NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Trending now: thrift stores galore

Although NECC campuses have been coated with fresh snow on this first week of April, students can’t deny that one of the best parts about spring is shopping for a new wardrobe. With loans breathing down your neck, and a long list of other expenses, this might be a great time to start being frugal. Buying clothing from a thrift shop will not only save you money, it just might help to save the planet.

Another common ritual to participate in is spring cleaning. This is where you can make a huge leap toward environmental awareness. The old saying goes, “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.” Unfortunately, many of us are still throwing recyclable items (especially clothing) in the trash.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans generate more than 2 million tons of trash each year, and the shocking truth is that more than 1/3 of the items that end up in landfills could have been recycled.

Resale stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army have become abundant and increasingly popular in the Merrimack Valley and surrounding areas. Although most of the goods are collected from donation receptacles that have been placed in the parking lots of various shopping plazas and churches, some stores such as Savers in Plaistow, N.H. have a community donation center located within the same building.

If donating your items wasn’t enough to make you feel good, many of these two-in-one locations offer a store credit as incentive for your good deed. However, if you feel that your unwanted clothing is worth too much to you to be tossed into a receptacle behind Market Basket, you can try to sell your gently worn clothing at a consignment shop.

Most consignment shops welcome sellers by appointment for an initial evaluation and pricing of their goods. If and when your are items are sold, the store will disburse your payment. A small commission is usually taken by the store. Think of it as paying your share of the rent for keeping your clothes there.

BloomingDeals in Salem, N.H. is one the area’s more upscale, resale stores carrying everything from designer purses to seasonal items, such as prom dresses and Halloween costumes. Proprietors Patti Rappoli and Sara Rapolli-Vienneau are constantly receiving new merchandise and re-organizing the store to make it fun and inviting. In fact, I was able to get my mother a mother-of-the-bride dress at BloomingDeals for $40 and it was prettier than the $200 dresses at the mall.

Since the 2012 release of Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop,” college students have been less reluctant to be seen in a secondhand store. Actually, it’s kind of where the “cool kids” shop nowadays. Sure, there is an ongoing argument about the true meaning of “pop some tags.” Some believe it is a slang term for shoplifting. Others say it simply means to go clothes shopping and that the satisfaction of “popping” the tags off is one of most exciting aspects of the shopping experience.

In all honesty, most of the clothes I own were either handed down by my sister or found on the

clearance rack of a department store. I have never been into brand names or trendy styles; I mean, I wouldn’t even know the difference between a Leo diamond and cubic zirconium from Walmart, but I have only recently begun to visit thrift shops to scope out more unique and bargain priced items. If you have the time to browse, it can definitely be worth the trip.

As a starving artist who has always had one combat boot firmly planted in 1988, I have definitely visited my share of pawn shops in search of  search of cheap guitars and amplifiers. I used to snag some pretty sweet deals back in the day, but that was before the pawn brokers became internet savvy. Now they can easily find out how much they can get for that vintage distortion pedal.