Creative Thrift Stores DO's and DON'Ts

Thrift stores can be a divisive topic. Some people have an innate dislike, or even fear, or these second-hand stores. But if you want to live a more sustainable way of life, it is important to analyse your feelings. When you really think about what they can offer – you might start to think about them in a very different way. 

If you think that you don't 'need' to shop at thrift stores – that you are somehow 'above' them – think again. Thrift store finds are not a compromise. And buying at charitable ones also allows you to donate to a range of worthy causes. 

Even though you only have one shirt, there are so many creative ways to wear it for a different look. You could look trendy all the time with just one piece of clothing, and the key is to mix and match!

 

Why Shop at Thrift Stores?

 

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Shopping at thrift stores is not just a way to make your budget stretch further, or to make ends meet. Buying second hand items is also a great way to reduce waste and live in a way that reduces your negative impact on people and planet.

Some people think of thrift store clothes as somehow tarnished, or worse than things you can buy new. But this is not always the case. Often, the clothes you can find in a thrift store can help you build a beautiful zero waste wardrobe. It will be all the better for being original, and being entirely 'you'. 

Every time you buy new clothes, it is important to remember that those new clothes came at a cost. They do not just have a financial cost. They also cost a lot in terms of energy, water, land and other natural resources. 

By buying into 'fast fashion', people do a lot of harm to our planet, its wildlife, and to those who have to work in an industry that does not always take care of their safety or basic needs. 

By shopping at thrift stores, you can reduce the number of new clothes that are made. And also, of course, are helping to keep clothes in use for longer, and reducing the waste burden on our planet. 

 

 

Mix and matching one dress to create many look.

 

Thrift Store Shopping Dos:

 

  • Think about what you need before you go in. (This can help you find useful items and wade through the rest. It might be helpful to think about how you can begin to create a capsule zero waste wardrobe. Think about the basic clothing items you need and build from there.)
  • But be open to bargains and useful things you find along the way. (Remember, something you find does not have to be used for the same purpose for which it was originally intended. For example, a man's shirt could become a woman's dress, or skirt, for example.)
  • Take your time. Explore all that each establishment has to offer.
  • Be kind and considerate to staff and other shoppers. (A simple smile can go a long way.)
  • Remember to donate unwanted items as well as shopping for things you need. 

 

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One shirt can be used for so many beautiful style.
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Thrift Store Shopping Don'ts:

 

  • Don't be greedy or go overboard. Leave items you don't really need for others.
  • Haggle on price if you don't really need to. Remember, the money often goes to a charity. And even when a thrift store is run as a business, the money they make helps them continue to do the work they do.
  • Reject something just because it might not be as good as new. (Remember, you can repair or upcycle old items, or repurpose something to give them a new lease of life. For example, you can do some simple sewing to repair old clothes. )
  • Don't forget that you can use material in an item, even if you cannot reuse the item itself. For example, you could reuse the wool from an old sweater, even if the sweater itself can no longer be worn. Buttons, trim and other materials can also be reused to make something new.

 

Follow the tips above and you should be able to make the most of your thrift store experience. But remember, the journey to a zero waste wardrobe does not end when you leave the store. While you may well find plenty of clothing that is beautiful and in great condition, you may also need to do a little more work to make them exactly what you want them to be. With a little basic sewing and DIY legwork, you can create a wardrobe perfectly tailored to you, and express your personality through your zero waste wardrobe. 

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