What Does It Mean To Go Thrifting? (2022)

Thrifting is a unique shopping experience that elicits different feelings. Some people love the hunt for clothes amongst large piles in physical stores. On the other hand, others would rather go for an organized experience in retail stores.

Thrifting holds many connotations. As people continue to seek new ways of creative expression, you’ve probably heard someone mention that they’re going thrifting. However, in simple terms, going thrifting means shopping for secondhand goods at stores.

Usually, you can go thrift shopping at various locations like second-hand stores, flea markets, or garage sales. These days, people also shop at online thrift shops.

Thrifting is an ample space to explore. So, in this article, we’ll answer, “what does it mean to go thrifting?”

Exploring the Definition of Thrifting

What Does It Mean To Go Thrifting? (1)

Thrifting is the act and process of buying used items, also known as thrifted items, from secondhand stores. Instead of buying from a regular retail chain, many people visit local second-hand stores to find interesting items.

Unlike regular stores where you can find more than one piece of an item, thrift stores often stock unique items. As a result, from the early history of thrift shopping to the current day, thrifting allows you to discover fun finds.

People go thrifting for different reasons and to find different things. As we become more conscious of the fashion industry's environmental impact, thrifting has quickly become an alternative to fast fashion. It has become a source of sustainable fashion due to its principles of reusing and repurposing.

(Video) HOW TO THRIFT LIKE A PRO (*actually useful* thrifting tips)

Unlike fast fashion stores, when thrifting, you can give new life to old items. Although clothing stores are popular, you’ll also find a host of other items. Some stores sell household items, accessories, bags, furniture, and unique vintage finds.

Related: 10 Reasons Why You Should Buy Second Hand

Seeking out those unique one-offs

What Does It Mean To Go Thrifting? (2)

A thrift store is a great place to search for one-of-a-kind clothing and household pieces. They are constantly restocking and selling unique pieces. As a result, going to a thrift store is a fun way to discover and purchase something you wouldn’t otherwise see somewhere else.

There’s no one particular way to explore thrifting, and you can walk through neatly ordered piles and racks of clothes or sift amongst the bargain bins. Many times, these shops are products of a charitable organization and stock their shelves from donations. A good example of this is Goodwill stores, where you’ll find items at discounted prices.

Apart from physical stores, many people create garage sales to sell old items they own. When you visit a garage sale, you can explore various items. You’ll find items like clothing, accessories, furniture, shelves, and everything in-between.

Read more: How to Shop for Thrift Clothing Finds

Shop online and save

Whether you walk into a physical store or are exploring a flea market, you’re sure you’ll be saving money. Apart from that, you’ll be shopping for secondhand goods that have enough life in them to serve you.

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With the popularity of social media, thrift shopping is taking a new turn. Although many people enjoy the physical thrifting experience, online thrift shopping is also taking center stage and becoming more popular.

Online thrift stores exist in various forms. eBay, for instance, is a popular website and online marketplace for items. On eBay, you’ll find secondhand clothing items in various styles. Apart from this site, we also have online marketplaces like Depop and Etsy.

As the thrifting trend continues to grow, the resale market in this space has been rising. As a result, you’ll find that there are various types of people seeking to give clothes and other goods a new lease of life. Not everyone is shopping for personal clothing.

Types of Thrifters

What Does It Mean To Go Thrifting? (3)

Some people get into thrifting as a rebellious act against fast fashion. Others take regular visits to save money. While for many others, it’s a way to shop for items to resell.

Reports reveal that the resale fashion and the secondhand market are rising. Studies expect it to reach about $53 billion by 20231. With this in mind, let’s check out some of the people you’ll typically find enjoying the options available amongst the aisles of second-hand goods.

The Resellers

As we mentioned earlier, the resale industry is booming. Many people walk into thrift stores not to shop for personal items but to look for items to resell.

These people visit local stores to shop for items that they can stock for their business. Usually, this type of person is a small business owner who has turned their hand to selling used clothes online. Alternatively, the person might also be buying to upcycle or repurpose items for resale. This could be either selling online or at flea markets. When such a person buys clothes or other pieces, they’ll sell them for higher prices to make a profit.

