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March 18, 2015

Why I Thrift (and why you should too!)

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t identify “thrift” as a verb.  I’ve always thrifted…to the point where it’s never seemed weird that most of my belongings once belonged to someone else.

When I was little, my family thrifted to save money…because we didn’t have much of it to go around.  My mom bought up old dressers and made them new again with a little paint.  In junior high, eager to channel the preppy look from the movie Clueless, my sister and I bought calf-length plaid skirts from the 80’s and rehemmed them into stylish minis.  In high school, my “look” was defined by vintage bell bottoms, butterfly collar shirts, and vintage tees.  My bedroom was decorated with 70’s retro furniture in avocado and orange.  All of this was from –you guessed it– the thrift store.

Remember when having a cell phone was a big deal?

Remember when having a cell phone was a big deal?

Fast forward to now.  I’m a grownup.  I have my own income and could easily choose to spend my money on the latest looks my closest fast fashion retailer has to offer.  I could make a run to IKEA and get all the Swedish particle board I desire.  But I don’t.  And I don’t think I ever will.

I can spend less and have more.

When I break a wine glass, I can either buy a new one for a few bucks (new) or fifty cents (thrifted).  I can spend hundreds of dollars on a dining room table (new) or 40 (at Goodwill).  And I somehow always manage to find something stylish on the $1 clearance rack.

All of these savings add up, which frees up my disposable income for more fun things, like travel and good food — the things I value.

I’m helping the environment.

If you’re trying to live an eco-friendly lifestyle, buying secondhand when you can just makes sense.  You’re keeping items out of the landfill by making good use of what is still useable.  Keep in mind that any time something new is made in a factory, there’s tons of pollution associated with it.  And when you think about all the items we use every day that are made in sweatshops under terrible conditions for the workers making them, it’s nice to know you’re not feeding these unethical industries.

My style is very much my own.

In a world where every design element seems so regulatory and curated, it’s fun to be eclectic.  My home will never look like a Crate & Barrel ad, and I don’t want it to.  I don’t want to go through racks of the same shirt that everyone else is wearing.  Instead, I get to choose from a bunch of totally different things!  I can gravitate to what I personally like, not what some retailer’s design team has told me to like.

I’m forced to be creative.

The most frequent compliment I get is that I’m creative.  A lifetime of thrifting has had a huge impact on that!  I don’t just see things for what they are, but for what they can be…what I can make them become (great for DIY projects…terrible for relationships).  I don’t just see that old weathered rocking chair as a piece of junk.  I see my future awesome teal & decoupaged accent piece for my front porch that all my neighbors will envy.  I don’t see that frumpy 80’s frock as something that should be tossed out, but instead see the beauty in a fun print or a really soft fabric.  You can see more of this on my blog, ReFashionista.

The power of creativity compels me!

The power of creativity compels me!

I hope this inspires you to give thrift store shopping a try if you haven’t yet.  And if you haven’t been in a while, I hope this reignites your passion for thrifting and that you hit up your local Goodwill this weekend.