5 Benefits of Taking Your Next Shopping Trip to the Thrift Store!


Sophia Ferrante, Prospect Staff Writer

Recently, there’s been a lot of interest on the internet about thrift shopping. But what sets secondhand shopping apart from normal shopping, and how can your choice to shop at the thrift store benefit you and the environment?

  • Thrifting protects our environment from the damaging effects of fast fashion.

When you shop secondhand, you are saving these clothes from the landfill, where they would otherwise end up eventually. It’s a practical way to recycle old clothes and give them new life. This also helps fight overconsumption, which is a large problem caused by people choosing to buy large amounts of trendy clothing that they don’t have intentions of wearing long-term. Instead of overconsuming, you can choose to buy clothes that already exist from thrift stores, rather than buying new clothes in large quantities. This isn’t to say that buying new clothes is a bad thing to do, but it can be harmful if you only have the intention of wearing the clothes for a few months before they end up in the garbage. The better alternative to this is choosing new clothes mindfully, and shopping second hand to save the environment from the effects of making tons of new clothes.

 Thanks to the option to donate to thrift stores, tons and tons of old clothes are saved from landfills, so even if thrift shopping isn’t your thing, donating old clothes has its own benefits as well. Additionally, thrifting promotes upcycling and creativity with clothes, which also decreases the amount of old clothes in landfills. 

  • Thrifting emphasizes creativity and allows for uniquely styled outfits.

Thrifting provides a unique opportunity for you to potentially discover unique, vintage, and potentially one of a kind pieces of clothing. For instance, there are clothing pieces that are so popular in Fairfield that it’s hard to go outside without seeing someone else wearing the same one, so why not set yourself apart? It’s far less likely that you’ll have the same outfit as someone else if you’re wearing a thrifted graphic vintage t-shirt, rather than a top you bought last week at Urban Outfitters. 

Another way to keep clothing out of landfills is to upcycle them. This can mean cutting the sleeves off a shirt that you would wear more if it was sleeveless, cropping a shirt if you find it too long, dying it a new color, or tie-dying it to modify it to your preferences. For example, if you have a sweatshirt that fits uncomfortable because the hood is too tight, it’s better to carefully cut it off yourself than to have it end up in the landfill. You may feel nervous about modifying new or expensive clothing, but inexpensive clothes from the thrift store may be a different story. Modifying and upcycling old clothes is an excellent way to keep old clothing out of the trash, and can be a fun activity to customize your clothes in the best way for you. 

  • Save your money- you can find quality clothing for much less than new prices.

Buying new clothes can be quite an expensive process, especially when buying large amounts of new clothing at one time. An excellent way to save some of your money is to buy second hand; since the clothes are pre-loved and often donated to thrift stores, the prices can be much less than buying similar items new. They can even exceed new clothing in quality if you are persistent in looking for good pieces of clothing.

If you are seeking really affordable clothing and have noticed thrift stores getting more expensive recently, another option that can be a hit-or-miss is tag sales in your neighborhood. Many people include old clothing in their yard sales, so it can be a great way to buy used clothing at a very inexpensive price, as many people have very generous prices at tag sales in order to sell their things quickly. This can have the same environmental benefits as thrifting, and, even though it can be more challenging, you can find potentially unique or vintage clothing for a very rewarding price. 

  • Your money can support a good cause – many thrift stores are charitable organizations.

Some thrift stores, such as Goodwill, are non-profit organizations, so the money they make from your purchases, clothing or otherwise, goes to a good cause. For example, shopping at Goodwill can have a positive impact by providing job support for people with disabilities, by helping people with disabilities through barriers to employment. Last year, sales from Goodwill stores funded services such as job training, job placement services, financial education, and youth mentoring to over 2 million people in the United States and Canada. While this isn’t true for every thrift store, many thrift stores support organizations that can have positive effects on people in need. This means that by supporting your local thrift stores and doing research on where their profits go, your money can go towards a good cause. 


  • Thrift shopping can be a fun experience if you and your friends like to shop.

If you tend to enjoy going to the mall with your friends just to spend time together and look at clothes, you may enjoy thrift shopping as an activity. It can be more entertaining than regular shopping, because it’s unpredictable, and you never know what you might find! Looking through the racks of potentially unique and fun clothes, trying to find clothing you or your friends might like can be a very fun experience if you enjoy shopping. Even if you aren’t a huge clothes person, there are still opportunities to get some benefits of thrift shopping by looking for little trinkets and knick-knacks in the glassware section, or looking for used books for great prices in the book section. Overall, thrift shopping can be fun due to its unpredictable nature, and I highly recommend you bring a friend to check out your local thrift store in order to benefit from all of these potential benefits of shopping secondhand!