Some people get their thrills from iron on bird appliqués or bacon cupcakes. Me? I get my thrills from bargain shopping. It’s in my blood. My mother knows the owners of every thrift store in the tri-state area where I grew up and my first bra was purchased at a thrift store when I was 13 years old. The apple doesn’t fall from the tree. I find myself rummaging through second hand stores like a crazed coupon clipper just to get my fix. You will catch the fever too when you see a couple examples of my recent bargain buys:
Vintage white rain boots: $6
2 x 7 Yellow pedal rug for the entry way by West Elm: $8
(you can still buy it online for 10x the price I paid here)
Leather mid century office chair (with hints of Scandinavian design): $5. That’s right. $5.
Also bought that white leather footstool above a few months ago for $25.
I’ve been doing this thrifing thing for a while so I thought I’d give you beginners some thrifting tips:
1. There are thrift stores (salvation army, for example), consignment shops, and second hand stores. The last two are pretty similar, they’re cleaner, smaller, and more organized, but the owners usually have an idea of how much things are worth so although you can sometimes find good deals it can be picked over and more expensive (comparatively).
Salvation army thrift stores are my favorite because usually the owners have no clue how much things are worth so sometimes you can find some amazing deals if you have the patience to sort through the racks. I’ve found designer $150 jeans before for less than $8. The family versions of these are great because they’re huge and have tons of old vintage furniture usually.
2. The best way to stay focused is to walk into the store with some kind of idea of what you want. Thrift stores are incredibly disorganized so if you don’t have something specific you’re looking for, you can get lost in the racks.
3. Always go with at least one other person whose taste you trust. There is a fine line between old vintage and junk. It’s nice to have a second opinion. Although when in doubt, buy it. It’s only $3 anyway.
4. Usually people bring donations on the weekends to the best day to go thrifting is on a Monday or Tuesday. Ask your local thrift store when the stuff from the weekend gets put out on the racks. The thrift stores by my house are out by 12pm on Monday. So Monday afternoons are my thrifting days.
5. My mom taught me a great trick for trying on pants or skirts at a thrift store that doesn’t have a fitting room. It’s not very glamorous but it does the trick. Grab a long skirt with an elastic waist. Find a corner of the store that’s not frequently visited (preferably close to the furniture section where there might be large mirrors). Throw the skirt on over your clothes and then without looking too suspicious, exchange your pants/skirt underneath with the pants or skirt you’re interested in buying. Don’t worry there are enough odd balls in there you won’t stand out much.