Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Thrift Shopping 101

Since I'm a dork and don't really feel like uploading pictures, I got the silly idea to do a little Thrift Shopping 101 course. I'll put all my tips and you can leave your tips in the comments!

I hear a lot of people say they don't have time to search through everything at thrift stores...especially when it comes to clothing. Well, since I'm slightly obsessed with buying used clothes I've learned some things to speed up the process to show that, yes, you can shop at a thrift store quickly AND efficiently!
I've had periods in my life where I'll go to Goodwill once a week when I'm really
looking for things for the me or the kids. Lately it's been more like once a month. One thing that I
always check out is their jeans. Of the 3 pairs of jeans I actually wear 2 are from Goodwill. Nice jeans from Goodwill? You bet! Here's the trick: do not spend your precious minutes looking through every single pair and looking at every single size. It will wear you out, completely frustrate you, and you'll just stop and leave empty handed. The best way to shop for jeans is to use your pretty little eyes and look only for the type of denim you like. Don't like acid wash? Then don't waste your time looking at it! I spend just a few minutes each time looking only at the shade of denim, then only if I like the shade of denim do I look at the tag, and only if it's my size do I try them on. And yes, you do need to try them on. No returns, people.
I don't find jeans very often that work for me, but I at least don't waste a lot of time looking at them. And when you do find a pair for under $6? Well, I'd say it's worth it! I've heard once you try on a designer pair of jeans you'll never go back so I'd like to declare here and now I will never try on a designer pair of jeans.
Over and Out.
Unless I find them at Goodwill, that is. :)

Now when it comes to tops, I have the same approach. Most goodwills are organized by color which is pretty handy. I don't care for red tops so I don't look at the red shirts. Pretty obvious, I suppose. I also don't shop at Goodwill or other thrift stores for just a plain ol' shirt but more for something unique or vintage. I don't generally buy a Target brand shirt at Goodwill because you're not saving much money. I have found some awesome tops that are super unique, high end brands, or vintage and they are under $4. Pretty sweet. 
Again, just look through everything quickly and those funky prints will pop right out. Try things on to make sure they fit and sadly if they don't, you must put it back. I passed up an amazing $7 denim blazer at a thrift store the other day because it was too tight in the arms. That's the one big bummer about second-hand is that they don't have other sizes in the back. It's a bummer because I'm still thinking about that silly blazer and wondering if I could maybe fit into it someday. 
No, Abby. No!
Walk away.

Shoes? Eh. I never have luck with shoes because I have enormous feet. I look every now and then but generally don't waste my time.

Kids clothes. Same thing...look for uniqueness and then check out the size. I rarely find things for Henry at thrift stores because boys are pretty hard on their clothes. I do find things for Harper though. Did I ever tell you about the time I found NINE vintage little girl dresses all lined up in a row? I nearly hyperventilated and prompted to quickly grab everysingleoneofthem. At $1.69 it's a pretty good deal.

House wares. I usually have an on-going list in my head of things I need for the house yet can't justify buying them full price at the store. For example, I made french onion soup over the weekend and I don't have crock soup bowls. Do I need them? Not necessarily, but it's something I will be keeping a look out for when I'm thrifting. 
Always remember when looking through tacky, outdated decor, that things can be spray painted and turn into a super fun piece for your home. 
I also like to look through their plates for upcoming plate stand projects. 
Generally going through the housewares section is pretty quick. Everything is laid out so you don't have to dig and you either like it or you don't. And then move on.

That's all I can think of for now, but hope it shows you that you can be in and out of a thrift store quickly and efficiently. Of course I enjoy going every now and then by myself and literally looking through every single rack for fun, but honestly on those days I don't have any more success than the days when I quickly scan over everything. 
Thrifting is fun, a great way to "save" money (I mean, you're still spending money so are you technically saving money?) and it's just the thrill of the hunt.

Oh!! My best tip of all? If your children are with you, put them in the cart and go straight to the book section and let them pick out a few books to look at while you shop and then before you leave you put them back. Works like a charm every single time and I've done it enough that they've never gotten upset when we have to put them back.

What thrift store tips do you have? Please share!
Now go shopping!!

1 comment:

une autre mère said...

Love this post!!! Seriously, I am a horrible thrift store shopper and I never knew why, but now I know it's because I feel like I have to check out every single item. This advice was amazing. Life changing, really. Now I just gotta get myself to a Goodwill! Wanna come? :)


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