Maybe I love thrift stores and consignment shops too much. I meet friends and acquaintances at them several times per month. The manager and employees of the local Goodwill Store and I know each other on a first name basis. Going “thrifting” can easily become an obsession, because you never know what sorts of treasures might show up each day.
One habit I have each week is to scrutinize the men’s shirt racks for sports team tee shirts, sweatshirts, and jackets. I have at least two 49ers heavy duty tee shirts, a couple of that team’s sweatshirts, a 49ers pullover stadium jacket, and a warm SF winter parka, plus one cap. I’ve scored several articles of Nebraska Cornhuskers shirts and caps at thrift stores, too.
What are more difficult to find are San Francisco Giants baseball items for sale in this small Nebraska city. Over the past couple of years, Goodwill has provided me with several tee shirts and two caps. Amazingly, there must be a fellow San Jose Sharks hockey fan around my town somewhere. I found a team jersey, a Sharks tee shirt, and a cap at different times in three different stores. The most far away sports related items I’ve found, in my size, at the Goodwill Store were two bicycle shirts from Sweden with the hang tags still attached to them.
I have to blame this current habit of second hand clothing purchasing on a paint job a few years ago. The bathroom needed a coat of paint and I didn’t want to get spatters all over my regular clothes. So, I drove to the Goodwill in order to scavenge something out of their dollar bin. I picked out a not-so-gently used Norfolk High School tee shirt and a pair of white dungarees.
Further rummaging through the dollar bin yielded a decent pair of Dockers cargo pants and a couple of decent everyday polo shirts. What’s not to like about these finds? I got the painting duds plus the nicer things for about $5, total.
In my home wardrobe closet are several excellent quality dress and casual button down shirts, attractive, conservative sweaters, well-tailored slacks, a couple of sedate yet current fashion sport coats and several designer ties. It’s easy to put together an appropriate outfit that looks fresh for almost any occasion.
When I get tired of certain clothes or when the closet becomes packed, they simply get re-donated. So in effect, I’m renting my wardrobe.
During most shopping runs, I notice women going through the racks and finding stylish lady’s garments. On weekends there are entire families finding clothes for the kids and parents.
One of the managers at a Norfolk thrift store told me that clothing sales are the mainstay of their operation. Household wares and furniture come in at second and third place with books a close fourth.
In these times of tight personal and family budgets, outfitting ourselves in second hand clothing is the smart way to go.