Come thrift with us

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As high schoolers, a lot of us are in the same boat: we have no money, but we still want to go out with our friends. There was once a time when having your mom drop you off at the mall for a few hours was the most exciting thing you had ever done. Now that you’ve probably got a license and are sick of your wallet audibly sighing every time you leave the house, the idea of shopping seems much more insignificant.

However, as a growing young-adult whose thoughts and ideas are shaping them every day into an independent, unique individual with style (or something), it is important to know that you have options. Thrift stores allow people of all ages to take home one-of-a-kind finds for extremely discounted prices. You know what they say- one man’s discarded XL sweater is another teenage girl’s treasure.

Most notably, chains like Goodwill and Savers dominate the thrifting market. But if you take a closer look, you can find even more just around the corner, like Plato’s Closet, St. Vincent de Paul or Avalon Exchange with items ranging from brand name finds like unworn Nike Air-Force 1s or Tommy Hilfiger jeans to vintage jean jackets to everyone’s favorite Hawaiian shirts. Thrifting is cheap, fun and good for the environment, so the next time you’re feeling a little Cabin Fever-y this winter, grab some friends and go shopping.  

 

Ranked on a scale from 1-5, with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest.

Savers

Distance from school: 4/5. Given that there’s no traffic, it’s a straight shot right down the road; you can make it to Saver’s in less than 10 minutes and grab a Blizzard from Dairy Queen on your way in.

Organization: 4/5. Clothes are separated by season, material, size and how long they’ve been on the sales floor, making it extremely simply to walk in and spot the exact section you’re looking for, whether it’s an oversized t-shirt or a…mannequin head?

Price: 2/5. While Savers offers clothes at a price much lower than you could ever dream of finding at the mall, they are also a for-profit company looking to make a few bucks. This means that your idealistic thrifting experience could be shattered by an $11 t-shirt (or you could get jeans for $1, you never know what you’ll get, and it’s a little off-putting).

Finds: 4/5. You will have a hard time leaving Savers without at least a pile of clothes in your arms (paper bags are 10 cents because Savers cares about the environment). With more than 10,000 items making their way onto shelves everyday, there’s always something new and improved to get your hands on.

 

Goodwill

Distance from school: 5/5. Turning right out of school, you could make it to Goodwill in less than 120 seconds if you wanted to—it’s that close. Why aren’t you there already?

Organization: 2/5. It took a minute to figure out what was going on, but after we grew accustomed to the dim lighting we figured out that the clothes are separated by style and color. This doesn’t really come in handy when you find a pair of pants you just have to get, and then find out they’re three sizes too small. However, with rainbows on every rack, it is kind of fun to look at.

Price: 2/5. Clothes at Goodwill have a set price, dresses are $4.50 unless otherwise marked, pants are $6, it’s really helpful to know the price of something before you fall in love with how soft it is. And while the prices can seem a bit high sometimes, it’s important to note that most of their money goes towards providing job training and classes for people with disabilities or otherwise challenging job hunts.  

Finds: 1/5. More often than not, trips to Goodwill end with empty hands and empty hearts. It’s a good place to go when you’re in the mood for clothes that you can tolerate and kind of justify spending money on. But it’s not a total bust; sometimes they have decent guitars or business casual outfits if that’s ever something you’re looking for.

 

St. Vincent de Paul

Distance from school: 2/5. If you and your friends are feeling brave enough to make it all the way down Manchester Rd., go for it. Otherwise it’s a bit of an…adventure. Make sure you’re careful to avoid rush hour, unless you’d like to spend an additional three days in the parking lot trying to make an escape.

Organization: 4/5. Because so much of the store is sectioned off for large furniture, there are really only five or six racks of clothes, making it super easy to make your rounds in an appropriate amount of time.

Price: 4/5. Just like Goodwill, different styles of clothes are priced in bulk, making it super easy to know exactly how much you’re paying for your haul before you even make it to the register. However, you have been warned: the prices will definitely add up very quickly.

Finds: 3/5. Surprisingly St. Vincent de Paul seems to be the place to go if you’re in need of pants. Maybe it was fate, maybe it was the thrift gods, maybe it’s Maybelline. Point is, we’ve always seemed to luck out on pants more so than anything else, so good luck pants-hunting.

 

Avalon Exchange

Distance from school: 1/5. Okay, so this one may be a bit of a reach located all the way on the Delmar Loop. Yes, it’s a bit of a drive, but if you’re tired of looking through clothes probably donated by your neighbors at one point or another, Avalon Exchange might just be worth the extra 25 minutes on the road.

Organization: 3/5. Searching through countless of clothes in such a small space can get hectic and fry your brain. Looking from the front door of the store, it seems like almost all the clothes are jumbled in one colorful mess, but when actually walking through the store, you’ll recognize that finding specific things is quite easy. Not to mention, every piece is all organized properly by increasing size.  

Price: 2/5. Prices all vary with the quality and brand of individual pieces. The price tags can be intimidating especially compared to those of Goodwill, but no doubt about it, you’ll still buy these pieces for way cheaper at Avalon’s than you would ever be able to at a regular mall or outlet.

Finds: 5/5. Avalon’s is a thrift store I would describe as more “boujee.” Almost every time I visited, I have only been met with vintage pieces that are currently trending again, or styles I would splurge $50 for at PacSun. Though unlike Pacsun, where you can turn a corner in public and see someone wearing the exact same shirt or sweater as you, Avalon Exchange solely provides unique and exotic pieces that, guaranteed, no one else you know will have.

 

Plato’s Closet

Distance from school: 3/5. Plato’s Closet, while also located on Manchester Rd, is a few minutes closer than St. Vincent de Paul so it gets an extra point. However, it’s located in a busy shopping center so if it’s not a slow day, parking could cause you some trouble.

Organization: 1/5. Have you ever walked into someone else’s room and wanted immediately to fake a call from your mom and run home? That’s the exact feeling you get walking into Plato’s. Clothes, shoes and all sorts of accessories are piled on racks, hung from the walls and are spilling out of bins all over the floor. So…bring gloves.
Price: 2/5. Because they prioritize selling in-style clothes to teens, expect to pay a bit more for scuffed shoes or stretched out tops than you would at any other thrift store. What’s unique about Plato’s Closet though is that you can donate clothes and wait for them to be sorted and priced while you shop, and can even come out even.

Finds: 2/5. Unless you’re looking for a Halloween costume or a Homecoming dress, it’s pretty safe to say that you can avoid Plato’s. There’s certainly no limit to the items you can look through, but finding something worth the price and in-style might be more of a challenge than you’re looking for.

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