Enough is Enough

Are you put off by thrift stores? I was, for a long time. I’d gone in them for Halloween costumes, and my impression was of outdated clothes, the smell of mothballs, and a general lack of aesthetics.

When Dagny, as a young teenager, became more interested in environmental and human rights issues, she began shopping at thrift stores. As her ride, I began spending time in thrift stores. And, yes, they have plenty of outdated clothes, they often smell of mothballs, and the aesthetics are a little depressing to a beauty-loving eye. But eventually standing around while Dagny shopped got dull, and I began to tentatively poke through racks myself. I was happily surprised to find quality clothing tucked in between the polyester and shoulder-pads.

As of today, most of what I wear comes from a thrift store. My wardrobe in general is of higher quality than I could afford when shopping retail. Occasionally I have to mend a seam or ask Dagny to repair a hem, but the majority of what I buy is ready to go after a good washing.

I would not have guessed that my own thinking about waste and resources and stuff in general would be so profoundly influenced by a place that at first made me want to head straight back out to the car. But seeing the huge quantities of things tossed aside has given me a greater appreciation for what I have and a better understanding of what I need. (And don’t need.)

Not much of my own clothing makes it to a thrift store. Anything that’s past its prime is worn for gardening, stacking wood, or painting. When it’ll no longer do for that, it’s cut into rags, which we use daily rather than using paper towels. When I do have something that’s in good shape but I simply don’t wear, though, off to the thrift it goes. Hopefully someone else will be happily surprised to find it.


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