A look at the trendy and sustainability benefits of thrifting. Photo by Ethan Pellegrino. Photo subject is Siena Filippa, URI graduate and instagram thrifter. Account: ri.reclaimed

Thrifting has become one of the most popular things to do for many in Gen Z, as social media, especially TikTok, has made it a fun and trendy experience for all. 

There are many benefits to thrifting, and some things to keep in mind when shopping at your favorite store. There are many thrift stores that you can find these days, including the superstore, Savers. At stores like Savers, you can find everything: vintage clothes, used furniture, vinyl records and so much more.

The first obvious benefit of thrift shopping is the cost. Thrift stores mark down their items by sometimes over 50 percent! This means that while shopping at a thrift store, you can find great items at an incredible, affordable price. Some stores price their items differently and you can even pay for a bag by weight. At my local thrift store Savers in Norwood, Massachusetts, the majority of the clothes are under $10, and other household items rarely exceed $15.    

The second benefit to thrifting is its sustainability. The fashion industry is one of the most environmentally ruinous industries globally. Fast fashion prioritizes profits at the expense of child labor and environmental destruction. Thrift stores repurpose clothes and do contribute less to the issue, making it a way to improve your fashion game while also being environmentally and socially conscious!

I have started a record collection, and I love looking through the albums, trying to find hidden gems. Sometimes I pick up a random album based on the cover. At the store that I usually visit, vinyl albums are usually only a few dollars, but it’s very important to check the quality of the record before making a purchase. Vinyl records are delicate and can be easily ruined by scratches and dirt, and trust me, nothing is worse than buying a great album only for it to be riddled with imperfections.  

Vintage clothes are very popular right now, and thrift stores are usually filled with interesting pieces. One thing to look for is single stitches on shirt sleeves, which indicate that the shirt was made before the mid-1990s. For those who plan to sell their thrifted finds, single-stitch sleeves automatically increase the value of an item. Another tip for resellers is to look for sports teams and bands, as their merchandise is often popular and will likely sell quickly. Always make sure to wash all the clothes before wearing them, because most stores don’t wash them, even if they are dirty! Personally, I tend to stay away from hats and shoes because they are not the easiest to clean.   

Remember that thrift stores serve their communities. Many stores work with organizations or foundations to improve the lives of many. Also, it is important to consider that people who are less fortunate rely on thrift stores for their shopping needs. For some thrifting is not the luxury it is for others, so please remember to be courteous of other shoppers. One way to preserve a thrift store in a community is to limit your shopping by only taking a few trips or purchasing fewer items per trip.

Thrifting is a really fun and responsible way to shop, and now you know the basics. Happy thrifting!