By: Imogen Lubin

Entering a thrift store, you are immediately greeted with the thick musty smell of vintage clothing. If you’re not familiar with this scent, imagine the smell that hits you whenever you enter your grandmother’s house––a blend of floral perfume, body odor, cigarettes, and mildew. The smell, accompanied by flickering lights, linoleum floors, and overcrowded racks, characterize every thrift store. experience. Despite this overwhelming environment, I love thrifting. Here’s why:

1. Thrifting brings people together. In the thrift store I most frequently shop at, Red White and Blue, they play all the announcements twice, first in English and then in Spanish. There are so many different people from various walks of life, who, without the existence of these stores, would probably never be in the same room together.

2. It’s super versatile. In just one store you can buy kitchenware, furniture, clothes, jewelry, shoes, books, and toys—all without breaking your budget. I’ve purchased a lot of unique things at thrift stores, my favorites being flannel lined jeans, a satin leopard print shirt, and a vintage blue denim jacket.

3. Everything in the store is really inexpensive. Items of clothing tend to cost less than $10.00. Thrift stores are able to make money while keeping everything at a really low price because everything is donated, so they don’t have to pay a manufacturer.

4. It’s ethical and good for the environment. Unlike retail stores, everything in a thrift store is secondhand. It is far more ethical than most stores because consumers are not supporting fast fashion or child labor.

5. It’s fun! You can go thrifting with friends and hang out while you shop, or you can go by yourself and have an equally good time. Plus, it’s an awesome feeling when you are flipping through the racks and you find something that you want to buy.

Thrifting Tips for Beginners:

1. Have an open mind, and don’t go into it looking for a specific thing.

2. Bring earbuds and listen to music if you are easily overwhelmed.

3. Eat and go to the bathroom before you shop.

4. Take your time. The only way to find cool things is to look through

5. Look through all of the sections. I’m a 15-year-old girl and the
majority of my clothes are from the little boys section.

6. Have cash with you––most thrift stores are cash only.

7. Check the hours before going and get there as early as you can
to avoid crowds.

8. Take allergy medication prior to going if you have indoor allergies.

9. Try things on if there is a fitting room.

10. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t find the best things––thrifting
is very hit or miss!

My Favorite Thrift Stores:

1. Red White and Blue: 2055 Nottingham Way, Trenton, NJ 08619
The Biggest, Cheapest, and the most overwhelming thrift store on this list.

2. Goodwill: 1632 North Olden Avenue Extension, Ewing Township, NJ 08638
This is my favorite goodwill. It’s a decent size and always has good stuff.

3. Nearly New: 234 Nassau St #1, Princeton, NJ 08542
Very small and never crowded. It’s a fun store to go into, but I often walk out empty-handed. If you are looking for a thrifting experience, go to one of the other two stores on this list.

Hopefully, my love for thrifting has inspired you to start or to continue shopping at thrift stores. If it hasn’t, or you don’t want to give up the convenience and cleanliness of a retail store, I encourage you to at least try to be a more mindful consumer and question the ethics of your purchases.

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