Updated: Jan 18
Why would someone want to shop second hand?
Fast fashion is at an all time high and the environment is taking a hit. Many clothing garments made from fast fashion companies end up in landfills as the clothes are made fast and with cheap materials. The U.S. alone sends about 21billion pounds of textile waste to landfills yearly. To combat this we can shop locally, buy sustainable items that will last longer, do clothing swaps with friends, or (my favourite option) thrift shopping! It’s important for us as consumers to make ethical purchasing choices. This is why I thrift. And why you can start thrifting too!
Here are 10 practical tips to become a better thrifter:
1.Before checking a retail store, check a thrift store
It’s easy to forget that you have the option to shop second hand when you are in need of something new. For example, a few weeks ago I wanted to purchase a new winter coat and instead of buying one brand new I decided to look at Value Village first. I ended up finding one for a great deal, saving myself lots of money! Therefore, I always encourage others to check a thrift store before resorting to a retail store. This can save you a lot of money and definitely put you on your way to becoming a better thrifter and conscious consumer!
2.Set aside time to go to the thrift store
Thrift stores can be overwhelming. The busy environment and the endless clothing racks may scare you from going in. To prevent this, set aside a good amount of uninterrupted time where you can go and just browse. I wouldn’t recommend stopping by on a day where you have a lot going on. Instead, choose a casual day and give yourself at least an hour of time to spend thrifting.
3. Visit frequently
Along with giving yourself a good amount of time to browse through all the clothing racks, I recommend you visit often as thrift stores are constantly switching out their merchandise for new items every week. A secret tip is to call your local thrift store and ask which day they put out new stock. Now you will know what day new arrivals are put on the racks and you can be one of the first to browse through them!
4. Go on discount days
If you are really looking to save a buck visit thrift stores on discount days. Most second hand shops have an email list where you can sign up and be the first to know about upcoming discounts!
5. Dress comfortably
You will be trying a lot of clothes on so I recommend wearing something that is both comfortable for when you’re shopping and something that is easy to slip out of when trying on clothes. A good strategy is to also wear an outfit that you would wear on a regular day-to-day basis; this makes it easy to see if new items will match your favourite wardrobe pieces!
6. Check the mens aisles!
Ladies! This is the single best tip I could give you! The men aisles hoard all the good stuff! Looking for name brand sweaters? They got em! Want vintage Levi jeans? They’re there! Cosy oversized crewnecks? You betcha!
7. Don’t limit yourself to the clothing racks
To truly become a great thrifter don’t limit yourself to just the clothing racks. Thrift stores carry lots of unique and vintage items in the home decor, jewellery, electronic, and accessory aisles!
8. Check every rack, regardless of size
You know how some clothing store sizes differs from others? Where you might be a size small at one and a size medium at another? This is why you need to check every rack, regardless of size. Clothing items can be miss-marked, stretched out, or shrunk.
9. Give every item a chance
Going with the last point, try every article of clothing on. You never know how a piece may fit you. It’s always better to try something on, than to bring it home and find out it doesn’t fit.
10. Lastly, have fun!
Don’t forget to have fun! Bring a friend, your mom, your brother, sister, anybody! Thrift shopping should be an enjoyable way to shop intentionally and eco-friendly.
Christa is a 20-year-old digital creator, micro-blogger, and avid thrift shopper from Windsor Ontario. She advocates for sustainable fashion and encourages conscious and intentional decision-making. On her Instagram account @christa.maria She also discusses topics such as low-waste living and plant-based eating. Christa has been vegan for almost three years now and hopes to inspire others to eat more plant-based. If you are in need of some thrifting, plant-based, or low-waste inspiration check out Christa on Instagram!