Are you working on your new budget for this fall semester? As you’re crunching the numbers are you wondering how on earth you’ll be able to afford to update your fall wardrobe?  To start, lets say goodbye to expensive retail, and hello to secondhand shopping!

One way to make it easier to choose secondhand first when it comes to fashion is to choose to do your shopping at local thrift stores. There are many places in and near Winona for you to shop secondhand. To start, a brand new Goodwill just opened its doors in Winona! When I stepped in for the first time, I came home with a bag full of like-new clothes to add to my summer wardrobe. That’s right, a whole bag of name-brand clothes for less than $20! There’s also plenty of other great shops downtown like Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Grace Place, Restored Blessings, and the Clothes Shop, which is a program of the non-profit Winona Volunteer Services.

Maybe the idea of buying used clothes is weird to you. If that is the case, think of secondhand shopping the way ThredUP does: secondhand shopping is simply buying clothes that are “pre-loved.”  How nice!

ThredUP is the world’s largest online resale/consignment shop. It’s a website where shoppers can browse thousands of pre-owned tops, bottoms, dresses, bags and shoes without ever leaving their couch! They sell many different styles and brands of clothing, all for affordable prices! They even have an app, so you can order your items through your smart phone or tablet. It doesn’t get any easier than that!

But wait, the fun doesn’t end there! After all, ThredUP’s tag line is “Secondhand Clothes, Firsthand Fun.”  ThredUP not only focuses on giving customers great brands and value, they also provide an outlet for their customers to rid themselves of unwanted articles of clothing. All you have to do is go online and request a free clean out bag. The bag arrives on your doorstep, you fill it full of unwanted, name brand apparel, and then you mail it back to ThredUP. They take care of the shipping charges, too! When ThredUP receives the items, the customer receives credit to shop for other items. This is an awesome and easy way to throw out the clothes taking up space in your closet that you don’t wear often, and replacing them with something new. Moreover, with the store credit you receive, this swap may end up costing you NOTHING!

Similar to ThredUP’s system, Plato’s Closet in La Crosse does the same thing. If you are planning to take a trip to La Crosse for the day, take a minute to bag up a bunch of your unwanted clothes. You can take them in to Plato’s Closet and they will pay you for your clothes! They also have a great selection of name-brand, gently used clothing for sale. Again, you can swap your unwanted, too big, too small, or simply unworn clothes for something new!

One last idea that I want to leave you with is hosting a clothing swap with just your friends or a club/organization you’re involved in. This past year, the women’s group within my campus ministry, Chi Alpha, held a clothing swap where you brought a few pieces of clothing that you were tired of, and then you went home with a couple new items! It was a great idea, and turned out to be a great success! Once school starts, you can talk to your RA and also start a clothing swap in your dorm.

I hope these ideas help you revamp your fall wardrobe in an affordable manner! Remember to think secondhand first.

Happy shopping and swapping!