For me, thumbing through the racks of used clothing at any one of the local thrift shops is not only practical, but it's become a way of life, a way to temporarily escape, to not spend too much money and, yet, be entertained and well dressed all the same. Going to thrift stores and garage sales is like being on a treasure hunt. One man's trash is another man's treasure. Isn't that what they say? Even if it wasn't fun, if it was a complete bore, I would go because it just makes economical sense, especially in times like these, not to spend $20-$30 on a brand new pair of jeans my son is apt to put holes in the day after purchase.
Honestly, these stores in good times have been helpful and in leaner times have been godsends. Take when I was a single mother and my daughter insisted only on wearing dresses. Where on earth was I going to find a closet full of dresses for a preschooler without skipping a month's rent? At the thrift store, that's where. Garage sales, that's where.
I'm also a sucker for handmade things—purses, bags, even stuffed toys that I've given away as gifts. I love walking the aisles of arts and craft fairs, seeing the ingenuity of folks who figure they can take something that might have ended up in a landfill and make it useful or pretty or both. My most favorite of fall newspaper assignments is to head up to the Clinton Fall Festival in September and take photographs of people working on items they've made with their hands. I enjoy talking to the artists and crafters about their processes and their ideas and how they came to be doing this festival thing. I know I'm not the only one who enjoys rituals like this, otherwise the Clinton Fall Festival would never have celebrated its 35th year as one of Lenawee County's main attractions.