What does it mean to go thrifting
HOME · Sustainable Living · Sustainable Fashion

What Does It Mean To Go Thrifting?

Thrifting is a unique shopping experience that elicits different feelings. Some people love the hunt for clothes amongst large piles in physical stores. On the other hand, others would rather go for an organized experience in retail stores. 

Thrifting holds many connotations. As people continue to seek new ways of creative expression, you’ve probably heard someone mention that they’re going thrifting. However, in simple terms, going thrifting means shopping for secondhand goods at stores. 

Usually, you can go thrift shopping at various locations like second-hand stores, flea markets, or garage sales. These days, people also shop at online thrift stores

Thrifting is an ample space to explore. So, in this article, we’ll answer, “what does it mean to go thrifting?”

Exploring the Definition of Thrifting

thrifting for furniture
Photo by Robinson Greig on Unsplash

Thrifting is the act and process of buying used items, also known as thrifted items, from secondhand stores. Instead of buying from a regular retail chain, many people visit local second-hand stores to find interesting items. 

Unlike a regular retail store, where you can find more than one piece of an item, thrift stores often stock unique items. As a result, from the early history of thrift shopping to the current day, thrifting allows you to discover fun finds. 

People go thrifting for different reasons and to find different things. As we become more conscious of the fashion industry's environmental impact, thrifting has quickly become an alternative to fast fashion. It has become a source of sustainable fashion due to its principles of reusing and repurposing. 

Unlike fast fashion stores, when thrifting, you can give new life to old items. Although clothing stores are popular, you’ll also find a host of other items. Some local thrift stores sell household items, accessories, bags, furniture, and unique vintage finds. 

Related:  10 Reasons Why You Should Buy Second Hand 

Seeking out those unique one-offs

People thrifting
Photo by cottonbro

A thrift store is a great place to search for one-of-a-kind clothing and household pieces. They are constantly restocking their inventory and selling unique pieces. As a result, going to a thrift store is a fun way to discover and purchase something you wouldn’t otherwise see somewhere else. 

There’s no one particular way to explore thrifting, and you can walk through neatly ordered piles and racks of clothes or sift amongst the bargain bins. Many times, these shops are products of a charitable organization and stock their shelves from donations. A good example of this is Goodwill stores, where you’ll find items at discounted prices. Similarly, at Salvation Army Stores, you'll find a great selection of second-hand thrift, and each purchase helps support their charitable endeavors focused on adult rehabilitation.

Apart from physical stores, many people create garage sales to sell old items they own. When you visit a garage sale, you can explore various items. You’ll find items like clothing, accessories, furniture, shelves, and everything in between. 

Read more: How to Shop for Thrift Clothing Finds 

Shop online and save

Whether you walk into a physical store or are exploring a flea market, you’re sure you’ll be saving money. Apart from that, you’ll be shopping for secondhand goods that have enough life in them to serve you. 

With the popularity of social media, thrift shopping is taking a new turn. Although many people enjoy the physical thrifting experience, online thrift shopping is also taking center stage and becoming more popular. A quick search on Instagram will quickly reveal the communities latest thrift finds.

Online thrift stores exist in various forms. eBay, for instance, is a popular website and online marketplace for items. On eBay, you’ll find secondhand clothing items in various styles. Apart from this site, we also have online marketplaces like Depop and both general thrift and dedicated vintage stores on Etsy. Further, more premium destinations offer higher quality garments from designer labels, also second-hand and cheaper than buying new.

As the thrifting trend continues to grow, the resale market in this space has been rising. As a result, you’ll find that there are various types of people seeking to give clothes and other goods a new lease of life. Not everyone is shopping for personal clothing. 

Types of Thrifters

Types of people at a thrift store
Photo by S O C I A L . C U T on Unsplash

Some people get into thrifting as a rebellious act against fast fashion. Others take regular visits to save money. While for many others, it’s a way to shop for items to resell. 

Reports reveal that the resale fashion and the secondhand market are rising. Studies expect it to reach about $53 billion by 20231. With this in mind, let’s check out some of the people you’ll typically find enjoying the options available amongst the aisles of second-hand goods. 

The Resellers

As we mentioned earlier, the resale industry is booming. Many people walk into thrift stores not to shop for personal items but to look for items to resell. 

These people visit local stores to shop for items that they can stock for their business. Usually, this type of person is a small business owner who has turned their hand to selling used clothes online. Alternatively, the person might also be buying to upcycle or repurpose items for resale. This could be either selling online or at flea markets. When such a person buys clothes or other pieces, they’ll sell them for higher prices to make a profit. 

The Stylists and Treasure Finders

These people are all about discovering unique wardrobe items. They are like thrift gurus who know where to look to find one-of-a-kind pieces. These people enjoy the thrill and fun of finding interesting pieces and vintage clothing that you wouldn’t find elsewhere and often have a knack for finding items in a particular style. 

Whether it’s clothing, vintage items, accessories, or furniture, these people love building collections. Once they walk into a store, they’re determined to search for vintage and generally cool items while exploring the shelves and piles.

The Savers 

We’ve already established that a thrift store will sell items at a low or discounted price. As a result, you’ll be saving a lot of money by shopping at these stores. 

Shopping at a thrift store allows many people to ensure savings on everyday clothing items. This could be out of necessity, in the case of lower-income communities or earners, or just a conscious choice. In general, thrifting allows you to buy clothes and other secondhand items, and save money.

The Eco-Warriors

Thrifting can serve as a sustainable fashion practice. As a result, people get into thrifting as a form of dedication to reducing their environmental footprint and overconsumption.

Fast fashion has significant effects on the environment - from its production to its disposal. Instead of contributing to the impact of the fast fashion industry, many eco-warriors turn to thrifting. This supports reusing old items rather than watching them being thrown out and ending up in landfills; a more eco-friendly option than buying new clothes that require new resources. There’s always something looking for a new owner in a thrift store. 

What Makes Thrifting Fun?

Most people enjoy the thrill of going thrifting. It’s unlike any other shopping experience. 

Unlike regular retail stores where you can predict what you’ll find, thrifting is like an adventure. It often requires patience and some digging through piles of gently used items. However, many people describe it as a rewarding experience once they find something unique. 

Second-hand stores exist in various forms, and you can find just about anything. Some shops focus on just clothing. You’ll also find others that sell a mix of many things. Whether online or physically, you can find clothing, furniture, books, bedding, appliances, outdoor items, toys, and more. Thrifting opens up the doors for creativity and significant discounts over buying new.

It gives you room to find new uses for old items. As a result, you’ll find many people upcycling or repurposing old pieces. On the other hand, you can also use your purchased items as they are. 

More Reading: Why is thrifting so popular?

An Adventurous Shopping Experience

Thrifting is a unique experience - it allows you to save, find cool second-hand clothing items and reduce your environmental impact. Although clothing is one of the most purchased items at a thrift store, you can find just about anything. Depending on the store or market you visit, you open yourself up to many options. 

By Jennifer Okafor, BSc.

Jen’s a passionate environmentalist and sustainability expert. With a science degree from Babcock University Jen loves applying her research skills to craft editorial that connects with our global changemaker and readership audiences centered around topics including zero waste, sustainability, climate change, and biodiversity.

Elsewhere Jen’s interests include the role that future technology and data have in helping us solve some of the planet’s biggest challenges.

Photo by cottonbro
Pin Me:
Pin Image Portrait What Does It Mean To Go Thrifting?
Sign Up for Updates