HOW TO: Be an Economically Conscious Thrift Shopper

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I recycle my wardrobe on a pretty regular basis. Clothes flow in, I wear them five or six times, and clothes flow right back out. Of course there are staple items that I’ve kept for years, but my closet is more or less in a perpetual state of transition.

This sounds expensive. But on the contrary, I feed my insatiable hunger for new and different clothes by letting the habit pay for itself. This leads us into the first step to thrift shopping:  don’t hoard your clothes.

Shopping in (relatively) cheap stores, such as thrift or consignment shops, makes people buy more than they would at retail stores, where higher prices prevent such behavior. Therefore, the discount diva often finds herself with more clothing and accessories than she needs or has space for. The solution:  let your habit pay for itself. Sell your clothes once you’re done with them to resale shops, such as Rag-o-Rama, Plato’s Closet or The Toggery. And as for what isn’t bought or consigned by these stores:  DONATE! In doing this, you can recover some of your earnings (and with some experience and strategy, you can even make money doing this), gain space back in your closet and allow someone else the opportunity to stumble across your ex-belongings and make them their own.

The important thing to remember while thrifting is that your closet doesn’t expand proportionately to the number of new clothes you buy. Don’t fall into the trap of hoarding your clothes or folding them in drawers in your room to make it all fit. If you do, you’ll never be able to see what you have to wear in the first place. So rule number 1:  if you’re thinking “in with the new” you first have to be “out with the old.”