I like shopping at thrift stores and other places that sell used clothing. While shopping for used clothing is a great way to recycle and help save the planet, you may not always get the best value or really help the world as much as think you are.
Here are five things you should consider when buying clothing used:
1. There may be something wrong with it. The item may have been of poor quality originally or sewn wrong. It could also have a small bleach stain, permanent mark or other irregularity that will prove to be impossible to deal with.
2. It may not be much of a deal. With thrift store prices rising, some items are nearly as much as at discount stores. Thrift stores around here sometime charge $5.99 or even more for used jeans, but the cheap brands start at just $7 new.
3. A sale may be coming. Used merchandise stores all have to clear old merchandise, and that usually means periodic sales or color-coded reductions. Ask at your favorite stores to see when discounts are made. But remember inventory turns over quickly sometimes, so don’t count on specific items still being there at sale time.
4. You may not be helping any charity. Many thrift store chains are for-profit companies with no charitable association of any kind. Some buy from charities or donate a small percentage. Ask them directly if this matters to you. Otherwise, just enjoy the deals.
5. You may buy so much that you don’t save. Some people see low prices at a thrift store and buy lots of items. But if half of the items eventually prove unwearable, you’re not saving. It would have been more economical and you would have gotten more wear from buying one or two quality items at full retail price.
When you keep these five things in mind, you’ll be a smart used clothing shopper.