Born Leather Driving Moccasins Brand New in Box
Paid $1.00 at Church Rummage Sale
Decades ago I wore suits and heels to work. Not such a handsome sight as I was much heavier, but still, it was the culture I worked in. I believed success was measured by a label and the amount paid for that label. Silly me.
Crawl forward to 2018 and 95% of our clothing comes from thrift stores or family. I have three sisters and we are constantly swapping clothes. Love my sisters.
Once a year or so though, Keith needs a new pair of rubber chore boots and I've yet to source a good pair for him for cheap. I shop in the thrift store nearby every week as a rule. Sometimes I buy a lot and sometimes very little, but I am always buying for the next season and the season after that.
I may not need a winter chore coat right now, but it's certain I'll need one later so better to buy it in mid August when available for $1.99, then have to pay retail price later because of poor planning.
Of that 95% , I estimate about 50% of those clothes come from dead people. How do I know? Well, because in our neck of the woods the thrift shop owners have a wicked sense of humor and isolate those clothes in a separate part of the shop under a sigh that blares, "Deceased Duds".
Some actual tell tale signs though are names like "Ethyl, Marjorie, Fred and Ralph" written in black permanent marker inside the collar or on the clothing tag. Generally these folks lived in nursing homes where clothing is easily mixed up and identifying them by first or last name is routine. I've yet to come across the name "Buffy" or "Skylar" inscribed on a tag but as the younger population ages, it's just a matter of time.
After a person dies, families are then left with the task of sorting through the returned clothes, many of which are donated to thrift shops. BINGO! I then get a great deal.
It is amazing and equally appalling the huge number of clothing that filters through the US. Many I find at our local thrift stores are brand new with tags still in place, no tags but barely worn, or worn but with lots of wear still left in them. I no longer bother with Goodwill who has elevated their prices to near retail amounts over the last year, but instead concentrate my shopping at four local thrift stores located within 15 miles from me. I am a great supporter of church rummage sales as well.
Some folks are creeped out by buying used clothing which I've never understood. "New" clothing that comes off the rack at Macy's or Dunnes has likely been handled, sneezed upon, or dropped on the floor just as often as used clothing. An intact sale tag does not guarantee cleanliness. A good wash and hang outside fixes most ills regardless of the source.
Of course I am selective about what I buy. No stains, no holes and zippers must work. In addition, I complete a through crotch check looking for suspicious spots and fabric wear. This is an essential skill but best to leave off any resume.
If the item is intended only for outside chores, then stains on legs and knees is no big deal. I also sniff clothing. Heavy smoke smells are left behind but a wash in white vinegar can clear up mild smoke smells easily, along with a day or two in a plastic bag in our freezer. What we cannot use, gets sold on eBay for some extra cash.
I have sent jeans to Australia, blouses to England and Birkenstock shoes to Somalia.
Additionally, I buy clothing gifts for GK's in thrift stores and the older ones have learned the value of spending their own money there. When I'm dead they may not remember that I read them a little Shakespeare or made them listen to the Eagles and Crosby, Stills and Nash, but at least they can say "She taught me how to source dead people's clothes."
One cannot expect higher praise.