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The Stylists and Treasure Finders

These people are all about discovering unique items. They are like thrift gurus who know where to look to find one-of-a-kind pieces. These people enjoy the thrill and fun of finding interesting pieces that you wouldn’t find elsewhere and often have a knack for finding items in a particular style.

Whether it’s clothing, accessories, or furniture, these people love building collections. Once they walk into a store, they’re determined to search for vintage and generally cool items while exploring the shelves and piles.

The Savers

We’ve already established that a thrift store will sell items at a low or discounted price. As a result, you’ll be saving a lot of money by shopping at these stores.

Shopping at a thrift store allows many people to ensure savings on everyday clothing items. This could be out of necessity, in the case of low-income earners, or just a conscious choice. In general, thrifting allows you to save money.

The Eco-Warriors

Thrifting can serve as a sustainable fashion practice. As a result, people get into thrifting as a form of dedication to reducing their environmental footprint.

Fast fashion has significant effects on the environment - from its production to its disposal. Instead of contributing to this, many eco-warriors turn to thrifting. This supports reusing old items rather than watching them being thrown out. There’s always something looking for a new owner in a thrift store.

What Makes Thrifting Fun?

Most people enjoy the thrill of going thrifting. It’s unlike any other shopping experience.

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Unlike regular retail stores where you can predict what you’ll find, thrifting is like an adventure. It often requires patience and some digging through piles. However, many people describe it as a rewarding experience once they find something unique.

Second-hand stores exist in various forms, and you can find just about anything. Some shops focus on just clothing. You’ll also find others that sell a mix of many things. Whether online or physically, you can find clothing, furniture, books, bedding, appliances, outdoor items, toys, and more. Thrifting opens up the doors for creativity. It gives you room to find new uses for old items. As a result, you’ll find many people upcycling or repurposing old pieces. On the other hand, you can also use your purchased items as they are.

More Reading: Why is thrifting so popular?

Thrifting is a unique experience - it allows you to save, find cool pieces and reduce your environmental impact. Although clothing is one of the most purchased items at a thrift store, you can find just about anything. Depending on the store or market you visit, you open yourself up to many options.

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What Does It Mean To Go Thrifting? (4)


2021 Resale Fashion Report. ThredUp

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What are the rules of thrifting? ›

And I promise you will never spend more than $25 on a shirt.
  • Rule One: You have to love it. ...
  • Rule Two: No polyester or stretchy plastics. ...
  • Rule Three: Know your brands. ...
  • Rule Four: Try on everything. ...
  • Rule Five: Don't go thrifting looking for anything specific. ...
  • Rule Six: Shop in all sections. ...
  • Rule Seven: No alterations.
28 Jun 2012

Why is it called thrift shopping? ›

The terminology had changed too: Once considered “junk shops,” the word “thrift” reflected a marketing appeal that allowed middle-class housewives to “feel virtuous about buying something new because they can give something back,” Le Zotte says.

Does thrifting mean second hand clothes? ›

Thrifting is the act and process of buying used items, also known as thrifted items, from secondhand stores. Instead of buying from a regular retail chain, many people visit local second-hand stores to find interesting items.

What are the cons of thrifting? ›

Some of the disadvantages of thrifting include the long time it takes to sort through the many, often unorganized, clothing items. Often the clothes have no warranty and no return policy, says the Odyssey. The worlds of fast fashion and thrifting are both equally fun and exciting!

Why is thrifting so cool? ›

Different people have their reasons for choosing thrifting as an alternative to fast fashion. By purchasing secondhand clothing or home goods, you can save money, find unique pieces and reduce your carbon footprint. Many individuals and families rely on local thrift stores to find clothing at affordable prices.

Does thrift mean cheap? ›

The word thrift originally referred to fortune and has come to mean the act of being economical; a thrifty person, or someone who practices thrift, is likely to be fortunate in the sense that he has savings. At a thrift store, you will find inexpensive clothing.

Why are Thrifted clothes cheap? ›

Secondhand shops almost always tend to have designer brands at a big discount. What's more, there is no more waiting for next season's collection: most thrift stores receive clothing donations every day, meaning most of the clothes at these stores is new-in, and as varied as the people donating them.

What's another word for thrift? ›

  • austerity.
  • frugality.
  • prudence.
  • carefulness.
  • parsimony.
  • providence.
  • saving.
  • stinginess.

