For some, thrift shopping is to find Halloween costumes. For others, it could be to find a book to read for up to 90 percent cheaper than list price.
For whatever reason people thrift, they all agree on one thing: it’s great to be able to save money.
For the past seven years, Alicia Nienstedt has gone weekly to St. Luke Auxiliary Shoppe. She often looks for clothing for her 5 and 6-year-old children.
“They grow out of their clothes so quickly,” Nienstedt said. “So we do a lot of shopping there.”
Nienstedt, who used to live in a big city, did not start thrift shopping frequently until she moved to Marion.
“It was probably 2009 that I started shopping at the auxiliary,” Nienstedt said. “It was my mother-in-law who suggested we should check it out.”
Aside from clothing, Nienstedt also searches for various household items.
“We just kind of go and peruse every shelf to see if we need anything,” Nienstedt said. “I keep a list of my wants and head over.”
One special find was a chair with a stool that slides out from underneath.
“It’s great for our kids if they’re going to help in the kitchen,” Nienstedt said. “It comes in handy.”
If Nienstedt doesn’t find what she is looking for in Marion, she will sometimes head over to the Et Cetera Shop in Hillsboro.
“I don’t get over there as much as I do the auxiliary,” Nienstedt said, “but if I’m in serious search of something, then I head over to Hillsboro.”
Nienstedt said they also donate quite a bit to the shop, and that she tells her friends it is a great place to find affordable clothes.
“If I can get there on a Friday, I let my friends know by Saturday things that they might like,” Nienstedt said.
For Hillsboro Elementary School secretary Sharon Funk, her frequent visits to Hillsboro’s Et Cetera Shop landed her a monthly gig setting up the shop’s window displays.
“A little over a year ago, they asked me,” Funk said. “I guess because I come in here so often they figured I’d have the eye to do it.”
Funk, who has been thrift shopping for more 30 years, shops for some things for herself, but she also looks for things for the kids she works with.
“I look for about anything,” Funk said. “I also come and buy pants and shirts for the kids at school, in case they spill milk.”
The amount of people who don’t shop secondhand stores surprises her, Funk said.
“Firsthand is so expensive,” Funk said. “Secondhand is not perfect, but some of it is as good as new.”
One of the reasons Funk shops secondhand is the amount of money she can save.
“You can save a lot, and you can get good quality, there’s no doubt about it,” Funk said. “You would not believe the name brand items you could find here, it’s unbelievable.”
Funk said that to thrift shop, people need to not expect to be able to walk in and go straight to the size of clothing they are looking for.
“You have to have an eye because it’s not labeled size wise. You just have to look,” Funk said. “Sometimes I have an idea of what I’m looking for in a color, so sometimes I look for that, but sometimes I just come in and start looking.”
Funk says the art of thrift shopping comes down to one thing: time.
“It just takes time,” Funk said. “You have to take the time to look. Not everything is in alphabetical order.”