I shop at thrift stores a lot. It’s kind of a hobby of mine now. I’m not exactly one of those people who bid on pieces of toast with Jesus’ face burned into them on eBay, but I’m certainly a sucker for cool stuff.
I personally know several people who have a difficult time buying used things. Rather than seeing a 1984 Twisted Sister World Tour shirt and saying, “How could someone possibly get rid of that? I need it,” it’s, “Ew, that probably has bugs in it,” and that’s no fun. So here are five reasons why you should shop at thrift stores.
1. You’ll find everything you never knew you needed.
Shopping at thrift stores can be like a blast from the past, and they’re definitely not just for clothes. They’re year-round garage sales. Whether it’s that Nickelodeon alarm clock you used to have as a kid or that sombrero you always dreamed of owning, you might just find something that you can’t resist bringing home with you.
2. It’s great for those who love collecting.
What’s that? You’ve started collecting vinyl and you’ve searched far and wide for that one Barbara Streisand record with no luck? Goodwill has it. You can even help them clear out their backrooms full of Herb Albert records while you’re at it. But seriously, you may get lucky and find a record you really like, so it’s always worth checking.
There’s also all kinds of weird art that may look perfect in your apartment, or one-of-a-kind glassware that could make for its own unique collective set. On a college budget, you can’t really go wrong with a 99 cent stein from a Fort Lauderdale Hooters.
3. You can take on a new style at a low risk.
Thrift stores are also the go-to for your ever-evolving taste in fashion. I’ve noticed that ripped jeans are making a comeback once again. You can find plenty of pairs at Goodwill without having to worry about breaking the bank on clothes you may not wear next year. In fact, you can find virtually any article of clothing with holes in it. I’m no Tim Gunn, but that sounds like multiple layers of high fashion to me.
4. You could make a decent flip.
While I haven’t done this many times myself, it’s not uncommon. Just last year, my roommate Peter and I found a textbook he had used in class the semester prior for 89 cents and ended up selling it to a buy-back company for $45. You won’t make a living out of it, but it adds to the excitement and gives you an incentive to return.
5. The money is going toward a good cause.
Finally, thrift shopping is a great way to give back while at the same time fulfilling your need for an endless amount of new stuff. The Salvation Army is currently raising money to support relief efforts for the recent hurricanes that have recently struck the Southeast as well as the earthquake that hit Mexico earlier this month. Goodwill just celebrated 115 years of giving back to local programs in communities across the country. There’s even a thrift store by my house that raises money specifically for military veterans.
So get out there and find a bargain or two. Better yet, donate those ridiculous, hole-less pairs of jeans that you don’t wear anymore and support local charities without having to spend a dime.