That might not seem like a lot, but it can make a BIG difference.

  • Many support important causes

 hands, couple, love, hold, handshake, support | Pikist

Many thrift stores are non-profit or donate a portion of their profits to important causes. Here are a few nearby examples, but there are many more!

Central Coast Super Thrift Store– Supports those in need with all proceeds from the thrift store going directly to helping the homeless.

Achievement House– Supports adults with intellectual and physical disabilities by providing living services and vocational training

New Image Thrift Store– Supports victims of domestic violence abuse by donating a portion of their proceeds to Domestic Violence Solutions and provide goods to their clients

  • It supports small businesses

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While I absolutely LOVE Goodwill, it is also a good idea to go to smaller thrift stores. Often, they have more eclectic finds and the staff are typically amazing. During times like this in which many small businesses are struggling to stay open, it is important to support them when you can!

Thrifting tips and how to thrift online:

In-person tips:

  1. Make a plan of what you are looking for. It’s great to browse, but thrift stores have a ton of different items and different brands. It can be overwhelming and confusing, and you may miss out on something amazing. Be familiar with typical designs used on brands that you like, as well as common fabrics. Most rows are organized by type of item and color, so head there first, you may find other items you like along the way!
  2. Talk to the workers. If you are looking for something in particular and you are having trouble finding it, they may not have it, or it may just be difficult to find. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Be sure to be respectful and understanding.
  3. Look at pricing online. Bring only a few dollars over the amount of money you need. If you are an impulse buyer like myself, this will ensure that you buy only what you want, and don’t make any unnecessary purchases that won’t be put to use.
  4. Talk to your friends! If you know someone who has been there already, ask them about pricing and whether they usually have things that you will like. If possible, go with a friend (or due to COVID-19, a family member) to double the amount of searching ability. As they say, two heads are better than one!

Online Thrifting:

eBay: What can’t I say about eBay? They have everything! Go to Buy Now and sort from the lowest price+ shipping costs to find deals that will last. I love auctions, but often they are difficult to win and the prices rise quickly. If you are into vintage accessories, search “vintage (name of the type of accessory) lot” to find great deals on bulk amounts of vintage items. (Or, if you want modern accessories, simply search “lot” after the name of the accessory you want to buy).

ThredUp: It’s a little pricy, but if you love designer and trendy items, it’s a great way to get them at an affordable price. It’s more trustworthy than other sites because they are all being sold from the same company, as opposed to individual sellers. However, you may not get as good of a deal.

Goodwill: Worried about the pandemic? Goodwill has an online website that allows you to bid on items from Goodwill. It is very similar to eBay, with some items having the option to “Buy Now.” Most of these items are expensive and have high prices (although much lower than their original costs), so keep that in mind!

Depop/Poshmark: These sites are fashion-focused and have individual sellers. The items are trendy and discounted, but the prices are usually fixed. You can leave comments on Poshmark and attempt a lower offer, but since Poshmark takes 20% of the money a seller makes and there is a processing fee, most sellers will decline these offers.