Thrifting: Why You Should + Where You Should Go

Thrifting: Why You Should + Where You Should Go

What is thrifting? 

Thrifting is the act of purchasing used items and clothing from a thrift store, garage sale, flea market, etc. 

The majority of the time, a thrift store has people donate old items to sell them for a low price. Profit typically is then donated to a nonprofit. 

For many millennials and Gen Z, thrifting is a fun way to find unique items and name brands for a fraction of the cost. 

Thrifting as we know it began with the opening of Goodwill in 1902. However, it wasn’t until recent history that the negative connotation about thrifting being only for lower-income families has shifted to a sustainable and fun shopping experience for the younger generation. 

Today, thrift stores are part of a $14.4 billion industry and the industry is growing 21 times faster than retail

(Photo: Outreach Thrift)

So why should I thrift?

It helps protect our environment long-term. 

For just a second, think about how many clothes you throw away each year. Think about how many clothes are sitting in your closet right now that you haven’t worn in a year. 

On average, Americans throw away about 85% of their clothes each year, which is adding over 10 billion tons of clothing to landfills. 

Greenhouse emissions released to make a pair of jeans is equivalent to driving over 80 miles. Enough water is used in making a cotton shirt to provide someone drinking water for 2.5 years.

To keep up with the demand for fast fashion, 20% of pesticides used worldwide are for cotton plants. These pesticides can run into streams that affect our drinking supply. 

If these facts didn’t convince you to try thrifting, here’s another benefit – it can save you a lot of money. 

American consumers spend roughly $1,000 to $2,000 each year on clothing. 

With thrifting, we could cut that number in half! I’ve found American Eagle Jeans for less than $7, boutique dresses for $5, and all kinds of name brand or name brand look-alike stuff for cheap. If you ever catch me on campus, there is a 90% chance that my outfit is thrifted, but no one would ever know. 

Is thrifting trendy?

Even celebrities, who have designer brands knocking on their door every day, are advocates of sustainability by repurposing their clothes and shopping second hand. These are 10 influencers actively supporting earth-awareness and changing the game.

  • Julia Roberts
    As once the highest-paid actress, racking up $15 million per movie, Roberts has reportedly taken her sons to thrift stores on multiple occasions.
  • Macklemore 
    Of course, it is no surprise, because of his top-charted song Thrift Shop, that the thrift store is where this musician hangs out. He is said to be the thrifting “icon.”
  • Sarah Jessica Parker
    Trends can be accomplished at thrift stores, and this fashion icon is hard proof of that. “I was like, ‘How can I do that? How can I afford to do that? What’s my version of that?’ Honestly, thrift stores played such a huge part in my life before Sex and the City,” Parker told People Magazine. 
  • Anne Hathaway 
    Her stylist keeps her wardrobe eco-friendly and includes pieces that are thrifted, including on her promotional tours and red carpet appearances.
  • Zooey Deschanel 
    Catch the actress at thrift stores or flea market shopping for steals to evoke her personality in her style.
  • Miguel 
    As a successful R&B singer, he makes it a point to hit thrift stores on his world tours. Moreover, he asks fans to tell him where the prime thrift stores around the cities that he will be in and for their thrifting tricks. 
  • Kristen Bell
    This celeb takes regular trips with her children to Goodwill and has shopped thrift all of her life.
  • Jada Pinkett-Smith
    With a net worth of over $20 million, she can be seen shopping second-hand with her daughter, Willow.
  • Winona Rider
    As a lead in “Stranger Things,” she is no stranger to the thrift store. “Most of my wardrobe is vintage and I’ve worn dresses to the Oscars that I got for $10,” she explained to Red Magazine.
  • Mayim Bialik
    An actress and earth-awareness proponent, Bialik, like Roberts, encourages her sons to shop thrift and takes them along with her when shopping for basics that can rotate through seasons.

(Photo: Garden Patch Thrift)

So where can I go to thrift? 

  • MTSU’s very own Raiders’ Closet is the place to go if you need a professional outfit for a job interview. Oh, and your outfit will be free, too!
  • Outreach Thrift Store is only 10 minutes from campus and has a great selection of jeans and jackets! They also have home decor, crockery and more! On the first Saturday of the month, everything is half off so I would recommend going then to save even more. You also get a student discount… whoop!
  • Garden Patch Thrift Store is also just 10 minutes away. They have a large collection of jewelry and handbags and lots of furniture!
    They have weekly discounts and a student discount!
  • All Things Possible Bargain Center is super close to campus – only four minutes away. They have one of the largest men’s section I have seen.
    They also have a once a week “Yard Sale” where everything is either half off or 99 cents.
  • Goodwill is the classic and reliable option for finding things you need! Murfreesboro has two fantastic Goodwill Stores located on Memorial Blvd (five minutes from campus!) or South Church Street (15 minutes away).
    Also, don’t forget! On the first Saturday of the month, everything is half off at Goodwill. AND, you can flash your student ID for a discount. 

Trends are showing that thrifting is going to continue to be a large part of our society in the future. 

Whether you decide to go thrifting to save money, help the environment, or even just for fun, consider supporting these local businesses and snagging some unique and sustainable outfits! 

Don’t forget to take pictures while wearing your thrifted finds and tag #MTSUthrifts!

Author Caitlin Davis is a sophomore at MTSU, majoring in agribusiness and public relations. The views and opinions expressed above are her own.