Conservation Minnesota

Thrift Stores Are Cool

Thrift stores are cool.

This hasn’t always been the case. Driven in part by the suffering economy, this change in attitude is definitely a positive for the environment. I know that I feel much better when I purchase clothes or other items secondhand. There are few household items that I’d even consider buying new these days. Most things are available used. Why buy new?

And my kids love thrift, too. My son needed a suit jacket, dress shoes and some other items for summer school. I hated the thought of buying these new. Besides the fact that he wouldn’t wear them often and that they wouldn’t be cheap, he’s 13 and growing by the minute. It’s unlikely he’ll be able to wear anything for too long before he grows right out of it. Buying new felt wasteful. So, I took both my boys to a secondhand store and they stocked up on all kinds of clothing that they needed. And, while we were there I did too. It was all way more interesting and styling than anything we would have found in a traditional store. And, the boys loved it. To them, the fact that the clothes came from a thrift store was something to be proud of. They appreciated the cost, but also the environmental savings. At their age, I understood saving money but considering the environmental impact never crossed my mind.

Thrift stores are also a great place to bring outgrown clothes or ones you no longer need or choose to wear. Some stores pay you for your items. Donations are tax-deductible to other stores that operate on a non-profit status. Money raised from selling donated items funds programs for many worthy causes. Not only are you getting rid of things you no longer need but you are giving the items a second chance at life and helping others.

For me, I still think less is better in the quest to live a more sustainable life. Even if you are buying secondhand you can still be adding to the over-consumption that rules our country. But, buying secondhand is, at the very least, a step in the right direction. And, I think it’s pretty great that our youth today realize this.

Kristin Eggerling is a board member for Conservation Minnesota Voter Center, the mother of two, and a freelance writer in northwestern Minnesota. 

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