By Anne Haule
How do you protect the climate, save money, get exercise, have fun and give back to the community all at the same time?
I call it treasure hunting. Others call it “thrifting.”
Treasure hunting has become a fun hobby. I thank my daughter, the minimalist, for showing me the way. I’ll admit to having been a bit of a snob about thrift stores. I was happy to donate my old stuff to them but I never thought to shop in them.
This changed when my daughter, who has been buying her clothes from thrift stores since her high school days, explained the ethical value of recycling. It’s not about whether or not you can afford new stuff; it’s about supporting the concept of recycling to help keep the planet cleaner by reducing waste and carbon emissions from manufacturing.
It’s also about spending your money in non-profit thrift shops that donate their proceeds back to help the less fortunate in the community. This year Goodwill helped get 157,247 people back to work. Assistance League Greater San Diego provides new school clothing and supplies for more than 3,500 children in need from more than 70 schools in eight school districts.
If you walk instead of drive, you get exercise and lessen your carbon footprint. In Hillcrest, walking the mile west on one side of University Avenue from Park Avenue to First Street and then the mile back east on the other side, there is a significant stash of treasure that can be found by a discerning eye in the various second-hand, consignment and thrift shops along the route.
For example: for only $1, I bought a Calvin Klein go-to-court suit at the Assistance League for my newly minted lawyer-daughter that would have cost $129.00 online.
At Goodwill, I found a pair of high-end hiking shoes for only $9. When I looked the brand up I found they retail for more than $100, and I also found they made my feet happy when I took my first hike in them in Mission Trails.
One of my favorite finds (also from Goodwill) is a beautiful Compass Lapis Jewel Gemstone Globe. This wonderful piece retails for $520, and I only spent $44 and have had lots of fun marveling at its beauty and imagining travel to exotic places.
As a wannabe interior designer, I have filled my walls and shelves with amazing art and artifacts – most of which is from Mexico and the Southwest. I love showing people around my apartment and listening to the “oohs” and “ahhs” and then watching the looks of amazement as I confess that my “art gallery home” has been stocked from local thrift stores.
If you need any more reasons to start shopping in thrift stores, consider this:
- Approximately 12 million tons of discarded textiles are put in US landfills each year.
- It takes 1,300 gallons of water to produce one T-shirt
- Every pound of clothing that is reworn instead of purchased new saves seven pounds of greenhouse gases.
Lastly, once you begin your own treasure hunting, I suggest you guard against being featured on that TV show about hoarders by donating back to thrift stores at least as much as you buy!
Debbie Nazareth says
I long ago discovered the “thrill of the hunt” at thrift stores, but your article really explained what a difference thrift store shopping can mean for the environment. If you are ever looking for company while you browse your favorite thrift stores, I’d be happy to join you!
Anne haule says
Thanks Debbie! Let’s go!