To Thrift or Not to Thrift

…like that’s even a question.

Okay, for me–an avowed thrift-vangelist who dresses almost entirely* in thrift store finds and who believes EVERYbody can find SOMEthing that’ll make their heart beat faster at their local Goodwill or Salvation Army–it’s not a question.  But maybe for you, it’s a legit quandary–maybe you’re curious about thrifting or looking for a more economical or ethical way to shop, but the rows upon rows of donated clothing seem overwhelming.  Or maybe you’re wondering how that thrifty coworker of yours always seems to find the coolest pieces at the second hand store while you never seem to find anything but fuchsia muumuus and old lady loafers in that weird greige color.  Well, this post is for you–to help you determine if thrift shopping is for YOU.



-You have some time available to comb the thrift racks–although you probably don’t need nearly as much time as you imagine.  If a full-time working mom with a side gig (me) can do it, you can too!  I’ll teach you my super-secret time-saving strategies to help you along.

-You have some patience–again, probably not as much as you think you need.  If you have survived a typical mall shopping experience without hurting anyone, you can most assuredly thrift.

-You live near(ish) a couple decent thrift stores–places that have some good quality clothes and rotate stock fairly regularly.

-You find that working inside parameters in the search for a great wardrobe helps you get creative.  Kind of like being a vegetarian and having 5 menu choices instead of 25, some folks find a limited offering helpful.

-You enjoy the thrill of the HUNT.



-You have no time for any kind of shopping (other than the I-know-this-already-fits-me-I’ll-order-5-more-online kind).
Shout out to Gillian for pointing out that you can do this on Ebay and selecting the filter for “pre-owned” if you only have time to shop online but don’t want to add to the fast fashion mill.
Shout out also to Ashley for directing us to Goodwill’s auction site.  Same idea.

-You have no patience.

-You don’t live close enough to a decent thrift store to make the drive worthwhile.  If this is the case, you could probably still supplement your retail-bought wardrobe with some awesome pieces purchased on occasional thrift forays.

-You crave endless choice; having to sort through every clothing retailer available online for THE perfect t-shirt intimidates you less than facing just 3 racks–total–of blouses at the thrift store.

-You try it out a few times (following the pointers in Thrifting Done Right) and it’s just not fun.  The last thing I’d want is someone out there thrifting who just hated it–unless you have no money and no choice but to thrift, in which case I hope this blog helps make it more bearable.

-You are on an extreme of “typical” sizing–either the low or high end of height, weight, bust size, etc.  Many thrift stores have plus-sized or petite sections, or just a good range of sizes, period (because people of all sizes donate); but since thrift stores tend to stock what people buy (and therefore donate) most, if you are on the extreme end of a particular scale you may have a hard time finding enough clothes to make full-scale thrift-wardrobing worth your while. Don’t jump ship if you’re excited about thrifting, though–I know folks who supplement or even build most of their wardrobes with thrifted finds using clothes that aren’t as size/height-beholden (e.g. kimonos, maxi dresses, vests, shorts or skirts for the long-legged), repurposing fabrics or clothes they love into something that works for them, or stocking up on accessories/shoes/bags/sunglasses.

*Underwear, bras, socks, running shoes, and bathing suits sold separately.


2 thoughts on “To Thrift or Not to Thrift

  1. I rarely find anything that fits me, clothing-wise, in thrift stores. Pants are always too short and shirts too narrow in the bust. There’s a plus-size thrift store in town that I haven’t visited yet…

    1. WHAT. There is a SPECIFICALLY PLUS-SIZE thrift store in town and you HAVEN’T BEEN?? Do you know how many people would be THRILLED to have such a thing at their fingertips?? Sounds like we need to check it out next time I am in town. :D

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