OP-ED: What is “thrift-hunting?”

Gracyn Richardson

After spending countless hours idly shopping throughout local St. Vincents or Goodwill, you start to see yourself knowing the cashiers too much and them knowing your wallet just as well.

Thrifting for fun is something that I struggle with, so having a coordinated plan is a better mindset to have before entering thrift stops.

Other than it being a term I made up, my official definition of “thrift-hunting” is having a set group of things that you want to buy/collect pre-set out before you enter into a thrift store.

Thrift stores can be massive and immersive. Once I spent 2 hours in a thrift store in the university district of Seattle because I did not want to miss any good finds. It can be overwhelming entering a thrift store, but thrift-hunting helps with that feeling. It can be set out differently for everyone.

Mine is set in my notes app on my phone, a simple list of furniture pieces that I know I want or need, along with little knickknacks that I know can fit into my apartment.

For example, my list for this week reads as follows: fake flowers, new fabric for the couch, new jeans preferably Levi’s or Route 66, and anything mushroom-related I come across.

You can make the list very broad or specific, but it is a healthy reminder to not overspend just because you have it on you. Not only is thrift-hunting beneficial to your wallet, but it also allows you to not clutter up your house.

I personally spend way too much money on little items that cannot fit into my house, so setting up a set group of things that you would want or need is very convenient.

You can also have a more settled mind with less clutter in your home. Being able to coordinate your money into thrifting can also encourage you to get out of the house, which is very hard to do somedays.

Having a gentle reminder that you want to continue to work on and improve the space that you’re in can motivate you to want to get up and make those changes.

Thrift-hunting is also good for reminding yourself that you could crucially need things that you do not want to buy at full price, i.e., a new couch, lamps, or even something small like a paper towel holder.

Now, making a list of things that you want might seem difficult. It’s hard for me to narrow down things that I want, or things that I allow myself to buy when at thrift stores, but after thrifting frequently, the boundaries are basically crucial.

Seattle is not the only place I have spent hours thrifting in. My own hometown suffers from it too, jumping from store to store, rifling through every pair of jeans or every gold-trimmed picture frame ends up taking a lot of time out of your day.

You have to remember to be consistent with thrift-hunting, setting those boundaries for yourself will narrow down the things you have to pack and move when your lease ends, but also help you not clutter your house with little items that you want in the moment, and forget about as soon as you set it down at home.

Overall, it’s not rocket science. We all cognitively wean out the things that we really want versus need when it comes to groceries or main-store shopping, but the place it will get you the most is the place where everything is under $5.

We often forget we have places like Dollar Tree that sell durable things like candle holders, that get turned around and donated to a thrift store, where they sell a $1 candle holder to you for $2.10.

Not that much of a difference in the moment but compare it in the long run to how much you could actually save on things when you budget them out. It’s difficult to limit yourself, but it is necessary to do so when you thrift consistently.

For any information regarding how I coordinate my thrift shopping, email me at [email protected] lcmail.lcsc.edu!