I grew up shopping in thrift stores. I remember my mother searching for me as I hid in between clothing racks, her cart piled high with colorful finds and the happy expression on her face when she found both my hiding spot and the perfect outfit for me. I learned during these excursions about the thrill of finding items marked for $2.00, with an original price tag of one hundred times that! It was and still is amazing what people both give and throw away long before their usefulness is through. While as a child I didn’t have much patience for shopping trips of any kind, I still found most of my adolescent clothes secondhand. My mother also created elegant outfits for her tango classes and hilarious Halloween costumes out of what she found at our local thrift stores.
When I got older and we had a bit more money, we stopped thrift shopping as much and started mall shopping. While these trips seemed “easier” in some ways, they never had the same sense of adventure, not to mention that the cost was far greater both monetarily and to my sense of sanity.
After entering college I luckily rediscovered the joy of thrift or consignment stores and yard sales. At that time I was shopping secondhand for the deals and eccentric outfits I could find, but later I came to appreciate all my used, but “new to me” items for the greater purpose they served. I realized that every thrift store, consignment shop, op shop, online secondhand retailer, yard sale and refurbished electronic store provided a secondhand haven for the millions of pounds of clothing and household items that would otherwise be headed for the dump. I learned that by thrift shopping I could save still useful and valuable items from being heaped into our overflowing landfills and save money and natural resources by doing so.