It takes about 700 gallons of water to make just one T-shirt. That’s the cost of high fashion – a cost that many deem much too dear for our planet. Instead of buying off the rack, many people have been turning to thrift stores. It’s not only environmentally friendly to do so, but you can find all kinds of styles there – a variety that’s hard to beat. And Phoenix is a hot spot for thrifting, ranking as the eighth-best place in the nation for thrifting.
Thrift stores provide so much more than clothing, as you can also find pre-loved furniture and other household items there, making thrifting a great way to source home décor and supplies for various DIY projects — a movement that’s also intensified since the pandemic.
The rise of eco-conscious living, competitive pricing and the search for rare finds have placed thrifting on a pedestal across the U.S. And Google searches are here to show it: online interest in thrifting climbed to 4M searches on average for the July 2021 to June 2022 period, double compared to the previous year. Furthermore, in April 2022, thrifting-relating searches shot up to 7M, a new record for this type of online search.
With interest in thrifting soaring to new heights, it’s worth taking a look at which places fare best at providing opportunities to shop for pre-owned items. On the heels of National Thrift Shop Day, StorageCafe released a report documenting which metro areas are best for thrifting. The report looks at the 50 largest metropolitan areas by population and ranked them based on several metrics including the number of second-hand establishments (thrift stores, used furniture stores, flea markets and others), secondhand sales per household and thrifting-related Google searches. Moreover, self storage was also included in the final rankings, with the service helping people manage their home space after this kind of purchase.
Based on the report’s findings, the West dominates the podium for searching for second-hand finds. It could be that thrifting is an activity preferred by those enjoying warm weather longer as the South boasts the most representation among the best places for thrifting, with six metro areas featured in the top 15.
Phoenix makes Top 10 for best thrifting places
The Phoenix metro area has received considerable praise for its community amenities and the top-notch lifestyle it provides, but it turns out the metro area is also a thrifting hotspot. In fact, Phoenix ranks 8th among the 50 best metro areas for thrifting. Plenty of clothing, furniture and home décor items that has already seen a bit of use can be found in the area, with about 5.5 thrifting venues per 100K people. What’s impressive is that 40% of the stores are large, making Phoenix first for the largest share of big second-hand stores. Overall, there are close to 270 thrifting establishment in Phoenix.
With so many choices, it’s hard to decide where to go for pre-owned items, but “Bees Knees” is one of the best thrift stores in town to find clothing, offering vintage, modern and everything in between. For furniture, clothing, accessories and much more, “Thrift Boutique” is the place to be. When it comes to thrifting-related expenses, Phoenix households spend, on average, over $200 annually on second-hand items. Self storage helps them manage their new purchases. When existing furniture or clothing needs a new place, putting it in storage can be ideal, so you avoid cluttering up your home. Renting a self storage unit in Phoenix costs, on average, $130/month.
Denver takes the thrifting crown, followed by Seattle and Portland
Of the 50 metro areas considered in the study, Denver takes the top spot for thrifting, thanks to the availability of thrifting venues, among other things. Your hunt for that elusive record, antique or item of vintage clothing is sure to be rewarded if you’re involved in the Denver thrifting scene. The metro area has over 6.6 resale establishments per 100K people, which translates to over 190 thrifting locations available here. About a third of them are large stores, guaranteeing an interesting shopping spree. As it happens, Denver is home to “Fifty-Two ’80s” – an all 80s vintage hotspot – one of the best thrift stores in the country, enjoying a perfect 5-star rating on Yelp. Thrifting-related expenses are another way to gauge local second-hand shopping activity, and Denver doesn’t disappoint. On average, Denver households spend about $190 annually, on average, on second-hand finds.
Taking the silver for thrifting, Seattle is also a place where hunting for pre-loved items can go a long way. Should you look to give clothing or furniture a new lease of life here, you can do so as Seattle is home to about 7 thrifting locations per 100K residents, with a fifth of them being large stores. Go to “Labels” for designer consignment items or to “Bon Voyage Vintage” for your next vintage find. Love of thrifting goes far in Seattle, with the metro area registering about $220 per household annually, the fourth-highest thrifting expenditure level in StorageCafe’s list.
For the third-best thrifting metro area, all you need to do is head a little bit south to Portland. The eco-conscious lifestyle of locals has helped thrift stores to maintain a solid presence here, with over 7 resale stores per 100K residents. That’s the fourth-highest number of thrifting locations in the country as a proportion of population. Additionally, a quarter of the local second-hand establishments are made up of large stores, a testament to the strong foothold thrifting has in Portland.