The thought of wearing someone else’s clothes might give you the heebie jeebies, but thrift shopping ranks as one of the most eco-friendly things to do because clothes, toys, silverware, and good condition miscellany all stay out of the landfill. By purchasing already used clothes, you’re essentially throwing a big rusted wrench into the fashion churn out and export system (aka “fast fashion” industry); you should feel empowered with every purchase you make, even if you have to re-sow some buttons on that old flannel shirt.

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1. It’s the best place to find gems!

Sure, thrift shops can smell funny from all the different clothes sourced from different houses, but they are full of opportunities, especially if you just need to add some spice to your wardrobe. If you’ve never been into a thrift shop from an irrational fear of running into your boss or some weird-smelling dude, then you’ve been missing out. You’ll find amazing gems in there–think quality clothes at a quarter of the price or just-the-right-shade-of-red shirt to complete your work outfit. These are just a few reasons why thrifting has become quite trendy with the rise of hipsters.

2. It reduces the demand for “fast fashion.”

I remember when I was in middle school, I only wanted new clothes. I had to have the absolute most expensive and most recognizable designer clothes because I wanted to make a statement to my classmates that I was cool, but I had it all wrong back then. Before I went to high school, I realized I really needed to change my outlook on life and my carbon footprint. I shied away from “fast fashion” brands who I had no idea used child labor or destroyed the planet by making their “designer” clothing. I shifted to a plant-based diet and more ecologically healthy lifestyle shortly after that, and that’s when I found thrift stores. To this day, as a sophomore college student, thrift shopping has become like a game to me. I always scout the aisles for new additions, wait for them to re-stock their shelves, but I only purchase clothes when my old ones are tattered and ripped (then they become dusting rags).

3. Thrift shops are so accessible.

I want to be honest here in saying that no one really cares what you wear. Really and truly, you just want to look nice, presentable, done-up if you will for those types of situations. On the street, at the university, or just in your everyday life, thrift stores are the way to go. If you’re looking for classy business or church attire as well as casual gear, you need to check out Deseret Industries, an LDS Church run chain of thrift stores down the Western United States, as they have a very wide selection and won’t shove their religion down your throat. For mainly casual clothing, check out Savers, The Salvation Army, or any of your local thrift shops. The possibilities truly are endless–check out a swap meet near you or an army surplus store with used items because the best thing you can do for your wallet and wardrobe is to reuse, reduce, and recycle with thrift shopping. With a good wash in some eco-friendly laundry soap, thrift clothing and shopping is the way to go.

The bottom line here is to broaden your horizons. Check out that thrift store you’ve always wanted to go in. Pop in some antique shops if you need new dishes or chairs. Look at used shops first, and try and buy pre-owned things. The environment will thank you later.

Lead Image Source: joe mngs717/Flickr