Saturday August 17th will provide shoppers across the United States with the chance to take advantage of National Thrift Shop Day and the advantages are very real. The most obvious is the chance to give back to the local community and those in need by helping to fund the work of charities, hospices and other non-profits across the country. This year, thrift stores are projected to generate over $10 billion in revenue and while not all of that will go directly to helping those in need, a great deal of it will and it stands to make a real difference.
The Joys of Thrifting
But there are benefits for the thrift shop customer that go beyond supporting charities. Fashion is famously cyclical and thrift stores often house overlooked vintage items that can spruce up any wardrobe at an affordable cost. They may not be as easy to find as new clothes from a traditional clothes shop or online retailer would be, but the search for the perfect item is part of the joy of the thrift shopping experience. The work put into finding that perfect item makes the reward so much sweeter when it’s finally discovered.
To make matters even better, shopping for clothes at thrift stores doesn’t only help charities and non-profits, it is also good for the environment. Textile waste, which sees clothes end in landfill sites just a few years after they were originally purchased, is a real problem. But recycling those clothes at thrift stores helps to address that problem by giving them a second lease of life, which can double the amount of use items get before they are disposed of, as well as encouraging a recycling culture.
Buying clothes in thrift stores also limits the demand for new clothes. Though we inhabit an increasingly environmentally conscious society, it can be difficult to keep track of all the best environmental practices. As a result, the damage caused by the mass production of clothes across the world has often been overlooked. For example, a fairly astonishing 1800 gallons of water is required to make just one pair of blue denim jeans. That is particularly alarming when the scarcity of water in many of the regions where clothes are produced is considered.
And that is without even factoring in the damage that can be done by the excess dyes and chemicals that are an inevitable result of producing clothing on a mass scale. These are often difficult to safely dispose of and end up polluting local environments. Environmental sustainability is becoming an undeniably important part of life across the world and that is a trend that is set to continue in the coming years and decades. Getting an early start on the practice of second-hand shopping could provide valuable experience of a practice that is likely to become commonplace.
The perfect time to explore Thrift Stores
With the school year about to start, thrift stores provide the perfect opportunity to help equip kids for the year ahead with smart, stylish clothes and accessories. For example, backpacks and winter coats, both absolute musts for the school year, can often be a significant expense, particularly as few kids will want to settle for the cheapest, simplest option. But shopping at thrift stores allows parents to buy more exciting options without breaking the bank. For back-to-school thrift store shopping beginners, there is no shortage of advice out there, with a number of blogs and vlogs offering useful advice on how to maximize savings.
Nor are clothes the only purchase that customers can make at thrift shops. Second-hand furniture shops, many of which sell restored pieces, provide particularly good value, allowing consumers to purchase high-quality workmanship that would typically be prohibitively expensive at affordable prices. And with National Thrift Shop Day likely to see stores offering promotions and discounts, it could well be the perfect time to make an investment in some restored furniture.
National Thrift Shop Day
Goodwill, the US’ largest network of thrift shop retailers, has previously marked National Thrift Shop Day by running a variety of campaigns and promotions, encouraging consumers to see the benefits of shopping at thrift stores. In 2017, Goodwill joined forces with Michael-Anthony Spearman, a stylist and personal shopper best known for his Instagram account @bigfashionguy, and the youtuber Jenn Im. Spearman created a video offering tips for shopping at thrift stores while Im expounded the benefits of thrift store shopping on her YouTube channel.
In recent years, local Goodwill organizations have also offered a number of programs to help customers improve their thrifting skills. Goodwill North Georgia, for example, held a ‘shop with your favorite influencer’ event where customers were given advice on how to identify vintage and designer items, how to improve their selections for their wardrobes while fashion experts offered tips on styling. In Greater New York and Northern New Jersey, a ‘thrift store crawl’ was organized, with registered customers receiving a 25% discount.
With both large thrift store chains and independent retailers likely to be offering promotions and sales again this year, it is more than worth keeping an ear to the ground in your local area for potential deals at thrift stores. Because while it is always worth checking out your local thrift store, it is surely doubly worth doing on National Thrift Shop Day. Your local community, the environment and your wallet will all thank you.