secondhand revolution

the benefits of thrifting are so numerous that i'm sheepish to try and explain them. thrift shopping helps to fight the unsustainable and unethical practices of fast fashion companies. you can reap the benefits of older things being made with better quality. it's also hands-down the best way to find cool and unique items. on top of everything, it can be a way of saving money. my objective for this page is to share some tips about thrifting and maybe inspire someone to get more interested in sustainable life. (by the way, i think the vast majority of people on neocities already know how great thrifting is so i know i'm not really selling anyone on it... but i might have some tips that could be new to you) some of these tips may also help those who are interested in keeping things for a longer time period.

i wanted to include tips on actual thrifting technique but while trying to brainstorm, i realized that the main strategy i have is PATIENCE. i recommend being very discerning and not picking anything up that you're not in love with. making peace with walking out of a flea market or thrift store empty-handed opens you up to finding really great stuff.

best things to buy secondhand

once you notice how easily certain things can be thrifted, you'll never look back
there are already SO many books on earth, any thrift store you go to will have a huge selection. you may be surprised and find something you've never even heard of. (if you're eager to read new titles, you can always avoid buying new by requesting or checking out at the library!)

if you're like me, furniture is frankly too expensive to afford unless you go for lesser quality. by thrifting, you can find actual good quality items for affordable prices.

craft and sewing supplies
i tend to check thrift stores before hitting up michael's or jo-ann fabrics. now, i VERY rarely buy sewing notions, fabric, scrapbooking supplies, etc.
this especially applies to mason jars. even if you're looking for a matching set, you won't have to hold out for long.

home decor
ESPECIALLY holiday decor! it's disturbing what excess you'll find at stores like home goods, aisles of seasonal tchotchkes and wall art, etc. all of these things can be found in abundance at thrift stores. if you hunt a little extra, you can also find original paintings!

simple appliances/gadgets
things like crock pots, alarm clocks, hair dryers, etc. can be completely cleaned. many thrift stores test these items or offer outlets to test them yourself.

thrifter's best friends (how to clean secondhand)

this is my anecdotal advice, i've had success with these products but you can always check this guide for advice. always tread lightly and test a small area on the back of the item first. i believe all of these products are available at dollar tree.

simple green

mild all-purpose cleaner. it's safer for household use than some cleaners so i usually try this first on non-porous surfaces like plastic.
oxy clean

best product i've found for removing stains on clothing, stuffed animals, or other fabric.
dusting cloth

dusting is usually a good first step before other cleaning, no matter the surface.
rubbing alcohol

sanitizes dirty items. i use this over bleach because i avoid bleach fumes. alcohol evaporates quickly.
dish soap

if you intend to use something for food or drink, dish soap is a safe way to clean it. it's also good for washing rubbery surfaces like many toys.
scrub brush

always comes in handy, especially for tougher jobs.

very effective spot cleaner for upholstered furniture.
barkeeper's friend

this is a corrosive product so try other options first but barkeeper's friend comes in handy for very damaged dishes. it's very effective on porcelain dishes and pyrex dishes.
melamine sponge

another last-resort product for removing spots in just about any material.

a new-age bonus... florida water
maybe you will find this "woo-woo" but i want to be careful or aware of bringing energy into my home. before bringing them in, i give new items a spritz of florida water perfume and tell them to leave any bad energy at the door. i honestly think you can perform a step like this any way you like.

tips on sprucing up clothing

removing stains
oxiclean laundry stain remover is my go-to for thrifted clothing with stains

when i first started altering clothing, i used to try to make cutoffs or crop-top shirts without trying them on which generally didn't work well for me. i recommend rolling the exisiting hem to follow the original cut (trimming excess fabric if needed), pinning or clipping it in place, then trying it on before hand or machine sewing along the new hem.

if you don't know how to sew, don't miss out on hem tape! the heatnbond brand is easy to find at joann fabric or other fabric stores and all you need is to iron it. just be sure it's a hem tape meant for permanent adhesion, not a temporary one.

making a patch or applique
learning this easy skill is a good way of repairing or decorating clothing.
it's a good way of using linens with graphics added or clothing that doesn't fit you... works with stretchy or non-stretchy fabric.

trim fabric or graphic larger than desired size

apply "heat-n-bond lite" shiny side facing back of fabric & iron (be sure the heat-n-bond is smaller than fabric)

cut to desired size, i like the look of trimming with pinking shears but it is optional. you can cut exact shapes too!

optional: add fray-check to the edges or cover edge with trim/lace going around (many monascas banana designs uses this technique)

peel off the backing, iron to desired clothing, & machine or hand sew around the edge

if you don't sew, you can do the same method with heat-bond ultrahold instead of heat-n-bond lite! it doesn't need to be sewn after ironing.