Another successful trip to Goodwill!
Two button-down tops (~$25 each), one workout top ($15), two bracelets (I have no idea what brand, but maybe $12 each at the lowest?). All pieces are in excellent condition, all clothing is high quality name brand, and one of the button-downs still has the store tags. Total value= $89. My price before tax= $16.75.
My sister Megan was with me, and we had a conversation about some people’s discomfort with shopping second-hand. I am quite passionate about it for three reasons. One, as you can see, I save a ton of money whenever I buy something from Goodwill rather than the mall. I have $72 today that I wouldn’t have if I had purchased the same things at the mall. Two, I support the environmental impact of buying and selling/donating used things rather than throwing them in the garbage. If I am finished with a pair of jeans before they are worn out, sending them to take up space in a landfill is unnecessary. If I need new jeans, using the planet’s resources to produce a brand new pair might be unnecessary, if I can find something great at a thrift store. And the third reason I like thrift shopping is just that: I like thrift shopping! 🙂 It’s a different mentality. I learn not to get attached to a particular piece because if it doesn’t fit, I can’t just go get another size. I also learn to be open to trying things on that I don’t know if I like.
So here’s the strategy: Be picky. That may sound strange, but it works well for me. I do not buy cheap junk when I clothes shop at Goodwill. No clothes that were originally sold at Walmart or the like. No clothes that don’t appear to be brand new. No clothes that have holes or frayed hems. I have the mentality that wasting $3 on a shirt from Goodwill that I won’t wear is just as unappealing as wasting $30 on a shirt I won’t wear. If it doesn’t fit just right, if it’s not a good color for me, if it’s too long or too short, then it’s not for me. I also know that I need to try on many more items than I actually purchase. I go to the dressing room with a large pile of clothes, and I might find two or three things that are just right. (However, that’s usually how it goes at other stores, as well!)
There are a few reasons that I really like shopping at new clothing stores, as well. For one thing, good service is often worth higher prices. Having fitting room attendants who will go get other sizes, talk with you about your tried items, suggest other things you may like, and clean up your dressing room when you are done, is very enjoyable. In addition, clean and bright stores are very appealing. It’s all for the purpose of selling you a product, of course, but it is enjoyable. At Goodwill, you find all the clothes you try on, you often stand in line for a fitting room, you often deal with other people’s rejected clothes in the dressing room, and you (if you’re following the rules) put your rejects back on the hanger and remove them from the dressing room when you’re done. In my opinion, that’s a small sacrafice in return for deep discounts, but it is very nice to occasionally take my money to Loft, New York & Co., Dillards, Aerie, Banana Republic, and other favorite stores.
A sidenote–I love buying other things used: dishes, furniture, decorative items, etc. My general rules are nothing that can’t be cleaned thoroughly before use! 🙂 I’m not a poor college student anymore who is willing to risk (or just oblivious to) bedbugs and other potential harms. So I don’t buy couches, rugs, pillows, etc. Clothes go straight in the laundry, and dishes go straight to the dishwasher. Hard furniture and home decorative items get a thorough wipe-down. With very rare exception, I don’t buy used shoes. (Sometimes I can’t resist; I’m a shoe addict much, MUCH more than a couch addict or pillow addict! 🙂 One of my most favorite–and most uncomfortable–pair of Chinese Laundry wedges came from Goodwill! Rarely worn, but WELL worth the $3!)