Decades before ThredUp, Poshmark, or even EBay were where millions shopped second hand, I was a thrifter. As a student on work study or a waitress saving for a trip to Barcelona, my fashion fix fit within my Goodwill budget.
Unlike a quick click on my laptop to indulge in an instant Amazon acquisition, thrifting meant extended hours of enjoyment in the hunt. (Those neuropathways from our hunting and gathering ancestors run deep.) Even on the rare occasions when I walked out of the Salvation Army empty handed, I always had affordable amusement. It was like going to an art museum with free admission.
Eventually buying a dress off the mannequin was no more a burden to my bank account. I rationalized the $100 spent on a new hat since I’d just saved $200 buying that perfectly fitted gray wool suit for ten bucks. Consignment shops were always on my itinerary while on vacation. Dallas, San Francisco, Boston, and New York yielded phenomenal finds.
Clothing coming into the U.S. tripled in my lifetime, and fast fashion bolstered my justification for my joyful habit. Non-biodegradable materials manufactured with precious water while polluting with oil and coal. Cotton requiring pesticides. Garments made in global sweatshops where an estimated 150 million children ages 5 to 14 are forced to work. Buying that already worn red dress felt downright righteous.
A couple years ago I committed to cutting down on my amassing both new and used. Last Black Friday I was feeling proud, I didn’t get sucked into the then annual hype… until I was lured into Thrift World by the words Everything Half Price and walked out with a living room rug and a navy blue dress with its original price tag.
The coronavirus has helped me keep my commitment this year. My new shop is located in my own home as I peruse the long unworn skirts and sweaters asking:
- What do I really want to have more of?
- Where would I find what I need if I weren’t looking outward?
- What might I discover if I look inside?
My closets and drawers aren’t the only place where I’d benefit from asking these questions. With less time spent accumulating and more time spent meditating, I can search for what’s hidden that I would love to possess. Surely a treasure or two will be found in my seeking. The cost is merely my focus and the value perhaps priceless. This could fit my budget for a lifetime.