I wanted an efficient system that would keep all of it clean and would allow me a clear view of my choices. My earrings went into plastic bead boxes which are divided into uniform compartments. My bracelets, pins and necklaces went into tackle boxes. They are the same shape and size as the bead boxes, but come with tabs to customize the interior space, perfect for the bracelets, pins and necklaces. Since much of my jewelry is sterling, I bought tarnish inhibiting fabric and lined the boxes with it.
I then retrieved a desktop paper sorter that was destined for our next yard sale and stacked the bead and tackle boxes on it. It is the most efficient way I’ve found to store my avalanche of treasures.
March 18, 2011 No Comments
On occasion, when my friend Bea and I are hanging out at our local thrift store, she grabs my hand and forces me to touch garments made out of fabrics that are a tactile nightmare. She thinks she’s funny. I’m left with the uncomfortable memory of stiff, itchy fabric.
The purpose of this website is to point out that there is good, sometimes even beautiful, used clothing available at secondhand stores. What I rarely mention is that part of the fun of shopping secondhand is seeing puzzlingly hideous clothing, ugly doo-dads, horrible paintings and pitiful, abandoned dollies. I’m constantly asking myself why anybody would design/make/buy/donate/or put this awful stuff on the shelf, even if the shelf is located in the cheapest-of-the-cheap charity thrift store.
While I’m content to sit and ask myself questions about all of this grotesque stuff, Jacob Williamson, creator of Thrifthorror: Things from Beyond the Bargain Bin, hunts it down, photographs it and then writes about it at length. If you have not yet fallen on the floor laughing today, I strongly suggest that you check out his wonderfully written blog.
As I compose this, I’m at home with a cold, so I’m missing my regular weekly thrift store trip with my pal, Bea. We go on Wednesdays because that’s the day when almost all of the clothing is 1/2 off. By the time I get there next week, at least some the great stuff that I would have found today will be gone, having been discovered by some other bargain hunter. At least I don’t have to worry about missing any of the ugly, hilarious things, though, because they will all still be there.
March 2, 2011 No Comments
I recently dropped one pant size and had to replace all of my jeans. For around thirty dollars, I bought six pair at my local thrift store. That’s less than I would have paid for any one of them had I bought them new.
Except for a few tee shirts, everything else in my closet still fit. For people who lose a more significant amount of weight, shopping at used clothing stores can be a real financial lifesaver. As we near the end of Secondhand Wardrobe Week, I suggest that you have a look at this article by Julia Hillegass. She describes how secondhand stores helped both her wallet and her wardrobe when she was facing similar clothing challenges.
February 18, 2011 No Comments
I ushered in the week by donating a carload of used clothing to my favorite charity thift. I have also started working on Secondhand Wardrobe Week for next year. Here is what I have in mind–a contest where blog readers post photos of thirift store bargains and vote for which they like the best. The winners will receive gift certificates to local thrift stores. I have started talking to thrift store managers about donating gift certificates and have begun working on both the legalities and the technical issues involved in contests so that I’m ready in 2012. I will keep you posted.
February 13, 2011 No Comments
To explain why I created Secondhand Wardrobe Week, I need to tell you a bit about my childhood. I grew up wearing clothing that was often stained and too small. My mother would take me shopping in September, before school started. The few items I’d bring home were supposed to last all year. By December, most of my clothes were either too small or stained. The experience of wearing such raggedy clothes was humiliating, but I never considered that used clothing was an alternative.
The reason I didn’t even think of shopping secondhand was because I equated used clothing with complete desperation, and I couldn’t bear to think of myself as desperate.
I didn’t come up with such a negative idea about secondhand clothing on my own–there’s a stigma about it that many people, even in this tough economy, still believe. I created Secondhand Wardrobe Week because I want to smash that stigma. It hurts me to know that there are children today who go to school in too small, stained clothes because they are uncomfortable shopping for used clothing. It also upsets me to know that there are people who need work but feel that they can’t afford appropriate job interview clothes because they do not know that great, unbelievably inexpensive garments are available used.
Please help me smash the stigma. Have a look around this site, subscribe, leave me a comment, or buy my book for somebody who could benefit from learning how to find the bargains. Most importantly, if you already buy your clothing used, tell people about it, because the best way to defeat beliefs that don’t serve us well is to shed light on them.
February 7, 2011 No Comments
I believe that there are great environmental, economic, and style benefits to be gained from buying and wearing used clothing. That’s why I blogged about the subject from March 2008 to April 2009. You’ll find those old blog entries by scrolling down this page. On the other pages of this site you’ll find background information about Secondhand Wardrobe Week as well as information about my book, The Secondhand Wardrobe.
Watch this space in the upcoming months for videos about secondhand fashion, bargain hunting, ecological concerns as they relate to textiles, and other issues about secondhand clothes. I’ll be interviewing experts in these areas, so if you have any suggestions about who would make an interesting interviewee, please leave me a comment.
December 6, 2010 No Comments
For those of us who enjoy creating a secondhand wardrobe, thrift stores are great fun. But because the prices are so low and there is such a wealth of goods, thrift stores can be dangerous places for clutterers. Many people can’t bear to throw things away, even if those things make their homes unbearable. I know because I grew up with a clutterer.
We couldn’t eat at the dining room table (always covered with stuff), were afraid to open a closet door (because of the realistic fear that some of the stuff would fall on our heads), and eventually, couldn’t even walk into most of the bedrooms (they were filled to eye level with broken furniture, old clothes and junk mail).
That was long ago, before people started going on TV to talk about their problems. Now you can follow the “Clean Up Your Messy House Tour” on Oprah as organizer Peter Walsh brings order to the messiest of homes. You can also catch the 8th season of Clean House on the Style Network. There are many books available on the subject, my favorite being the classic Clutter’s Last Stand by Don Aslett. For clutterers looking for a support group that follows Alcoholics Anonymous guidelines, there’s Clutterers Anonymous and if you’re willing to pay for help, try the National Association of Professional Organizers.
The road to cleaning up the mess starts with sorting and finding a new home for all of the stuff. While clutterers do well to steer clear of shopping in thrift stores, making donations of unwanted items helps to clear out the piles while also helping somebody else.
April 27, 2009 No Comments
March 30, 2009 No Comments
It’s impossible to tune in to any media source these days without hearing the dismal news about the economy. One thing it means to me is that those of us who have a bit of extra cash need to be giving some of it to food banks and shelters. Donating your good used clothing is another way to help because rather than wasting away in your closet, it can get used by somebody who really needs it. And if you spend your clothing dollars at thrift stores run by charities that help people in need, your money goes where it can do some good.
March 20, 2009 No Comments
The other night, after months of really bitter cold, my husband and I broke down and went to the enormous mall (we’re talking 1,700,000 square feet of retail space). Neither one of us likes going to malls because the point of them is to part people from their money. But on this particular night, we really needed to get out of the house. Because of the extreme cold, there weren’t a lot of choices.
It had been so long since we’d visited this place that I’d forgotten about the volume and variety of stuff being sold. Stuff for your home, stuff to wear, stuff to cook with, and especially stuff for bored teenagers who spend a lot of time wandering around the mall learning to become consuming adults.
On my regular thrift store jaunts, I’m constantly scratching my head, wondering why so much barely used or brand new clothing winds up there. The rare trip to my local mall reminds me that other folks have very different spending habits than I do. Will the recent downturn in the economy start to change that? It certainly has for some people, but that’s another topic for another day.
Meanwhile, I have to admit that I succumbed to the temptations of the mall on that cold night. I bought one book from the dollar store.
March 13, 2009 No Comments