I was introduced to thrifting at a young age when I would accompany my mother to thrift stores. She would rummage and sift through things to find the treasures that caught her quick eye. During this process, I learned that the trick was always to look really deep and really far. That one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. That patience is truly a virtue.
There’s a science and there are mathematical laws behind thrifting, no doubt. The routes created based on store locations and when items hit the floor for consumer purchase. How much time you have to spend through each store. Setting a budget or grabbing cash so you don’t go too crazy with your spending. All that.
But there’s also an art behind thrifting.
When perusing the bookshelves, you see The Purpose Driven Life every 20 books. Harry Potter. Hunger Games. Tween dramas like when Twilight was a big deal. Books that have been turned into really awesome Netflix series (i.e., Mindhunters). The whole 50 Shades of Grey era that you never read but you unashamedly have no FOMO about. The infamous What to Expect When You’re Expecting, which is probably what followed after reading 50SOG books. I’m just the messenger.
More importantly, you can literally travel through time. You remember all the bullshit that followed certain presidential terms and think about how much of a breeze that was compared to our current political climate. You see books from your childhood and from English Lit that you hated and those that you loved. A timeline of how much tech has advanced when an outdated Computer Science tech book catches your gaze. Books that were once in a library’s circulation, still containing the checkout cards in the back that logged all the places one book has been.
Underneath the sometimes musky scents and dust, are pieces that hold stories based on where they’ve been, how they were used, and the places they called home. You see pieces of art that you can’t even fathom why or how someone could part with. Or maybe they’re just like you embracing a minimalistic lifestyle, redecorating for the 20th time, or because the piece just doesn’t spark joy anymore so it’s let go. You write the last few lines in your story to end your chapter with this particular object, you pass it on for someone else to discover and bring it into their world, and a whole a new chapter begins.
And that, is that art of thrifting.