Hello peeps! I was invited to participate in creating a lifestyle post where we talk about a change we are making that will help the environment or a healthier choice for you or your family. The plan for this post is to help inspire our readers to make small changes that can impact their health, the environment, and eventually the world. Sometimes topics like this can be hard to talk about and understand, especially when we are set in our ways. So, here we go, let’s give ’em something to talk about. The easiest thing for me to discuss is how I believe that I am saving the world through thrifting.
Let me share a bit about my past, so you can understand my journey and why I love to thrift. I wasn’t introduced to thrifting/secondhand shopping until I was married, with a child, and another on the way. Growing up my mother purchased clothes for us at the flea market and that is all I can remember. She was quite the DIYer before DIYing was even popular so if she went to the thrift store, she never brought us, nor did I ever ask. It wasn’t until I graduated from college, got married, and moved to Utah. I lived in a college town and everyone and their momma would talk about the local thrift store. So one day, I went and I walked right back out. I couldn’t take the smell and I didn’t return until after I had my first child.
After I had my first child the recession was at a high. I quit my 9-5 job due to sexism and kept it pushing. I ended up finding another job, but due to the recession, I wasn’t paid what I was worth. Especially when you work in a career field where DIYing (my competition) is becoming more popular. The mister was in school and I needed to figure out a way to clothe my daughter without spending a fortune, so I went back to the same thrift store that I once walked out of, held my breath and went shopping. My thrifting journey started with me buying clothes and downsizing it to fit my children. I would buy adult size clothes (because 99.9% of the time the pattern was cuter) and I would sew it to fit my children. I made skirts, dresses, bottoms, etc…the first few years of my children lives. I taught myself to sew (this was the one class I opted out of in college that I wish I had not) and that is where my creative juices started to seep in. Looking back, my mother used to sew (from scratch) mine and my siblings clothes. There were five children and we were living on a military budget, so she had to do what she had to do.
My love of thrifting started with my drive to sew and create stuff for my children that I couldn’t afford. With a creative background in design, I was aware of how things were put together and how to properly paint. With this said, my desire to have a nice house on a budget came through instinct and my back being pushed against the wall. “How can I, Jessica, obtain this look if I only make this much?” I knew I could put a room together, I knew I could paint, I knew I was artistic and creative, so I started flipping furniture. I would only flip what was durable, dirt cheap, or free. I would either fix it up, paint, or stain it and I always stayed within budget. The last thing I wanted to do was to resell something and only get pennies for it. This is how I made money to furnish our home. Since I was living on a tight budget, I had to shop like I was on a budget. I turned to “Craig” (aka Craigslist) and thrift stores to feed my deepest desires. My desire to have a nice home has lead me to collecting and reselling. I am that girl the totally thinks she is saving the world through secondhand shopping. Yes, I imagine me wearing a white cap and mask, and so can you!
Benefits of Thrifting
Shopping secondhand comes with a ton of benefits that you may not realize. These benefits span from financial, economics, environmental, and creative spheres of our lives, those around us, our community, and even the world.
Financial Benefits from Shopping Secondhand
First and foremost, you are saving money when you thrift. Thrifted goods, especially clothing and shoes, cost way less than buying new. Sometimes you might even find goods with the price tag still attached. I mean,come on, total score! Let me not forget to mention that the quality of clothing is typically better than some of the big box stores. If you buy clothing from secondhand stores like Once Upon a Child and Plato’s Closet, they have sales where they mark the clothing down to 90% off. If you are looking for sale, you definitely found one! So essentially, you can buy more but pay less. Please note, when I am talking about buying more, I am not talking about hoarding.
Another financial benefit from secondhand shopping is that you can make money off of your old stuff. Thanks to Craigslist, eBAY, consignment shops, online boutiques, secondhand stores like Plato’s Closet, and local semi-annual consignment sales, you can sell your stuff and recoup and make a pretty penny off of your old junk. Remember, almost anything is resalable.
If reselling isn’t your vibe, you can always donate your items to your local thrift store. By doing this you are helping your community and you are helping in providing jobs to those who need one. Most thrift stores are nonprofit and support a local charity. Therefore, think of your donation as for charity. I know that when I donate my used goods, that it will go to someone who needs them, which makes me happy.
Economic and Environmental Benefits from Secondhand Shopping
Secondhand shopping, preferably thrifting, helps our community by providing lower economic groups access to stuff that they may need but cannot afford. I touched a bit about how this in financial benefits, when you thrift you are giving back to the community. You are giving jobs to those in your community, healthcare to workers and their family, feeding the poor, and so much more. At times it can allow you to shop local and support those ma and pa boutiques that make a living off of the “hunt” instead of off the big box stores that mass produce.
You lower your carbon footprint when you shop secondhand. When you buy used, you are preventing wastage of every and resources on the production of new ones. It has been said that “the production process of making one pair of jeans also generated greenhouse gases equivalent to driving over 80 miles. Similar numbers apply to tee shirts, skirts, and most other articles of clothing; this is much more energy and water intensive than what is commonly believed.” Let me remind you, 60% of the clothes made today are made from synthetic material that cannot breakdown and decompose.
I am just going to leave this here, because I could not have said it any better…”About 90 percent of the cotton grown for textiles is genetically modified, which means it is heavily reliant on pesticides. In fact, almost 20 percent of pesticide use worldwide is for use on cotton plants. These chemicals contaminate nearby water supplies and acidify the soil. The dyes used in the textile making process also pollute water supplies. They are often dumped directly into nearby rivers or lakes because this part of the process is often outsourced and carried out in underdeveloped countries where environmental regulations may not exist or be effectively enforced. Lastly, the production of the synthetic fabrics releases nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas that is 310 times stronger than carbon dioxide. By switching to second hand shopping, the money you spend won’t go toward supporting an industry that is characterized by water and air pollution.”
Again, most clothing AND home decor trends/fads we follow aren’t quality. That sofa you are buying from a big box store will not last 20 years, along with the chairs and the table. Think about it. Furniture, clothes, shoes, and home decor aren’t built like how they were in the past (built to last). When we throw clothes, furniture, shoes, etc…away, we fill the landfill and when we make new clothing and furniture we pollute our world. There needs to be an happy medium to what we should be doing.
Creative Benefits from Secondhand Shopping
Last but not least, secondhand shopping allows you to be creative. You find out who you truly are when you do not have a lot to spend. It allows you to “hunt” for that one of a kind item and to treasure and love it . I know for myself that when I buy something used, or even receive something secondhand, I have a greater appreciation for it because I know I may not see something like it again. With thrifting, it allows you to hold nothing back in the creative realm. You see something with great bones but horrible finish, paint over it, make it your own. You see an antique piece that needs a little TLC, fix it up and add that quirky touch to it to make it into a statement piece. The possibilities are endless when you shop used.
. I can honestly say, If I had the money to buy every home I saw and knew was going to be torn down or gutted, I would scoop it up and restore it the same way I buy home decor and furniture. A lot of times, people just need to be able to visualize the beauty of a thrifted piece. Every time someone enters my home, their first reaction is “Wow, I like this” my reaction is always, “It is all secondhand finds”. You can create a space you love by shopping secondhand, you can create what you want by shopping secondhand so let’s save the world together and think about the world we will be leaving for our children and let’s make a change to make it better