Courtesy of MCT
When you’re working with a college-sized budget, buying new and full-priced clothes is rarely a realistic option. Luckily, there’s a world of lightly-used, though sometimes not-so-lightly-used, clothes just within your grasp.
Thrift stores can provide a way to fill your closet without breaking your wallet, but only if you have the patience to swim through a sea of garbage to find some treasure.
The most important thing about shopping at thrift and secondhand stores is to go in with an open mind. Don’t walk through the doors with any expectations because chances are you’re not going to find exactly what you’re looking for.
The clothes at every thrift store are going to be different on any given day, and just because they have the piece you’re looking for doesn’t mean it’s going to be the right fit or in any sort of proper condition.
Instead, go expecting to search – expecting to really search. In order to find something worthwhile, you have to take the time to look through the contents of the entire rack. Sure, this sounds tedious, but most thrift stores separate merchandise by style, which at least narrows down your search between shirts, shoes, jackets and pants.
If you stumble across something that really catches your eye but the fit isn’t perfect, the world might not be over yet. If the quality’s good, and you really feel it’s worth your while, you can always have it altered. If it’s something with a simple fix, like a broken zipper or missing button, you might even have a friend who can fix it for you.
While it’s important to not go into a thrifting experience looking for specifics, it’s equally important to know what purchases you should avoid.
All thrift stores have a little bit of a smell, a smell that resembles the inside of your great-grandmother’s house. Most of the time, this problem can be solved with thorough washing and Febreze, but if it smells like cigarette smoke or like it was once upon a time in the litter box for someone’s cat, stay away. Smoke and animal smells are extremely difficult to get out of fabric, and are only made worse through excess cologne.
Even if you make a completely smell-free purchase, you should always wash every item you buy from a thrift store before wearing it. Just like your mother always said, “you don’t know where that’s been.”
One of the best thrift stores in the Columbus area is the Village Discount Outlet, which is located at 3500 Cleveland Ave., according to its website, and worth the about 10-minute drive from campus. The Village Discount Outlet not only has the largest selection, but the lowest prices as well.
Other good options that are just a short bus ride away from campus are Goodwill, located at 2550 N. High St., and Rag-O-Rama, located at 3301 N. High St. in Clintonville.