"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thrifting 101

So, I have gotten a ton of questions recently like, "How do you find such great stuff at the thrift store?" or "My thrift store only has things you would expect at a thrift store."  And "How do you find such great deals?"

Because I like each and every one of you (really I do!).  I am going to grant you all my knowledge on all things related to the art of thrifting. My skills have been acquired over many years so don't expect to become a pro overnight. It takes time, skill and luck. Since I cant grant you time or luck, I will grant you some skills to help you find buried treasure amongst trash.

Oh My and this is womens. You will have to sift through stuff like this.

And this!

But you can find stuff like this too!

Those who dare not go!

If you are afraid of germs.
If dirt and dust disgusts you.
If looks from scary strange men with lazy eyes frighten you.
If you can't handle the smell of mothballs and stinky grandma perfume.
If you hate shopping. 
If you cant tolerate rude people (I don't know why rude people shop at thrift stores)

If any of these apply to you. TURN BACK! Dont even attempt to walk into a thrift store you will be utterly afraid and uncomfortable. Trust me, stick to Macys!

A couple weeks ago I brought a friend with me to one of the nicest thrift stores in town and she looked positively horrified. She shuffled through the clothing barely touching it with her pointer finger. It was quite painful to watch. Needless to say I learned a lesson.

I love this print!

New stickers from the original store!

From Anthro!

Finding the honey hole.

Truth be told this is a much guarded secret. In fact, I might be shunned by its recipients for telling you this.  I get such amazing deals because I shop at the Goodwill Outlet store 90% of the time. It's nick named "The Dig" because you have to dig through piles of clothing and boxes of mostly junk to find anything good. But the prices are amazing! The clothing is weighed and is only $2 a pound! That is why I can get Seven jeans for only $2. Household items can range from 50 cents to a few dollars. The furniture often goes on sale for only $1! I bought a beautiful antique trunk and a velvet ottoman for just $1 each.

Do some internet research or ask around and see if there is any discount thrift stores or outlets in your area. Also see if there are stores that have a discount day. The Goodwill stores have a discount tag in an according color every day. Those items are 50% off.

Also, nicer areas mean nicer stores. People with more wealth usually buy higher quality items. So you may have a little windshield time to get to one. Maybe, bring a friend and make a girls day out of it. Just make sure to warn her so she doesn't end up like my poor friend I wrote about above.

"The Dig" Now you know why it is called that!

Rachel Roy sweater!

Look and look again, then look some more.

I not only shop in the women's section, I also shop in the children's and mens section too. Items can be often mistaken or misplaced.  Shop all sizes not just your own for the same reason. If the item is worth having altered then for gosh sakes pay to have it altered. I bought my Seven for All Mankind jeans for $2 and had them hemmed for $10. Even at $12 they are steal since retail would have been around $150! Plus, since I am "mini me" I would have had to pay to hem them anyway. Having a quality piece that you love and fits you perfect is well worth paying to have it professionally altered. I always look ouside and inside the dressing rooms too. Quite often there are great items that may not have fit the previous shopper. Their loss might be your gain and it might be a perfect fit for you or you could alter it.

 At my local Goodwill store there is a section devoted to brand new items with tags attached. Just last week I found an Anthropologie top with tags reading $88! The Goodwill charged $4.99! This little section can be a gold mine! Ask if your store has a section like this. Mine was not in a place I would have normally looked.

One of those new with tag items.

Also, don't be shy! If you see another shopper with an item you are crazy about, simply give them a complement like, "oh my goodness that is so cute, you got lucky." Believe it or not, I have had people give me an item because I really wanted it and I was polite. So, I guess they aren't all rude after all. It might be rare for this to happen, but it doesn't hurt to try.

J Crew beauty hiding in the piles of clothes.

Silk top by Kenzie! Love it!

Time OUT!

Thrifting takes time, lots and lots of time! I actually sell thrifted clothing to a couple local consignment stores. It's my part, part time job. That is another reason why I get such great things. I am devoting a lot of time to find the really good items. My kiddos also has karate classes in the evenings. It so happens to be my luck that a few thrift shops are right next door. So I check them several times a week. Don't ever shop in a hurry! You will never find the goods when you cant devote time to scouring the entire store. So grab a Starbucks get a baby sitter and take some time to yourself, shop and look for the treasures. 

Dont stress to find specific things either. If you need a black dress for an upcoming event, save yourself the worry and go to JC Penny and get a black dress. By all means look for it, just don't pressure yourself.

I love this maxi dress, so fun!

If you first don't succeed try, try again.

You may have had experiences thrifting that have left a sour taste in your mouth. You may have devoted your time to find some great thrifted treasures. You were all excited! And you were left empty handed. : ( It's frustrating believe me, I know. But it's the name of the game. Some days you may score and others you may walk out with zip! Don't stress, the one time you find the most fabulous item in the world it will make up for all those times of frustration. Don't give up, keep trying!

Grab now think later.

If you see something you might like or it intrigues you, grab it! Hang on to it while you think it over, because odds are it might not be there later. I might have a cart full of things and after I ponder for a while, I might be left with only a few items. But nothing is more upsetting than deciding you want something and 10 minutes later its gone. They don't keep stock at thrift stores.

Repurpose and reuse

I use shirts, skirts, and pants for material. Sweaters for projects like leg warmers. I buy tops just for cute buttons, it's much cheaper than buying them at the fabric store. It's also a great place to buy craft items and seasonal decor. I use scarves and ties for belts. I have seen great quality furniture that only lack some paint and new hard wear. I make framed art from vintage cards and record cases. Antique books into wreaths. Bunt pans as decorations in my kitchen. Don't look at what is it, look at what you can make it into.

Leather mustard hand bag!

Keep calm and carry on.

I hope this inspires you. I also hope this helps you find some great deals and undiscovered treasures. Thrifting should be a really fun experience.
It saves you money and is "green" too! What more could you ask for? 

Thank you for reading. Tell me about all the treasures you find!

Disclaimer: Beware, thrifting may become addictive and is difficult to quit!


Carley said...

I love love LOVE this post! I know first hand that you have the eye of the tiger when it comes to thrifting. Although, I did find that cute silk dress when I went with you!

Karen said...

Thank you for your tips!!! I'm going to make a day of it, roll my sleeves up, hair in a pony and dig in.

Van @ The Clothes We Wear said...

These are all great tips. Very thorough. I couldn't have said it better!

kibbygirl said...

Great tips... many I use already but you have given me some ideas too! It makes me want to head out to the thrift shops now!

Susan said...

Thanks for sharing your advice. My parents run an antique and next to new shop, so I have been spoiled for a long time! :) My mom used to sell used clothing too, which was awesome when I was in high school. There store is in a pretty well to do area, so nice things were brought in on consignment. I really miss having that source for clothing!! I am still spoiled with awesome furniture and decorating items. My husband and I only bought our couch and our mattress when we got married, my parents provided everything else as our wedding present. It's kinda like a revolving dowry though as I trade things all the time! :)

Court said...

Loved this write-up and your thrifted outfit posts. I'll definitely be checking back in.