Finding Gold in Thrift Stores

Erika_Schlenker NYAP NYArtsTop 5 Reasons to Shop at Thrift Stores

By Erika Schlenker, Hope College ’16

There are many things I have grown to love about New York City, like the diversity and the convenience of nearly everything, but my favorite thing can be taken home with me. I have discovered the magic of thrift stores and I don’t want to shop anywhere else.

If you’re skeptical about the high praise I throw at stores that sell everything secondhand, consider my top five reasons to shop at thrift stores:

Erika_Schelnker NYC NYARTS

1. Prices are cheap.

You’re shopping in a sea of used items after all, so of course the prices will be less than if you were buying new, but sometimes you’ll get extra lucky. You can find lots of clothes and other items with the original tags still attached, but they’ll be marked down by over half of retail price. Cha-ching! More money in your wallet.

2. You’re supporting a good cause.

The amount of sales that thrift stores contribute to charities can vary between stores, but most of them support some type of cause like the AIDs Healthcare Foundation (Out of the Closet Thrift Store) or individuals with barriers to employment (Goodwill). Knowing that your money is going somewhere good means it won’t hurt to spend a little more cash on that pair of vintage cowboy boots you were eyeing.

3. Recycle and say no to unethical production.

When you buy clothes new from major retailers, you may be unknowingly supporting unethical production. Brands including H&M and Nike have been busted recently for their unfair treatment of workers, and buying from them would be supporting the problem. No items in thrift stores belong to such brands anymore, therefore you can purchase them with a good conscience. Even better, you are recycling and giving new life to items that would otherwise most likely end up in a landfill.

NYAP Erika_Schlenker Hope_College

4. Unique items = unique style!

Almost everything you find is one-of-a-kind, so there are no limits to how you can express your own unique self through thrifty style. Plus, no one else will have that hippo watch or that handmade needlepoint satchel. Buy them both. You’re special.

5. It’s fun!

Each thrift store is one giant surprise—you never know what you’re going to find. The hunt through every item on every rack, the dig through piles of old stuff—it’s worth every second when you find the perfect thing you were looking for (or didn’t know you were looking for). Ah, sweet satisfying victory.

I like to think there are infinitely more reasons why thrift shopping is a treasure that can’t be beat, but I encourage you to find out more for yourself! Do a quick Yelp search for thrift stores in your area, grab some cash and maybe some friends, and head on out. Even if you don’t find anything worth buying, I guarantee you’ll get a kick out of one thing or another. Thrift stores are gold.

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