Retail Intervention: Marissa Ramirez

Thrifting and Me
How to thrift like a college student

By Marissa Ramirez, Environmental Studies Major, Oberlin College

I have been thrifting since high school to fulfill my need to have a unique sense of style that slightly reflected what my own grandma wore. My normal thrifting adventures for clothes included
searching through the vintage section at my local Texas Thrift Store. I always enjoyed finding crazy/interesting garments of years past and wondered how anyone wore these clothes. I also found myself supporting the recycling of clothes considering it takes about 400 gallons of water to make a new cotton t-shirt. Nonetheless, I had developed a new need to thrift that has carried on into my college adventures.

First things first college is expensive: whether you are referring to tuition, books and supplies and even dorm necessities. That’s why people normally seek out scholarships, but what do you turn to for other random essentials? Well, the answer can be found at any local thrift store. They are the perfect place to find random essentials for college. The thrift store is where people send their unwanted goods, but just because they are unwanted doesn’t mean they are useless. It does, however, take some time to browse through collections of stuff, but that is what makes thrifting fun.

What can you possibly find at a thrift store?

Many thrift stores have a wide collection of glassware to choose from. One tip is to look for old mason jars, especially those without lids which are for sure in abundance. These jars can serve as simple but cute storage spaces for anything such as pencils, markers, and brushes.

One of the best things about thrift stores is the ability to find unique and eclectic items, which usually become the best room decor items. Some of these items include vintage cameras which still look nice even if they don’t work, classic alarm clocks which are nice desk decor, and other college essentials you can find at thrift stores include:

  • General office supplies such as staplers, binders, dividers, and book holders
  • Water bottles
  • Luggage cases
  • Kitchen items such as mugs and plates

Sometimes you might even strike a goldmine and find perfectly good electronics. One major reason to take full advantage of the electronics thrift stores have to offer is to reduce the amount of e-waste. E-waste describes discarded electronics that end up in landfill and produce toxic waste. These items include old cell phones, printers, and computers. For example, I found this perfectly good printer which is better than paying for printing at some colleges.


And if you are going off to a college in where there winters are snowy and icy, thrift stores are the perfect place to stock up on warm clothing.
You can never have enough simple long sleeves to layer and keep you warm during the winter. The thrift store is also a perfect place to find great quality clothes for a fraction of the price, for example one of my staples to check for while thrifting is wool sweaters, which are the warmest things ever and are normally expensive when bought new. Other staple I search for a beanies, any gloves and scarves.

These are all pictures from my thrifting adventure with Spare Parts’ Mary Elizabeth Cantu in San Antonio, Texas. I volunteered with Spare Parts over my winter break (January 2017) and the last project of my time with them was to go on a day-long thrift store tour in San Antonio!

Spare Parts was so fortunate with work with Marissa and we look forward to keeping in touch with her!