• Namrata Jain

Try Thrifting

In early 2015, I had recently moved into my first apartment in Vancouver and one late evening while casually strolling my new neighborhood, I came across a thrift store. The display window had a medium sized table lamp. Golden stand topped with a maroon lampshade with gold-thread stitching. I stood there feeling guilty for wanting it since I had already gone a bit overboard with furniture for the new apartment. After much internal debate, I decided to check it out.

That opened a whole new world for me.

I don't know about you, but I really did not understand the concept of thrift stores immediately. The first thing that came to my mind was, why would I ever want someone else's used stuff? Gross. However, as I have realized over the past few years of regular thrift shopping, people throw away/donate all kinds of really good quality stuff for various reasons.

Since then, I have bought many home decor items (lamps, photo frames, furniture, assorted knickknacks) from thrift stores around the city. I have snagged really cute dresses off the thrift store racks. Almost all the books I own (about 80) have previously belonged to second-hand stores.

Not only is it an inexpensive way to scratch your shopping itch, the unique variety of display items really broadens your taste. I pick out dresses of little known designers just because some girl in my neighbourhood thought of discarding a dress. I don't have a sister, but I loved this girl's hand-me-down. In return, I have donated stuff I no longer use to them and hope it finds a new home.

Of course, the biggest appeal to thrift shopping is waste reduction and merchandise recycling. Like I said, people throw stuff out, sometimes brand new, for all kinds of reasons. One of the prominent ones being that they have to move and simply do not want to pay for the transport of that item. Why not then, rather than going to the mall or IKEA or wherever they sell lamps, google thrift stores in your neighborhood?

I do want to highlight a couple of things I usually do when buying stuff second hand. Always, always wash/sanitize stuff before using. I generally avoid cushions/mattress/pillows because of bedbug threats, but there are ways to get around them if you find something super classy that you have to have.

Lastly, I have learnt the hard way to not buy subpar things just because they are cheap. Specially dresses. I have gotten too excited and bought clothes that do not actually fit me, just because it's only $5.99.

If you live in Vancouver, here's a link for store recommendation. I personally love My sister's Closet, which has an added advantage of supporting a good cause.

Have fun and let me know what rare gems you come across in your neighbourhood thrift stores! :)

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