I had to include a tribute to the place where my love of books really took off as a child. Nothing breeds a book glutton like being able to indulge, and second-hand stores are the only way a person of reasonable means - or their child - can afford to indulge like that. I wallowed in books as a child, happy only with a pile of reading material. It's still the way I prefer to read - several at a time, drifting between books whose spines are cracked mercilessly, page numbers committed to memory.
My most recent thrift shop purchase was on Sunday, at a charity thrift shop in a typically New Jersey location - by the side of an industrial highway flanked on one side by the outskirts of a ragged little city and on the other by horse farms. I walked in, spotted a slew of horse magazines and spent the next hour groveling happily in the shelves. I emerged with a stack of The Blood-Horse from 2009, a few Practical Horsemen from 2001, and Hemi: A Mule by Barbara Brenner (1973), which I'd never heard of and which is adorable.
It's funny, but even though thrift shops are the ultimate recycling method, outside of vintage clothing, shopping at them has never quite caught on even with the more crunchy people; thrift shops are still mostly for and about new immigrants and poor people. But what's better than people rehoming used but useful objects, saving money and landfill space?
Extraneous vintage comment
I grew up wearing hand-me-downs, and I really prefer new clothes, no matter how cute vintage is. I do appreciate a nice book about vintage, though, and recently came across a memoir Alligators, Old Mink & New Money which is very enjoyable. And I did find a flawless silk skirt for $6 at a Goodwill last month. Used or no, silk has a home with me.
Find a local thrift shop
Habitat For Humanity ReStores
Saint Vincent de Paul Society
Salvation Army Thrift Shops
Also, hospitals, children's homes and churches often have thrift shops attached.