Thrifting, Consignment Stores, and Fast Fashion

The What, Why, and Where

WOW, It's been forever since I have posted and I am sorry. Between the cold weather (spring #fail) and getting two different viruses, I haven't been leaving my house much and definitely haven't been stopping people to take photos! That's changing though - let's all hope it stays that way!

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Today I want to talk about thrift and consignment stores and their significant place in the eco-fashion movement. 

Thrift stores are non-profit organizations that rely on donations to fund their cause, much like the Listen Center (in its multiple locations) raises the money to fund their various community programs like the Heating Helpers, provision of camp scholarships, hosting community dinners almost every night of the week, and more.

Consignment stores generally rely on individuals who would like to sell their items but don't want the hassle themselves. Consignment stores usually have one or two target audiences, such as clothing - adults only, adults and children - furniture, antiques, etc.

According to Courtney Baker, of, every consignment store can have different policies so research them first, but, "it’s standard for you to drop off your items for a 30-, 60- or 90-day cycle. If your item doesn’t sell within that period, some shops will discount the item (by say, 30%), or you will need to pick it up. You can expect to be charged a 25% to 60% commission, which the shop collects as its profit. Some shops offer you higher percentages if you take in-store credit instead of cash."

There are a few excellent reasons to shop/donate/sell at thrift and consignment stores

1. Your own wallet. Who doesn't want to save more money? 

Ok, I do need to give you some advice here - you only SAVE money if you don't buy everything you see! That's a hard lesson learned by most experienced thrifters. Go in with a general idea of a few things you need and look for items that fit those categories. Do be open to surprises, always check the men's department quickly (sometimes treasures are hidden over there), but don't buy everything you love because it's $3-5, it adds up. 

2. Someone else's wallet. 

Donate/consign the clothing or household items you don't want. You are helping someone else take part in recycling and possibly someone who can't afford full price.

At 32, my house is still furnished almost entirely with secondhand items. We weren't able to afford new at the time, and now, it would not only eat up all extra money, but it would be silly to buy new things. We love everything we have, it looks great, and it all has held the test of time. 

3. Amazing finds! 

I have found designer clothing priced at $5 without a single mar, purses, and shoes too. One of my favorite scores ever came when I was on a search for costume items, and saw these Reebok Classics in nearly perfect condition ($6, thank you LISTEN Center!)

Here are a few more recent wins. 

Spring Thrifting!

I've recently started upcycling. If you sew, pull out that machine and check out the stores for items that may be too big or small. There are tons of ideas online as for upcycling various clothing items. 

4. Fighting "fast fashion" and the massive amount of textile waste we produce each year.

 What is "fast fashion"?

"According to Elizabeth Cline in her book Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, fast-fashion merchandise is typically priced much lower than the competition, operating on a business model of low quality / high volume.

Cline points to the Spanish retailer Zara for pioneering the fast-fashion concept with new deliveries to its stores coming in twice per week." - Shannon Whitehead of HuffPost shared in her article on fast fashion.
The EPA estimated in 2013 that of the 70lbs of clothing and other textiles the average person in the US throws away every year (not to mention the amount of extra fabric that clothing manufacturers trash) approximately 15% gets recycled and 85% ends up in our landfills.
And because most of that clothing, particularly the cheaper stuff, is full of synthetic fibers and chemicals, it will take decades for it to decompose.
So, while those Zara and H&M ads are pretty tempting, the companies aren't rocking environmental concerns in any significant way. In fact, they are busy trying to convince you that the dress you bought last month has already gone out of style, but their new arrivals are right on point. 

Thrift store and consignment shopping cut down on this major textile waste while spicing up your wardrobe with one-of-a-kind finds.

In the Upper Valley, we are lucky to have a relatively wide array of consignment and thrift stores. Twice a year the Norwich Women's Club holds a consignment sale called the Nearly New Sale (pre-consign now if you want, the sale is coming up in May) to benefit their Scholarship Fund.
Without further ado - A List of Thrift and Consignment Stores in the Upper Valley*
  • LISTEN Thrift Stores - Clothing/Housewares in White River Junction, VT, Lebanon, NH and Canaan, NH, Furniture in White River Junction and Canaan.
  • Sevca/Good Buy Store - Clothing, Housewares, and Furniture in White River Junction, VT.
  • The Salvation Army - Clothing, Housewares, and Furniture in West Lebanon, NH.
  • The ReCover Store - Furniture and Housewares in White River Junction, VT.
  • D & R Thrift Store - Furniture, Housewares, Vintage Finds in East Thetford, VT
  • Outrageous Thrift Store - Furniture and Vintage Finds in Hartford, VT
  • Changes Thrift Store - Clothing and Housewares, Claremont, NH
  • Out-Fit U - Clothing, Housewares, and Furniture Claremont, NH
  • Nana's Collectables and Treasures - Hodgepodge of everything Claremont, NH
  • Kit 'n Kaboodle Thrift - Clothing Claremont, NH
  • Lukana's Dream - Bethel, VT
  • Blooming Treasures - Clothing both thrift and consignment, Bethel, VT
  • Revolution - Clothing consignment, vintage and new designers, White River Junction, VT
  • The Collection - Clothing, consignment and vintage, White River Junction, VT
  • Agatha's - Clothing, vintage and consignment, South Strafford, VT
  • Ellaway's Attic - Furniture, etc. consignment, Woodstock, VT
  • Who Is Sylvia? - Vintage Clothing, consignment, Woodstock, VT
  • The Pink Alligator - Clothing, consignment, Hanover, NH and West Lebanon, NH
  • In Season Consignment - Clothing plus some Furniture and Housewares, Bradford, VT
  • Village Eclectics - A little bit of everything, Bradford, VT
  • Abby's Closet - Children's Clothing and Toys, mostly consignment, West Lebanon, NH
  • re.Find: a Collective Boutique - Clothing, consignment, Ludlow, VT
  • Encore Designer Consignment - Clothing, consignment, Woodstock, VT
  • Wicked Good Stuff - Furniture, Housewares and much more, thrift store, East Corinth, VT
  • Consign and Design Center - Furniture and Housewares, consignment, West Lebanon, NH
  • Wiskers' Shop - Clothing, Housewares, etc., thrift store, Enfield, NH 
  • Closet Treasures - Clothing and Toys, consignment, Grantham, NH
  • Gear Traders - Outdoor Gear, consignment, Woodstock, VT
*Please correct me if you find an error or addition that needs to be made -
There are a couple of online options too, eBay and Etsy being among the most common, but and have stormed the online consignment market in the past couple of years. I find these websites great for two things. 1. to find a specific item I am looking for (i.e., a denim vest in the right size and length.) 2. for people who have a hard time leaving the house and standing for long periods (like me when I am having a few tough weeks and can't get out.)
However, remember that using websites to purchase used clothing isn't as beneficial environmentally, the shipping and packaging do take their toll.
So, now that it's warming up and you might be thinking about new clothes, get out and check out some of the stores above! You never know what you might find, but you will know that you aren't contributing to the growth of fast fashion.
Speaking of warmer weather - do you get spring fever and NEED to change your hair?

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