After last week’s fun refreshing post on thrifting, I kept thinking of more I had to say on the topic and a couple of commenters mentioned not finding those kinds of deals or having not thrifted before. (Just so you know, spell-check is having a cow over my use of thrift as a verb. Clearly spell-check is making all the money it can stand to spend and doesn’t know that thrift is an action. Same to you and more of it, Spell-check.) Here, for your perusal is are some preliminary thoughts on getting started with happy thrifting.
1) Go to the right store (a) In our community, we have a number of different ones… Goodwill, Salvation Army, Area Rescue Ministry, and Habitat for Humanity all have multiple stores in our area. The brands and the individual stores all have personalities of their own. Some have the best clothes, some have the best used furniture, or housewares.
2) Go to the right store (b) In our community, donations are kept in the neighborhood in which they were donated. Better neighborhood = better stuff. Don’t avoid the one in the older neighborhood, just know. IF you want better stuff than your neighbors would donate, you may travel to one where they are donating nicer things (“don’t eat where you poop”). If you live in the best neighborhood in town, you may want to travel to the opposite (there are “fabulous new” and “fabulous old” neighborhoods, right?)
3) Pricing… Thrift stores are feeling the pinch like every other kind of business. I am paying a bit more than I would have three years ago. The increase is across the board. If you know about what the item would sell for new in the store, you can decide if the price is acceptable to you. I got a shirt for Men’s Banana Republic dress shirt for Mickey on the weekend for $6. Three years ago, it would have been $3.50-ish. It’s In like-new condition. Expensive is relative.
4) Get it. It won’t be there when you come back. Unless it’s Pfaltzgraff stoneware.
5) Know your self (a). I have learned, for example, that I love ANN TAYLOR, but only thought I loved LAND’S END. Eddie Bauer slacks never fit me. No cut, or style. Ever. I was surprised to discover that I end up with a lot of Tommy Hilfiger (which I thought was a trendy poser brand.) because they are durable, launder nicely, and fit me. My girls know what I am looking for, and if they come across something as they shop, they wave it at me.
6) Know yourself (b). I don’t shop men’s much, or furniture much. Toys. Never. Last week’s killer shoes were found by a daughter who cannot lay off shoes. Thank God, because I would never have found them. I shop clothing, housewares and a little furniture. I have a weird attraction for vintage kitchen stuff. That’s okay. The money you save will go towards those things you don’t thrift for.
7) There is a serendipitous aspect of satisfying thrifting. If you have a minute to kill. Dash through. You may find something you knew you would need soon, at a price you can really work with.
8) Take your kids sometimes. Sometimes they are fun to have along, and they will learn something whether you are teaching or not. My girls don’t necessarily love it right now (because of wealthy peers), but they have “mad skilz”. I am proud of it.
9) Don’t take them all the time. Just like in everything else. They are glad you have something going on this afternoon so they don’t have to be constantly supervising your every move.
10) Find out the calendar and use the sale days…or better, shop before the sale day.
11) Our public school publishes a coupon book. All the major thrift chains have coupons. Most of them are good multiple times. Does your school coupon book offer these?
12) Thrifting is good practice spending time with people who are not just like you. Be prepared before you go to enjoy people watching. (Read: It can be a freak show.) Many of these people will want to visit. They are probably harmless. The workers don’t care if you are friendly or not. This may be regional.
I feel like there is so much to say, but 12 is already too many for a list. Good luck thrifting, and please let me know your best tips and if you find a treasure. How do you find the best for less?