Is thrifting actually good? ›

If people consider thrifting as the 'end goal' then that's a huge problem.” Evidently, the secondhand clothing trade is far from perfect. Thrifting prolongs the life cycle of clothes, but it does not stop the overproduction that sustains it. In fact, it actually benefits from the excessive output of fashion brands.

Why is thrifting so popular now? ›

Thrifting has gained a lot of traction recently, populating many peoples' wardrobes with secondhand clothing. Thrifting for clothing has been around for a long time as an easy way to get access to clothes that people no longer need for considerably cheaper than they originally sold at stores.

Why should you thrift? ›

By choosing to buy secondhand clothing instead of brand new, you reduce waste and help the planet. In this way, thrift shopping is the ultimate way to live out the “reduce, reuse, recycle” motto!

Is thrifting ethical fashion? ›

Thrift shopping is an overlooked way of practicing sustainability. This type of shopping reduces energy consumption, air pollution, mountains of landfill, and keeps our oceans cleaner. There are endless fashion possibilities with thrift shopping, but it is also another way to take care of Mother Earth.

Why is the golden age of thrifting over? ›

Because of fast fashion, more than 60 percent of fabric fibers are now synthetics, derived from fossil fuels. This is alarming for the generations of women who have been thrifting for decades as a way of filling their closets affordably with garments made of high-quality materials.

Is thrifting better than fast fashion? ›

It's also great for the environment. If you choose thrifting over fast fashion, you are helping cut back your fashion-footprint. There will always be a concern when it comes to second-hand shopping, but the real concern should be aimed at the unnecessary waste. Nowadays, second-hand shopping isn't only done in-store.

Why do thrift stores smell? ›

The source of the remaining compounds that made up that vintage smell were environmental contaminants like car exhaust, gasoline, dry cleaning solvents, food and perfume or, as the team at P & G put it, “the odor molecule peaks form a record of the odors” that the garments were exposed to over its life.

What sells best in a thrift store? ›

Clothing is an item that sells best in thrift stores. Accounting for 31.8 percent of industry revenue, clothing is the largest revenue generator in the Thrift Stores industry, according to IBISWorld. Instead of paying higher retail prices, many people are switching to thrift stores for their clothing needs.

What is the best day to go thrifting? ›

While there's no “perfect” day to shop second hand stores, many regulars swear by shopping early on Monday and Tuesday. Homeowners tend to drop off garage sale leftovers on Sunday nights, making for new finds. Plus, the weekends are more crowded shopping days, so employees look to restock early in the week.

What's the difference between thrifting and shopping? ›

The big difference between a thrift store and retail store is that the items for sale at a thrift store aren't brand new, but that doesn't mean they aren't in good condition. Thrift shopping is a way of giving those items new life.

Does thrifting save money? ›

Thrift store shoppers save nearly $150 a month, or $1,760 a year, on average, by buying secondhand items, according to another report by CouponFollow.

Do you get money for thrifting? ›

Believe it or not, you can make meaningful money as a thrift store flipper. The most successful flippers make over $100k per year reselling their thrift store finds. If you do a quick Google search, you'll find many stores of people pulling big numbers from reselling all sorts of items.

Is thrifting just a trend? ›

Is thrifting a current trend or is it here to stay? Without a doubt, thrifting is continuously increasing in popularity every year. Especially the past two years, Goodwill has seen a record number of donations from over 830,000 donors.

What can I say instead of a junkie? ›

Synonyms of junkie
  • addict.
  • user.
  • fiend.
  • druggie.
  • dopehead.
  • stoner.
  • freak.
  • doper.

What do you call a thrift shop? ›

co-op. cut-rate store. discount store. five-and-dime. flea market.

What do you call second-hand clothes? ›

hand-me-down. handed-down. not new. old. pre-owned.

Is thrifting considered a hobby? ›

New year, new you! For those looking for a new hobby to pick up, a study from DIYS.com found the most popular new in 2022 in Canada is thrifting.

Is thrifting a skill? ›

That's right: Thrifting is a skill. Like a muscle, you need to repeatedly work it to watch it grow. While you're there, take your time scanning through the items and you're bound to find something that catches you eye. Before you know it, you'll be going home with the thrift finds of your dreams.

