Plato's Closet, a well-known consignment store located in Westminster. Photo by Sydnie Sabbarese

Opinion

Opinion: Thrift shopping is an eco-friendly and budget-conscious alternative to department stores

Thrift and consignment stores have a wide variety of clothing, accessories and household items for a better price than you would find at other retail establishments. Not to mention, thrifting is a more sustainable method of shopping since everything you buy are second-hand items. What are the thrift and consignment stores?   Thrift and consignment…
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sydnie sabbarese

November 23, 2020

Thrift and consignment stores have a wide variety of clothing, accessories and household items for a better price than you would find at other retail establishments. Not to mention, thrifting is a more sustainable method of shopping since everything you buy are second-hand items.

What are the thrift and consignment stores?  

Thrift and consignment stores are where you can buy second-hand clothing and other items such as furniture as opposed to new, unused items that are sold at department or chain stores.

Thrift stores take any donations of clothing and household items, operating with the intent of selling as much as possible, for a noticeably cheaper price than you would see at a first-hand retail store.

Consignment stores, however, are much pickier about what items they will take because they have to purchase the items from people rather than receive them for free. Most items at a consignment store are in better shape and pricier than what you would find at a thrift store, but at the end of the day, both places offer second-hand items that are cheaper than what’s sold in department stores, fast-fashion chains and other merchandise retailers like Walmart and Target.

To learn more about the difference between thrift and consignment stores, and which is better for your personal needs, click here.

Why should I go to a thrift or consignment store instead of shopping at a department store? 

There are quite a few reasons why going to thrift or consignment stores is beneficial.

The items sold at thrift and consignment stores are usually a lot cheaper than similar (and sometimes almost exact) items you could find somewhere else.

Along with costing less money, buying second-hand items, especially clothing, can help reduce your individual carbon footprint, as you’re not contributing to the non-eco-friendly production of fast fashion each time you do so.

Thrifting can also be easier and more fun than shopping at a retail store. Since most thrift and consignment stores are much smaller than department stores, it’s quicker to look through everything there and find something you really like. You also never know what you’ll find at a thrift or consignment store since they are donation-based, which can lead to some interesting purchases.

What are some local thrift/consignment stores to shop at? 

Return Engagement

16462 Bolsa Chica Street, Huntington Beach, California

Return Engagement is a cute consignment shop in Huntington Beach that sells mostly feminine clothing, such as dresses and blouses, and accessories, such as handbags and jewelry.

They do also sell furniture there for a reasonable price. The owner of this store is described as a sweet lady who is pleasant to do business with, which will most likely make your shopping experience positive overall.

This boutique is a hole-in-the-wall shop, as it’s fairly small and blends in well with surrounding stores. Unfortunately, this means it’s often overlooked by people driving or walking by. Be sure to keep your eye out for it if you plan on going so you don’t miss it.

Plato’s Closet

15216 Goldenwest Street, Westminster, California

Plato’s Closet is a well-known consignment store in Westminster and is a gem for frequent thrifters. This store sticks to the “picky” aspect of many consignment stores, as they buy mostly brand-name and in-style clothing.

While this does make selling clothing a little more difficult, it’s great for shoppers because this means the items have already been picked through, and they’re left with the most desirable items.

Junior Nikki Jackson, who visits Plato’s Closet frequently, says that she recommends going here to find good deals on clothes.

“My favorite thing about the store is the atmosphere, everything about it is just so welcoming,” Jackson said. “The workers are so sweet and always make me want to come back. They also have the cutest accessories, and sometimes they have rare finds, which is a plus.”

Another favorable thing about this consignment store is the location; it’s next to a good variety of other stores, such as Shinobu Shabu, Jon’s Marketplace and it’s within walking distance of the Westminster Mall. This makes it an ideal place to visit if you’re ever planning a day out and you don’t want to drive to too many places.

Savers

9091 Garfield Avenue, Fountain Valley, California

You can find just about anything you could think of at Savers: clothing, shoes, accessories, books, children’s toys and even second-hand electronics. It’s almost guaranteed you’ll leave with something you really like because of their wide selection. You can easily spend over an hour looking through everything there, but the store is organized, so you can also finish your shopping quickly if you wish to.

Savers has a non-profit donation center inside the store where you can donate gently used items. All you have to do is bring your items there, and the store will buy them from the nonprofit to sell later. Be sure to check their official website for more information on the donation process and for answers to other questions you might have.

Goodwill

11052 Magnolia Street, Garden Grove, California

Goodwill is a thrift store with over 3,000 stores across the United States and Canada. While almost everyone knows about Goodwill, it is often overlooked as a store because it is usually thought to only have cheap, ugly items, but that isn’t the case.

It’s entirely donation-based, so you never know what you could find while browsing through their inventory. Goodwill offers a wide variety of clothing and household items, such as CDs, lamps, and ornaments.

“I love how others are able to donate and provide second-hand goods for those who are unable to afford them at the original price from a different location. There’s such a variety of items and a vast selection to choose from, [so] that you might be stuck in there for hours without knowing what to buy, ” junior Angelina Raja, who goes to Goodwill every so often, said.

Raja added that she encourages people to donate to thrift and consignment stores to reduce the amount of second-hand items going to waste.

“You’re allowing the item to be used for many other things and basically live a longer life than it would in a trashcan or in a cardboard box in your attic,” Raja said.


There are quite a few reasons to thrift shop instead of shopping at department stores, including the fact that it helps your wallet and it’s better for the environment.

The thrift and consignment stores mentioned are only four of many in Orange County, so be sure to look for other stores in your area that would better suit your needs. For a step-by-step guide on how to go thrifting in Orange County, click here.