#10 – You’ll save money.
I had to go for the obvious one first. Regardless of your financial situation it’s always wise to be frugal and you won’t find many places where your dollar will stretch further than it will at the thrift store. The last time we went we ended up with a movie, a fairly fabulous like-new toddler toy, a pair of sunglasses and a stuffed space alien (Sweet Hippie Daughter has a thing for aliens. If you are one, and you happen to be hiding among us, and you’ve come in peace, my kid really wants to meet you.). Total cost – just under $5.
#9 – They’re an educational treasure.
Books, computer games, globes, maps, puzzles and so much more line the shelves at thrift stores, often on sale for pocket change. Those are great educational resources whether you homeschool or not. But there are so many more opportunities for learning at thrift stores! Walk around and look from a child’s perspective. Why were so many clothes made from polyester 40 years ago? Why don’t TVs have dials any more? What’s the difference between the way a record, a tape and a CD record sound? What are those old wash basins and pitchers for? Why do mirrors lose their reflectivity in the spots where the paint chips off? There are an infinite number of discussions, experiments and ideas that can be triggered by just wandering among items that have known a long life.
#8 – They’re nostalgic.
It’s a rare trip to the thrift store where neither Handsome Hippie or I exclaim, “Oh my gosh! My grandparents had one of these!” We find toys that remind us of our own childhoods and visiting aunts and uncles and places we loved that we haven’t thought of in years. Sometimes we laugh at the memories, or we celebrate that they’ve passed, or we mourn a bit for someone dear who is gone from our lives now. It’s a great way for us to be closer to each other. You’d think after spending 1/4 of our lives together we’d know all there is to know about each other but new stories surface after most every thrift store trip.
#7 – You can find things that may not otherwise be for sale in your region.
Do you love Disney World memorabilia? Japanese art? Southwestern decor? Those things can be hard to find if you don’t live in specific areas but, at thrift stores, you never know what treasures may turn up from all over the globe.
#6 – You’ll likely be funding a worthy cause.
Not all thrift stores are connected to charitable organizations. Of those that are, some give a significantly higher percentage of your sales dollar directly to the cause than others, but the vast majority of thrift stores do help fund some really great programs from schools to hospitals to research foundations and more. It’s a fun and painless way to make a positive difference in your community.
#5 – It’s good for the planet.
I live in a tiny town, surrounded by tiny towns. Within a 20 minute drive of my house there are at least 7 thrift stores. Can you imagine if ALL the stuff they sold ended up in a landfill? How many resources would be burned up creating, packaging and selling new items to replace the perfectly good ones being thrown away? Thrift stores are a great recycling tool.
#4 – It will spark your creativity.
Maybe you’ll find a frame you love and you’ll be inspired to make something special to put in it. Perhaps you’ll stumble across some curtains made of a wonderful fabric and turn them into your new favorite dress. It could be that the idea for your entire garden design will be sparked by a trinket on a bric-a-brac shelf. Thrift stores are a wonderful place to let your imagination take hold.
#3 – You may acquire a new skill.
Have you been thinking about taking up knitting, wood working, stained glass window making, cooking, nail art or sculpting but you just weren’t sure if you would like it so you’ve been hesitating to sink the money into the supplies you need? Go to the thrift store! Odds are you won’t find everything you need to start your new hobby, all in pristine condition. However, you can probably find some of what you need, in usable condition at a significantly lower cost than you’d get it new. Then you can try your hand at it and decide if it’s worth a larger investment.
#2 – You can eliminate as well as accumulate.
Before your shopping trip, go through your house and toss all that old stuff that is no longer filling a need in your life into a box (or 10). Take it to the thrift store and drop it off on your way in. Someone else will be thrilled to have your clutter and you get to head home with some new treasures, knowing you now have plenty of space to store or display them appropriately. Everybody wins!
And the #1 reason you should shop in thrift stores….
Because you might find that one elusive item you never knew you always wanted.
I recently found this Jesus action figure at The Salvation Army. It made me smile. Then I started to giggle. Then I laughed so hard I thought I was going to pee my pants. “Gliding action!” BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! He has little wheels on his feet so he can buzz around the table. Who made this? Why? Is he part of a set? Oh, I must know!
Why is this so funny to me? Because it’s Jesus. And he’s an action figure. WITH GLIDING ACTION!
I’m giggling even as I type this.
How about you? Why do you love to shop in thrift stores? What’s your most favorite thrift store treasure?
Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?
If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!