Thrift Shopping 101
Buying second hand seems like it's a ton of work for not a lot of reward, when in fact it's the complete opposite! I find thrifting to be super fun and so worth it! Some people thrift to save money, support a local business, or to cut down on waste. I do it for all of those things.
You with definitely save some bucks without much trouble at all. Most clothing items at a typical Goodwill cost $3-$10. That's a steal especially if you are used to paying full price on name brands. You can go to the mall and easily pay over $500 on nothing at all. It has become such a scam paying full price for basically a label. A Calvin Klein sweatshirt is no different from one at Walmart. ANd honestly, they were probably made in the same Chinese factory where women are paid almost nothing for 12 hours. Read more about Ethical Fashion/Products in this blog post.
Supporting your local thrift shop or Goodwill is a great thing to do. I know that Goodwill employs people with disabilities and in low income areas. I am sure other second hand stores have similar motos as well.
Cutting down waste is a big one and buying second hand will greatly lower your waste no problem. It is so ridiculous how fast trends change how much people buy into them. The only reason we have 'trends' is because advertisers/companies want to make more money selling you "new" and "trendy" clothes that everyone has/wants. So to fit in, you feel pressured to get the newest distressed jeans, most colorful swimsuit, and fur lined coat. But the sad thing is, those items will not be "cool" next season. So you never wear them again. All these unwanted clothes get piled up in our closets. It's great that we are able to donate them (I have been doing that for years now) to local thrift shops but there is plenty of clothing on this planet for every single person to have a decent wardrobe. But these big brands like H&M, forever 21, and Victoria Secret, are still constantly making new trends and aren't planning on stopping any time soon. So the best way for us ethical shoppers to get our message across to these big brands is to stop buying from them. It's fine if you own some of their clothes now, it's not going to help to get rid of them. Remember, you vote with your dollar so do your research on brands before you buy directly from them.
Tips + Tricks
Thrifting really isn't hard at all. It is quite enjoyable in my opinion and super fun to do with friends! The only thing you really have to learn is the best second hand stores in your area. There are five or six thrift stores in my area and only two of them are really good. Some of them are closer to the city so more people get the good stuff first. I like to go further from the city to get the best finds. They are usually stocked up with name brands and items in good condition.
Each of my Goodwills are stocked with clothing, shoes, housewares, and toys. But some thrift shops only have clothing or have a better kitchen section than others. Just keep that in mind when you are looking for something specific.
Always try on. It's a pain and kind of gross but you never know what is going to fit and isn't. I usually am a size for in pants but I have found jeans that fit both from the smaller sized area and larger sized area. I always look in the sizes closest to mine both smaller and larger because of that reason. Again, you never know what you might find. Clothing that ends up at thrift stores can be a little funky and have weird sizing so keep that in mind.
Look in places where you least expect to find good things. I love shopping in the mens section. I always find perfectly oversized sweatshirts and t-shirts. There are also some cool vintage styled flannels hiding in there almost every time I go.
Shopping the housewares section is really fun and you can get some great deals in there. I have found so many unique cake pans and baking trays there it's unbelievable. You can sometimes find a nice pot or pan or dish set. If you use canning jars like I do, then getting them second hand is the way to go. They are ridiculously cheap and perfectly good to use in your zero waste pantry ;)
I also suggest checking out thrift shops everywhere you go! When I go on a trip, one of the first things I look up is the closest secondhand store. It is so fun to see what kinds of styles and types of items each city has. When I went to Florida, I was able to go to the local Goodwill and found an amazing find! Read that blog post to see what is was ;)
Overall, buying secondhand is such a rewarding thing, especially when you find a great item. It is fun to go on Pinterest to get some outfit inspo and see what you can find. But aside from the fun factor, it is such a good cause to support. You aren't only saving money, you are helping people in getting jobs, and cutting down on your waste. It's a win, win, win ;)
Watch this video (above) to see exactly what my game plan is when I head to the thrift store! Usually there is a list invloed ;) But of course I find some things that aren't on that said list. I get side tracked hehe. I just need to look in every rack!