Is thrifting still popular? ›

The popularity of thrifting is soaring. And it's not just about inflation driving up prices for everything, including consumer goods like clothing. Second-hand shopping — never an unknown option for people on a budget — has evolved into the go-to place for the fashion-forward.

Why are thrift stores so expensive now? ›

Even considering this rising popularity, the mass influx of affluent teenagers thrifting for fun every weekend likely contributes more to rising costs than individual resellers do. Along with rising rent costs and inflation, with large thrift store chains, the incessant factor of corporate greed comes also into play.

Is it legal to resell items from thrift stores? ›

Generally, it's not illegal to resell an item that you have legitimately purchased. Once you have purchased something at retail it is yours to do with as you choose. Manufacturers tend to have little or no control over a product past the first customer they sell to.

How often should I go thrifting? ›

16. Shop at least twice a week. The more often you go, the more likely you are to find the perfect item. You don't need to take forever each time — a quick run through is enough if you're looking for something specific.

What are the eight things you should always buy at a thrift store? ›

And though every secondhand store is unique, there is a standard set of items I'm always on the lookout for.
Here are some things you too should always buy at thrift stores.
  • Jeans. ...
  • Tools. ...
  • Totes, trays and baskets. ...
  • Holiday decorations. ...
  • Arts and crafts supplies. ...
  • Dishware. ...
  • Perfume. ...
  • One-of-a-kind items.
18 Aug 2022

How do I start thrift flipping? ›

Thrift Store Flipping Tips
  1. Always Check Online First. Your smartphone is your best tool when thrifting for a profit. ...
  2. Check for Markings. Not sure if that pottery is worth anything? ...
  3. Shop High-End Locations. ...
  4. Use Discount Days. ...
  5. Clean It Up. ...
  6. Consider Packaging Costs. ...
  7. Be Mindful of Shipping.

Is thrift flipping ethical? ›

Simple answer, yes and no. Thrift store flipping has been criticized for some serious ethical concerns since it has become more popular over the last few years. While, yes, by thrift flipping you are helping to reduce the environmental damage caused by the textile industry, there are some serious downsides too.

Why has thrifting become so expensive? ›

Partly because of the influx of consumers, thrift shops have actually increased their prices, spurring countless blog posts, and making it harder for people who need access to cheap clothing to afford it. Stores like Goodwill accept donations, so the clothes sold there are not always in mint condition.

What sells the most in thrift stores? ›

Clothing. Clothing is an item that sells best in thrift stores. Accounting for 31.8 percent of industry revenue, clothing is the largest revenue generator in the Thrift Stores industry, according to IBISWorld. Instead of paying higher retail prices, many people are switching to thrift stores for their clothing needs.

What is thrifting good for? ›

Learn more about how thrifting is good for the planet below.
  • Keeps Clothes Out of Landfills. Think back to that reduce, reuse, recycle slogan we've all been taught since elementary school. ...
  • Contributes to Charities. ...
  • Lowers Your Carbon Footprint. ...
  • Helps Preserve Water. ...
  • Reduces Chemical Pollution.

What do you do after thrifting? ›

If in doubt about a piece, stick with hand-washing or put it on the gentlest cycle with cold or warm water instead of hot. To disinfect thrift store clothes entirely, you can also add some vinegar to your washing process with a natural and safe laundry detergent. After taking your washed clothes out, avoid the dryer.

Is thrift shopping healthy? ›

Many shoppers do not realize that thrifting is exercising. You need to walk around the store, examine items, push a cart, and carry bags. When people exercise, they release natural endorphins into their brains, thus making them feel happier and at ease.

What thrift store items are worth money? ›

5 Rare Things to Look for When Thrift Shopping
  • Vintage and Retro Kitchenware. Goodwill always has a great selection of dishes, glassware, and other kitchen supplies. ...
  • Luggage and Trunks. ...
  • Designer-Label Clothes. ...
  • Old-School Electronics.

What are the best items to buy at thrift stores? ›

Wooden furniture, used books, and baby clothes can be smart thrift-store purchases. They said to be wary of electronics, appliances, and toys that may not work. Mattresses and upholstered furniture can sometimes have allergens or bed bugs, said one employee.


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