Jargon Watch: Thrifter

Hidden treasures (Photo: Orin Zebest via Flickr)

As yesterday's post on using lead swabs for safer thrifting may have gotten you guessing, the terms "thrifting" and "thrifter" are used to describe those who shop (sometimes exclusively) at thrift or second-hand stores, flea markets, garage sales and charity shops. (Note that there is apparently a difference between thrift and vintage shops -- mostly being the price.)

You may ask though, why bother thrifting?Good for the wallet & the environment
Well, first off, remember that one person's junk might be another's treasure. In these frugal times, thrifting makes economic and environmental sense -- you save money and instead of buying new and supporting corporations that mass-produce resource-intensive things, you divert perfectly reusable stuff you need anyway from landfills.

Buy local and buy unique
More often than not, you also support local businesses, organizations or charities. And for those who believe that you can't find good stuff at a thrift store, I'll mention how many times I've found almost-new, designer label items in my local thrift store for a fraction of the price. Some of my favourite pieces of clothing come from the thrift/charity stores I used to frequent during my lunch hour in NYC (like Angel Street and Housing Works).

It's just damn fun
Plus, there's also that added value factor of sheer, heady pleasure and sense of achievement of finding that one-of-a-kind bargain. Thrifting is also just really fun and requires strategy, creativity and a sharp eye.

So though it might have seemed odd or even declassé to shop at thrift stores a couple of decades ago, from the looks of it, modern-day thrifting has come of age. With a plethora of online sites dedicated to the practice, magazines on 'junk market decorating' and even an affiliated subculture of its own, thrifting, like the do-it-yourself mentality, is definitely the new chic.

Thrifting tips
Some tips for efficient thrifting from Things I Found At The Thrift Store (below) and more from Go Green Travel Green:

1. Bring moist towelettes or hand sanitizer. Thrifting isn't for the light of heart. In the words of certified junker Aaron Draplin "GET IN THERE." Don't be afraid to dig in, under, or around stuff. You never know what you're going to uncover when you're dedicated to hunting them treasures.

2. Don't bring babies. They cry and you can lose focus because they 're always wanting nappy toys and stuff.

3. Plan your routes out to be able to hit as many junk sales/thrift stores as you fancy. I mean - who likes to waste fuel?

4. Keep an open mind about stuff. If you're looking for something too partiuclar, you may pass over something else you've been hunting for or something completely rad.

5. Wear comfortable stuff.  You're gonna be walking, crouching, and milling around, so you might as well be comfortable while doing it.

All that said, we'd love to hear your tips and the scoop on your favourite local thrift stores.

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More on Thrift Stores
Lead Paint Swabs: A Thrifter's Best Friend
Thrift Stores Become Eco-Hip Mecca for College Students
NoLongerNeedIt.com Perfect for Online Thrifting
365 Upcycled, DIY Dresses (All Under $1) (Photos)

Tags: Recycled Consumer Goods | Shopping

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