I Went From Hating Thrifting To Loving It In One Day

I used to loathe thrifting. Now I think its the biggest thrill! So what changed? My perspective. When we bought our first home I would go thrifting to find furniture to paint or refinish and that was a fun hobby, but looking at the clothes just seemed like hell on earth. I tried looking through the racks piece by piece a few times over the year only to be defeated by boredom and that weird thrift store smell. I thought that you had to look through every single item in the store in order to find anything good. I would usually rage quit halfway through and not go back for another year. 

Recently though, something changed! I have been more interested in sustainability and buying ethically made products when I can. We have removed many plastics from our home and replaced them with products that are better for the environment. I wrote a post about how that journey began and some of my favorite products if you want to know more. I was happy with the small steps we were taking at home, but I wasn’t satisfied with how I was approaching my closet.

Fast fashion has run rampant for years and I was caught up in it as much as the next girl who wanted to look cute, cool, and stylish. My sister, Katie, just graduated from fashion school in Paris and even in their world, sustainability is something that is being addressed more all the time. Katie wrote an article for Paulette magazine about fast fashion if you’re interested in learning more, you can click here! She’s really helped to open my eyes to the horrible effects of the fashion industry and once you know about it you really can’t look back.

As a result of what I learned, I went on a bit of a spending freeze when it came to my wardrobe. I only bought things that I really needed for the better part of a year. And when I did buy things, I would think about them for a few days or weeks before purchasing so that I knew that I truly loved them.

At the end of that year of trying not to spend money at all on clothing, I realized I had more than I needed, but I also didn’t have all that much that I loved. During this time, I also did the KonMari method in my closet too. I got rid of a ton of stuff that didn’t “spark joy” and then I got rid of more…and then some more. And now I’m down to a few items that I really love and then other things that I can tolerate because, ya know, I kinda need to cover my body when I go out of the house!

Now the fun part comes in to play. About a month ago, I was having a nice Chick-fil-a lunch with my mother in law and some other family that was in town. They were all talking about how they were going to go to the Salvation Army after we ate because it was 50% off day.

I thought in my head that going there sounded like the very last thing on earth I wanted to do that day. It didn’t seem appealing to me at all! But for some reason, as I was leaving, I looked across the street at Goodwill and something just sparked in me. A glimmer of curiosity. So I just drove across the street and went in! It was like it was calling to me to enter and discover the wonder that is thrifting!

I walked in and I was not looking for anything in particular. I looked at the bags and belts and shoes. Nothing piqued my interest. Next, I looked through the blazers…this is when everything changed. As I was looking through the rack, I found beautiful rust-colored wool and cashmere-blend blazer that was perfect for fall! I grabbed it and kept looking for more.

Soon enough I was weighed down by a huge pile of clothes to try on! I even found some cute silk scarves to tie around purses or ponytails. I loved almost everything I tried on, and what made it even more amazing were the price tags!! All of the items I purchased cost under $20.

My first Goodwill haul included the wool and cashmere-blend blazer, a 100% silk blouse, a vintage leopard print jacket, a cute black top, 3 scarves, a purse! I was on such a high and I felt so excited and proud of myself for finding such great pieces that I drove down the street and went straight into the Salvation Army! And you know what? I found EVEN MORE there than I did at Goodwill! Most of it was vintage and amazing and under $5 per item!

In less than two hours, I had completely changed my mind about thrifting! I realized that I had been playing it too safe with my style too and that deep down, I had been longing to branch out and try some funkier styles. The things that caught my eye as I was shopping the racks were vintage prints and styles and I was loving it! I also made sure to try everything on. That was one mistake I had made in the past and I wasn’t going to get stuck with a bunch more clothes that didn’t fit right.

I got all of my purchases home and immediately sent photos and videos to my best friend, Ali, who has been into thrifting for WAY longer than me and is basically a Poshmark seller extraordinaire! She was always telling me that I should try thrifting and I wish I had listened to her sooner. She freaked out over all of my fashion finds and told me that we had to go thrifting when I came to visit her in LA in October! I agreed.

With my new love of thrifting and the possibilities that it opened up for my wardrobe, I went back two more weeks in a row. Each time finding a couple of fun, unique pieces. I frequented the Salvation Army so often in the last month that the sales guy knows me. I am a Salvation Army person now, it’s fine. I’m embracing it!

Fast forward a month and I am in LA writing this blog post in a coffee shop. I am visiting my bestie for a few days and we happened upon a little thrift store in Culver City called Treasured Traditions and it was FIVE DOLLAR BLAZER DAY. We went nuts and essentially tried on their entire collection of vintage blazers then proceeded to buy a collective SEVEN. Ali also got an olive green suit for $11 and I got a $3 belt.

We were still high on our purchases that we decided to continue the shopping today. We are hitting up the Santa Monica Goodwill in a couple of hours! I don’t yet know what we will find, which is all part of the fun!*

*UPDATE: We found so much good stuff that we filmed a YouTube haul – watch the video here if you want to see more!

The moral of the story is, TRY THRIFTING! You never know, you could love it as much as I do now.

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  • Emily

    YES!!! The smell can turn ya off for a bit I get it! But once you get past it, it is the BEST!!!! 🙂

    October 24, 2019 at 1:23 pm Reply
    • laurelstravels

      For sure! I guess I am kind of used to the smell already too and I get kinda high from the hunt for treasures haha so it is definitely worth it!

      November 4, 2019 at 2:02 am Reply
  • Molly

    As someone who rage quits shopping at all price points, I relate to your frustration and initial reluctance to embrace thrifting. But now you’ve got me thinking about trying it.

    October 24, 2019 at 4:42 pm Reply
    • laurelstravels

      Haha, I am sort of glad I am not the only one who has been rage quitting shopping! I hope you will try it again! Just go in with no expectations and see what you find!

      November 4, 2019 at 2:02 am Reply
  • Natty Gal

    Like you, I’ve never really taken to thrifting. I love the IDEA of it – recycling, saving money, etc. But just get overwhelmed with so much stuff. Honestly, a lot of mall stores give me the same overwhelm. I’ll have to give it a try again on a day I’m feeling relaxed and unhurried – have lots of friends that find incredible things on their thrift expeditions.

    October 25, 2019 at 8:13 pm Reply
    • laurelstravels

      Yes, I was the same way! I just happened to go in on an afternoon that I had no plans and viola! I found some great things and it removed the stress of thrifting for me! Good luck, I hope you can enjoy it too.

      November 4, 2019 at 2:00 am Reply
  • Tiffany

    Yeah, I’ve been wanting to try thrifting. Nice post!

    December 31, 2019 at 6:05 pm Reply
    • laurelstravels

      I have missed thrifting a lot lately, but haven’t made it back to the stores yet since they have re-opened. Hope you get to try it!

      June 13, 2020 at 9:38 pm Reply

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