The joy of thrifting: Our stores become the between homes for all kinds of untold treasures

Buying second-hand through Goodwill is about more than saving money. It’s also about the thrill of the hunt, the ability to find one-of-a-kind, often funky, at times vintage and always useful items that need a second start somewhere else.

At its heart, thrifting becomes a shopping adventure. Many Goodwill Central Coast customers arrive without any specific agenda or shopping list. They love the process, they respect how the end result creates jobs in the community and they know that shunning fast fashion helps the planet. It’s a win-win-win situation.

Our stores become the between homes for all kinds of untold treasures, housing things that had outlived their original purpose but have untold possibilities ahead. And because GCC restocks its shelves daily with thousands of new items, the chance of securing that perfect treasure increases exponentially.

The idea of buying second-hand has grown in popularity over the decades. According to a study commissioned by the online resale platform ThredUp, 1 in 5 Americans will shop at a thrift store during a given year, about the same number who will shop at major department stores. At Goodwill Central Coast we stand proud that more and more people have discovered the thrill of thrifting. It saves cents — and makes sense, too.

Your donations and purchases help us empower more than 13,000 people per year through job training and employment opportunities. Our programs also help save the planet by diverting tons of clothing and household items from ending up in local landfills.

Many businesses in the fast-fashion industry use manufacturing methods that are extremely harmful to the environment and produce cheap, short-lasting clothes that are often thrown out. This system uses high volumes of non-renewable resources, including petroleum, extracted to produce clothes that are often used only for a short period of time, after which the materials are largely lost to landfills or incineration.

Here’s a fact that may amaze you: To grow the cotton required to make a new cotton T-shirt and pair of jeans requires more than 5,000 gallons of water. By choosing to buy secondhand, you reduce that number to zero.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, more than 11 million tons of clothing and footwear are sent to landfills in a given year. More than 80 percent of unwanted clothes in the U.S. were incinerated or sent to landfills.

Thrifting combats this by preventing resources invested in making clothes from being used in vain. It is also a sustainable alternative to minimize personal contribution to clothing waste and non-ethical fashion sources.

For some, the thought of thrifting requires a more open mind than it does for others, but for those willing there is much to be found. Thrifting is something that anyone can do; it’s something that can be exciting and fun and brings with it plenty of creative freedom. Creating something remarkable from things left behind is empowering. All it takes is a little imagination. Turn a Mason jar into a lamp. Transform an old chair into a raised dog dish holder. Tightly bind some old hardback books to create an ingenious knife-set holder.

The possibilities are endless. Just swipe through Pinterest and you’ll see.

Finally, shopping second-hand feels good — in so many ways. Supporting Goodwill Central Coast means you are supporting the people working there and their families. You are also helping bolster the GCC programs that remove obstacles to employment. And, of course, you are supporting initiatives to help save our planet, because without that nothing else really matters, does it?

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