People believe that shopping at thrift stores is some sort of super-natural gift- that God himself has bestowed special vision to certain lucky shoppers to find the diamond in the rough that makes them look fabulous and save a ton of money. This is not true. ANYONE can find great deals at thrift stores but it isn’t just about finding great clothing or household items- it’s about overcoming the mental barriers associated with thrift store shopping.
Picture yourself walking into Macy’s- you see shoppers trying on the latest styles of shoes, holding armfuls of new clothing on hangers, artfully arranged displays of jewlery. Now imagine what you smell when you walk into Macy’s- a combination scent of perfume (strategically placed near the entrance of department stores for this very reason), leather and the chemicals used to treat clothing to make them look wonderful on the racks. In Macy’s you feel good- that you will look beautiful buying something from there because of course everything has been selected by buyers who are paid to put the latest trends on the racks in Macy’s. Surely you can trust them.
Now picture yourself walking into Salvation Army. You see a somewhat an old lady in sweatpants pawing through bags of used stuffed animals, rows of shopping carts that people push through overcrowded racks of tacky and outdated things. Now imagine what you smell when you walk into Salvation Army- a combination of mothballs, dust and old stuff that is the cumulation of as many things as possible being crammed in a large room which just looks overwhelming. In Salvation Army you feel hopeless you’re going to find anything trendy, let alone something that will make you look great. You feel poor and slightly embarrassed that you’re not at Macy’s or at least Target where you can get a shirt and a cute new pair of earrings and not have to look through so much junk. Surely you could never find anything at a tacky and stinky place like this.
Has this ever gone through your head? Maybe not consciously but those feelings (and smells) are real. And because our olfactory senses are powerful we begin to associate certain smells and views with certain feelings. i.e.- artfully arranged clothing that smells like lovely perfume makes me feel rich and control of my life vs. overstuffed racks of clothing with price tags stapled to them that smell like mothballs makes me feel poor and ashamed of my life.
Rather than just giving you the basics of how to find great stuff at thrift stores to save money, look great and be on point with the latest trends I want to help you overcome those mental barriers we all associate with thrift shopping. There are days for me that I feel like the way I described above and am depressed I’m not in Macy’s, Target or any other store that doesn’t have a weird lady who talks to herself while she looks at used shoes. When I am in this mind frame it typically launches me into some sort of mental pity party and I just give up on finding anything because I’ve convinced myself there is nothing to be found.
I’ve learned that if I can mentally reframe what the experience of thrift store shopping is like, I’m able to realize one huge thing: it’s just clothes. Whether it smells like mothballs or perfume I am going to take it home, wash it and wear it. The items could be identical- but the feelings I associate with where they come from are usually what trips me up. I’ve learned to remember that it’s just clothes and to not buy into the idea that someone is trying to sell me of who I think I should be. Companies spend thousands of dollars getting us to believe that what we wear = who we are, or at least who we want to be. That’s a pile of crap. Once I realized this I felt free to enjoy covering my body with clothing from any store- because clothes are just an external expression of the creative person God has made me to be on the inside.
Here is where I need your help: what are the reasons you don’t shop at thrift stores? What are reasons you have heard other people share? Comment below and I’ll randomly select a winner by next Thursday to receive a $7 Goodwill gift card. Yes! A whopping $7! That’s like 5 outfits in Goodwill money.
Also- the winner from the comments to receive a wardrobe consultation from me from my style icons post is Kristen! Yay! Sorry I forgot to announce it last week!