A few years ago, I wouldn’t be caught dead in a thrift store.
I shopped at gourmet grocery stores and had never looked at a sale paper or clipped a coupon. I certainly wouldn’t take hand me down clothes for my kids. All of my furniture was either brand new or from high priced antiques stores. I had never been to a flea market, and would have been totally embarrassed not to pay the first price a vendor asked for an item.
My, how things can change.
I guess I have finally grown up. Now I think it is just plain wasteful to not try and save money wherever and whenever I can. I either grocery shop at Aldi, who doesn’t take coupons but has the best prices I have ever found, or I am using coupons and buying from the local Buy One/Get One sales. I go to flea markets weekly, and have a weekly schedule for hitting the local thrift stores. I hate to spend more than $10 on a piece of furniture. All of our homeschool curriculum comes from eBay.
People don’t like thrift stores for a number of reasons. Some people think they are “above” thrift stores. Some think that thrift stores carry nothing but junk, or that thrift stores are dirty. I guess some people are afraid that they will see someone they know. I have been in some bad thrift stores, but not many. Most are clean, bright, and organized.
There are a lot of reasons to shop at thrift stores. Some people are trying to stretch their budget. Some people are looking for antiques and collectibles, like me. Some people, again like me, are trying to find resalable goods for eBay or retail. Some people like retro clothes. Thrifting is fun and cheap, and it’s also a good deed, making money for charity. Thrifting keeps stuff out of landfills, so it is even good for the environment!
So here are some tips to get the most out of your thrifting.
Thrift Shore 101
- Be nice. Just like at the flea market, employees could put things aside that might interest you.
- Do the rounds. Thrift stores are different depending on the area in which they are located. Take a day and go to all of the thrift shops in your area, and take note of what they stock. In my area, the newer and higher income areas carry more high dollar clothes and shoes, but don’t have as many old things that I am really looking for.
- Know the specials. A lot of thrift stores have days where things are discounted. Find out when they have sales, and when they offer discounts to seniors, students and military, if any of these apply to you. Ask what is on sale when you get there, as a lot of thrift stores don’t put up signs.
- Know what you need. I keep a list of what I am looking for with me so I don’t get distracted and forget why I am there in the first place.
- Be open minded! A flower pot doesn’t have to be just a flower pot. Always be thinking about how you can repurpose things. Remember that you can totally change the look of something with a good cleaning and/or some paint.
- Look for quality! You would be surprised at the brands you can find.
- Go often! They get new stock every day.
- Give back. Going to the thrift store is a good time to take a box of stuff with you to donate.
- Just say no! Some days just aren’t good ones. Sometimes you aren’t going to get lucky. Thrifting can be like a treasure hunt, but sometimes the treasure just isn’t there. Don’t buy stuff just to buy. Just because it is cheap doesn’t mean you have to have it. Make sure you are really going to use it when you get home.
10. Look high and low. Some people hide good stuff on the top or bottom shelf, at the back. Look through stacks of plates, look under the layers on the shelves. The good stuff isn’t going to jump in to your cart, you need to find it!
- Keep thrifting in its place. Thrifting to me is entertainment. Don’t take it too seriously. Some people in thrift stores scare me. I have had things stolen out of my cart, and had my cart blocked by a shopper trying to make sure she grabbed something before I did!
Don’t you love the set of chairs I got at Goodwill for $15??
Or my less than $5 set of vintage 1950’s plates in perfect condition?
Tomorrow we are going to start some education on items you find when junking.