It really depends. A lot of stuff can be gross, but for my kids, I do it a lot. They are really rough on stuff (especially shoes) and there's a lot of parents who donate stuff while it still looks brand new, either because their kids grew out of it too fast or because they had 15 pairs of shoes to wear, so they didn't ruin anything.
Since my hubby's in law school, we don't have a lot of choice. I can wear clothes for a long time (years) but the kids are growing, and they have to have something on their bodies, who cares if the t-shirt was worn once or twice by another kid.
But you do have to be really selective, because some thrift store stuff just ain't fit to be sold, you know?
This is exactly what my parents did for my brother, we have a lot of girl cousins so I got their hand me downs. It would be silly to go out and spend 50 on a pair of shoes that fit for a month! When my younger sister hit that age where she HAD to have name brand stuff she either got my old stuff or stuff at Plato's closet.
With the economy the way it is and the "going green" thing going on, thrift stores and antique stores seem to be a little more popular.
As for gross, I wouldn't say any more gross than buying new clothes. Think of all of the people that try them on, or if you buy something and maybe it has been returned? Think of all the people who process merchandise before it goes on the sales floor. These thoughts tend to run through my head, that's why I wash everything before I wear it.
I personally have an issue wearing clothes from people I DON'T know. Purses, I love thrifting for :)
I have lots of vintage hand me downs from my grandma actually! Some of my favorite going out clothes are vintage outfits from her attic :) but I am lucky and have an awesome grandma who used to be a go-go dancer! and we are the same shoes size so I have some AMAZING boots.
I'm a fan - I love jackets, dresses, slacks and coats I've bought from thrift stores (we call them op shops here).
I would never get shoes swimmers or underwear 2nd hand though. ewww.
Not gross at all, unless we're talking underwear, swimsuits or socks. Apart from that I'm a fan. And, yes, I probably own as many pre-owned items as I do new. Including a lot of my favourites! It makes for unique, cost effective, eco friendly clothing options. Especially in a world where hardly anything is ever worn out before we move on to something else.
I love thrift shopping! I used to do it off and on but in September I moved in with my Fiance (then boyfriend) and we go thriftng at least 2-3 times a month. We don't always find much but it's a lot of fun. I could only afford to decorate for Christmas by buying things at the thrift store! I also find many pretty cameras at the thirft store. Oh and lots and lots of classic Disney movies on VHS!
Sometimes it can be gross. I usually leave and have to wash my hands cause they feel a bit icky but I think everyone should try thrift shopping at least once in their life(and go with someone who LOVES it) People are really missing out!
I think it' isn't gross, though there are some stores that do make it less appealing. I never buy shoes, but that's a personal preference. Really, the reason I don't shop in thrift shops more often is because I have a terrible attention span and you really have to be patient to find things.
The idea is fun. One man's trash, treasure, and all that crap.
But some stores I have been to have piles of crap that are annoying to dig through. Which is annoying. Shopping shouldn't be that hard.
Also, 9 out of 10 thrift/consignment stores I have been to have a smell that lands somewhere between retirement home and a cat anus.
That being said, I have found one in Dallas that ONLY sells mens clothes and is organized with minimal feline anal fumes.