Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Wearing Dead People's Clothes





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".

I'm kidding.

 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. 

18 comments:

  1. I love our local Thrift Store, the proceeds go to their school and they wash everything, dishes, clothes, you name it. They also display there items so nicely, it's wonderful I can't go to a Salval or Goodwill any longer.
    They will remember Crosby, Stills, Nash and don't forget Young.

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    1. Neil, I did not intend to leave him off. I hope he'll forgive me. And your thrift store washes everything?!? Now, I'm jealous.

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  2. I posted last week about some thrift store finds... ours is a small local store and all proceeds benefit the food pantry/clinic/homeless assistance programs. Maternity wear is zero but I get a lot of children's clothing there for 25c.
    I do have my mom's gardening boots and my grandfathers red and black plaid wool jacket and I wear these just about every day. Clothes from people I didn't know? Eh, neither here or there. I mean they didn't die *while wearing them* did they? Is that what the sniff test is for? Sorry, couldn't resist.

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    1. You crack me up...mostly the Sniff test is for smoke, sometimes I get a scent of cat urine. THOSE clothes stay in the thrift stores!

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  3. P.S. - What is your Ebay store? I love looking at what other people are doing.

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    1. Here you go!
      http://stores.ebay.com/dmoat44/

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  4. Many years ago I used to buy fabulous Harris Tweed sports jackets from thrift shops. Then suddenly such things became very trendy, and they all disappeared. If ever I return to live in England, I shall look again.

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    1. I found a wonderful vintage tweed jacket awhile back and had Keith model it for an eBay listing. I'm glad it hasn't sold yet because he looks wonderful in it. And Trendy is as trendy does, I'll keep an eye out for a Harris Tweed over here in farm country and notify you straight away if found.

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  5. what a fantastic post, for some reason it really tickled my sense of humour. When I was little my mother shopped almost exclusively in charity shops, although as a single mom trying to bring up 3 of us on her own with no support that was more out of necessity than frugality. Some of my favourite clothes have come from thrift stores, including two new with tags lambswool jumpers from a major highstreet brand which i've had years of wear out of and cost me £3 each!

    Hope you have a great Easter, fitting to celebrate a Resurrection wearing dead peoples clothes hahaha

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    1. I am however fresh out of purple robes, so my Easter morning will be more contemporary I'm afraid. My mom also did the thrift thing out of pure necessity. She was my hero.

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  6. "Deceased Duds" hee hee! :) I buy 90% of my clothing from thrift shops. I draw the line at undies and socks though. ;) I never thought about that fact that likely most of these things are from dead people! When I first met my bf, he was citified and appalled by my love for second hand clothing. Now I've completely converted him and for that I'm very proud. :)

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    1. I have no problem with used socks, again in the washer they go before wearing, but no used underwear. Yikes. However, Have found new underwear still in the package, and I'll scoop them up...and throw them in the wash! And good on you for converting others.

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  7. I enjoy the occasional trawl through charity shops too.I've discovered that Waterford must have very upmarket people as the clothes in charity shops there are much better quality than in other towns. Great for jeans etc for farm clothes too.

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    1. I first discovered Mrs. Quins Charity Shops the first year I traveled to Gort. After spending way too much for woolen blankets in Blarney Woolens we were thrilled to find similar ones at the charity shop for about 1/10 the price. Now whenever I shop for gifts to bring home from Ireland for my family, it's to Mrs. Quins I go.

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  8. Kudos on this post, Donna, as I too am a thrift store shopper. When we lived on the VA eastern shore, imalso volunteered at one. I too was amazed at many brand new items and also horrified at what some people donated vs. tossing out. Like you, I am selective too on my purchases either for myself or to gift to others and will do most of the checks, but no used undies or socks for me. Good for you on reselling some of your finds.

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    1. I believe the US is the worst country for buying new over used, for pitching items before their expiration date. But without those folks I'd be in trouble, and certainly couldn't live within our means.

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  9. I found a long, cashmere men's winter coat for $8 at our thrift store. My attorney SIL wears it proudly.

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    1. THAT is a fabulous find! I've found cashmere sweaters but never a full coat. It's good to know that attorneys are better dressed because of us thrifters.

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