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Column: Finders Keepers – A Guide to Thrifting Success

by Aya Poirier ’21

Thrift and consignment shops have a lot of benefits that extend far beyond that once or twice yearly opportunistic trip to the local Goodwill. It’s a great way to save money on anything you need. Besides clothing, you can find some amazing things shopping in second-hand stores, such as home decor, supplies for hobbies, designer bags, and more. As the saying goes – one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Here are some reasons why people incorporate thrifting into their life or lives and why it wouldn’t be a bad idea to do so too.  

Let’s start with the most obvious reason – everything is so cheap! Why pay more for something brand new when you can get the same item, or something better, gently used for so much less? Finding items marked for cheap which were originally twenty times as much is such a great feeling, and the best part is you can buy a lot more than you could otherwise afford. You can also find great quality items when thrifting. Most affordable retail stores these days all last five washes before falling apart. It’s a misconception that thrift stores are only filled with worn out things no one wants. Thrift and consignment shops sometimes have brand new items with tags still attached and so many other things in great condition. If it has survived wearing and washing before ending up on a thrift store rack, it’s probably well-made.  

Although the benefits seem to outweigh the losses, shopping at a thrift store isn’t as easy as it may look. It takes a lot of patience, rummaging, and determination. Stores can get crowded and most of the time things are not organized. Navigating through the racks can be overwhelming and frustrating, but here are some tricks to know beforehand so you don’t run into these issues.  

The location of a store is very important when it comes to thrifting. Generally, the stores in nicer parts of town have better selections. They are well organized and tend to have many designer brands. Start by exploring different areas and check out a few shops. Once you find the ones you love, you won’t be able to pass by without looking inside.

Timing is also key. If you want to beat everyone to the good stuff, ask your local store when they typically restock their shelves. That’s when you know you’re looking at all their options. Stores also have different types of specials and deals on various days of the week. For example, Goodwill and Salvation Army offer discounts of 50% on certain colored tags on certain days.  

Now that you know the basics of thrifting, you’ll know everything you need to know to have a successful trip. Happy hunting!

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