Save. Spend. Splurge.

What is our hangup with wearing or using secondhand goods?

Every time I mention how cool thrifting, secondhand items and SAVING MONEY doing it, is, I get this look from some people (my partner and my mother included).

Thrifters, you know that look. I know you do!

That wrinkled nose, half awkward smile, bared teeth like a beaver, and curled lip, all saying: No….

(Or some form of “No” anyway..)

But I just don’t get it.

We wear and reuse secondhand things ALL THE TIME.




Hotels wash (?) and re-use bedding, airplanes don’t re-do the seat covers, or get rid of the blankets on the seats every time a new butt plants itself down, and we are constantly re-using what someone else has touched or used before.


Restaurants wash and re-use cutlery, plates and glasses.

We wear rented bowling shoes.

So what’s our hangup with wearing secondhand items?

Well-washed, and cleaned, why not?

It helps reuse what is already made and existing in the world rather than buying something new, it saves us money, and it gives us access to items that we do not have the means to otherwise buy.

Sounds like a win-win-win all around to me.


  • save. spend. splurge.

    That’s a good point, but I see it more as trying to find a higher quality piece that you CAN’T buy at JC Penney or even Banana Republic for $5, like those rare designer brands I have stumbled upon once every 40 trips HAHA.

  • Betty Huang

    Great article! I agree that it takes alot of patience to get a good find at thrift stores and alot of people don’t have the time for it… My friend actually started a new site called Assemblage ( and I thought it was really cool because we often shop at secondhand stores and talk about how we wish we didn’t have to dig through 40 poor quality clothes to find one item that was buyable, to have a secondhand store that was just as easy to shop at as an urban outfitters/intermix/etc. You can say that Assemblage was created out of a need for a secondhand store ‘without the dig’.

    I also think it’s important that even while shopping secondhand, to be conscious of our purchases and not just buying because of a discount! 🙂

  • Kathy

    I’ve never had much luck shopping thrift stores or even places like TJ Maxx or Marshalls. Everything seems such a jumble and not too well organized. My mom has scored some things she likes at these type of stores and even Goodwill, but I suppose I’m too much of a snob. I just never find things of a quality I’m willing to purchase.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      My rate of finding something decent has been 2 out of 40 trips, and each trip was about 2-3 hours of searching, so I can tell you it is patience that you need — something I don’t have with a toddler, sometimes.

  • nancy

    Sure, it’s sometimes the cleanliness issue, but I don’t thrift or buy consignment much for a few other reasons. It’s a lot of effort and time to go digging through a lot of stuff for that odd treasure. A lot of people don’t have the time or patience for it. It’s rare to hit a jackpot – an item you like and want, and in good condition, and fits you (sure, you can tailor items that are too large, but much harder if something is too small), and is good value. Consignment stores can sometimes have prices that are way too high for used clothes that are in so-so condition. A lot of second-hand items are dated looking too. Often it’s been donated because it’s not in style anymore. I do buy used items from Ebay occasionally though. It’s easier to track brands and styles I like online. For me, thrifting could be a dangerous road to excess too. I’d rather save money by buying fewer things than thrifting piles of clothes I don’t really need because they’re inexpensive.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      That’s a good point. I do find myself going to eBay a lot more often lately because it’s easier to sift through things with a search.

      Thrifting has definitely been a dangerous road to excess for me, I saw myself going off the deep end a few times… It is definitely rare to hit a jackpot, I have only hit it twice in maybe 40 trips!

  • rasilla

    Honestly, I don’t mind. It is the thrill of the hunt. I have several pieces that I have bought awhile back that I cherish. I think that for some, you don’t know what people may have done. Thus, they cringe at the idea of cleaning thoroughly? Maybe?

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