Challenged by the budget of a poor college student and reluctant to support mass production of garments followed by unethical treatment of workers, I went thrifting (shopping at second-hand stores) for the first time in freshman year of college. I admit that I used to have an aversion for thrift stores because not only am I super allergic to dust, I have a sensitive sense of smell. But after finding some of my favorite pieces of all time, I confess that I have become a thrift store junkie.


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<Image: from Thrift Town in San Leandro>


You should thrift because..


1. Everything is so cheap it can’t possibly hurt you. In addition to garments, you can also find books, furniture, home decor products at a price simply unbeatable. Most of my furniture during college days came from thrift stores and they were absolutely worth it. As for garments, you can play around and follow the trend without hurting your bank account. Did you know? Even thrift shops have sales! I love those “half-off everything” days.


2. One of a kind items. Don’t you just hate bumping into someone wearing the same exact outfit as you? That’s my issue with mass production. I want to be different and rare, don’t you? It will be extremely difficult to see someone wearing what you found at a thrift store. Your finds will be unique and therefore even more awesome.


3. Recycling matters. We make so much clothes, most that go to waste. What for? I think consumerism is great. It keeps the economy going. But sometimes we get too lost in the pleasure of spending that we forget about the horrible consequences behind production. Sweatshops, animal abuse, landfill overflow are all caused by mass production and suppliers continuously forced to reach corporations’ demands. “According to Goodwill, about 23.8 billion pounds of clothing end up in U.S. landfills each year. Currently, 166 community-based Goodwill organizations in the U.S. and Canada divert more than 1.5 billion pounds of clothing and textiles a year from landfills and, in the process, create job-training opportunities for more than 1.5 million people annually.” (Egolf, K., AdAge)


4. You are spending on a good cause. Most thrift stores are charity organizations. They donate most of their profit and whatever didn’t sell will be sent to those in need. Yes, you can make a difference. Thrift stores would go out of business without shoppers/donors like you! You certainly do not have to buy from thrift shops if you’re not too convinced about the benefits. Even so, please donate your clothes/furniture/books/etc. Never throw away unwanted things because someone and the mother earth will appreciate it.


Every other month, I go through this ritual where I empty out my closet. I sell some of the clothes and donate most. I believe in the power of recycling and giving, you should too! Ever since I got myself into thrifting, half of my closet has been replaced with thrifted items. Experience the joy of finding treasures, saving money, and spending for a good cause all at once.


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