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Friday, May 27, 2011

Tips for Successful Thrift Shopping

 By far the most common question I get from readers is "How do you thrift shop?". People can never believe the amazing thing I find at thrift stores and they want to know how they can do it too!

This is a topic I discussed when I was on the news recently but I have quite a few more tips that I wanted to share with you all!

1.Don't judge a book by it's cover: sometimes the grungiest thrift stores in the worst areas have the best stuff so take along some hand sanitizer and get over it! And remember the buddy system if you are going to a particularly bad neighborhood.

2.Plan a thrift day: Thrift stores tend to be located close to one another in certain areas. If there is one thrift store there is likely to be another. Use the internet to find new stores.

3.Know the sale days: most thrift stores have colored tags or even a day when they put items on sale . You can always ask a sales associate to let you know what colored tags are on sale or what day(s) they have a sale.

4.Research the trends: Thrift stores tend to be large and slightly overwhelming at times so it helps to know what you are looking for.  In order to know what you are looking for you need to do your homework. Look through magazines and fashion blogs to get an idea of what the trends are and try to recreate those looks when you go to the thrift store. I am always amazed that I can go into a thrift store with something specific in mind and i will usually find it!

5.Dress for success: Many thrift stores don't even have dressing rooms so it helps to wear something form fitted like leggins and a tank top so you can try clothes on over your clothes if you need to.

6.Think outside the thrift store: This is the most valuable piece of advice that I received from my friend Jaymie when she taught me how to thrift shop. When you look at an item you have to visualize it outside of the thrift store. Everything tends to look drab and dirty at at thrift store. But if you picture it in your home, or picture what you might wear with it, or where you could wear it, you start to see things differently.

7.Be creative: think about how you can use items for purposes other than their main one. For example, you could buy an ugly or damaged item because it has cool buttons then use the buttons on something else.

8.Be patient: there are many treasures to uncover at a thrift store but sometimes you have to go through a lot of stuff you don't want to find the one item you do want. Take your time and view your shopping as an adventure not just a quick stop.

9.Buy only what you love: Sometimes it is hard not to be like a kid in a candy store while thrifting. Why buy one top for $3 when you can buy 10 for only $30! But chances are you don't really need 10 new tops nor do you LOVE all 10 of the tops. Be realistic about what you will really wear and don't buy it if you don't love it. Thrift shopping is cheap but if you buy a lot of items that you never wear you can waste quite a bit of money over time!

10.Inspect before you buy: sometimes there is a reason certain items are at the thrift store. Clothing items might have a hole in it or a stain. This is not always a reason not to buy  something because sometimes these things can be fixed- you will have to judge that for yourself. Often thrift stores will have outlets where you can plug in lamps or household items to make sure they work- definitely take advantage of this!

11.Make friends: Be nice to the staff and they will be nice to you! Be patient as many of the employees at Goodwill in particular have disabilities.  When you are nice they might give you an extra discount or let you in on information on sale days or special events. They also love it when you use small bills to pay with!

12.Give back: Clean out your closet regularly and donate your unused items to a local thrift store. Many thrift stores support people with disabilities or those who are less fortunate. What an easy way to help a great cause. And you can write it off on your taxes- just ask for a receipt!
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  1. I thrift shop a lot, but these are going to help me even more now! Thanks for sharing!
    I'm going to link this post in my blog post :)

  2. These are great tips for beginning thrifters!

  3. Hi! I just stumbled upon your blog. Thanks for sharing the tips, so true! I'm a thrifter myself. I think you have great style! Following you!