December 4, 2011

Thrift Store Tips

Have I mentioned how much I love thrift stores? To me it's like finding buried treasure. You sort, sift, search, scour, repeat. Sometimes you find something worth the time and effort. Sometimes you don't. That's what makes it fun. A lot of people would be overwhelmed walking into a thrift store for the first time so this post is for those people. Maybe you have thought about trying it out but don't know where to begin, or maybe you're skeptical about what you can find. Thrift store shopping can be chaotic, frustrating, a bit time-consuming, but don't let it stop you! Once you score those first great deals, you will be HOOKED!

First, think about how thrift store shopping can be beneficial:

1) It saves $$$. You're money will stretch far. Think about how much you pay for one item at a department store. Think about being able to buy 5-10 things for the cost of that one item.

2) It helps a good cause. Thrift stores are often owned by charity or non-profit organizations. Because the items are donated, the money from the sales help fund charities and community programs.

3) It's eco-friendly. You recycle cans, bottles, and re-use items for other purposes. Why not clothes too? You are giving life to an item that might otherwise have been thrown in the
garbage and keeping things out of the landfill.

4) There's a wide variety. When you shop at department and other retail stores, there's probably 50 other people who have that same exact item. Thrift stores offer one of a kind pieces that you can probably bet nobody else is wearing and you can't find anywhere else.

5) You get the thrill of the hunt. Finding an awesome item at a great price is always a good feeling!

6) Things are in better condition than you might think! Just because things are donated doesn't mean that they are all falling apart. Think about the stuff in your closet that hasn't been worn for a while. They are still in perfect condition, but maybe it's just not your style anymore or maybe you changed your mind about something you bought but it's too late to return so it's just hanging out in your closet. A lot of the store's inventory come from those situations. There are plenty of items with tags still attached!

7) You get to use your imagination. There aren't any mannequins or store ads telling you what to wear. This is wear you can expand your creativity and really make the style your own.

Before you go/store tips:

1) Try to go on a week day. The weekends can get very packed which can discourage you from really diving in and sorting through all the racks.

2) Ask a worker what days the store stocks new inventory. Then try to go as early as possible to have the best selection.

3) Find out if there are days that offer special discounts. A lot of stores offer an extra percentage off of certain tag colors or an extra percentage off the senior discount. Bring a grandparent!

4) Look out for coupons. I've seen coupons in my area's Pennysaver for up to 50% off a purchase total. Check your newspaper or any community ad/circular.

5) Wear the right the right clothes for shopping. You will be doing a lot of sifting. You don't want to get too hot while shopping.

6) Wear the right undergarments. Try to wear a strapless nude bra/underwear for trying things on. It's easier to envision a final outfit when you don't have a clashing bra strap peaking through or colorful underwear showing.

7) Bring cash. Usually stores accept debit/credit, but bring cash just in case.

8) Check reviews online. Find thrift stores that have good ratings. People will tell you what kinds of things can be found and if they got good deals on them.

9) Be willing to spend a little time looking. You don't want to miss out on a great deal because you're in a hurry!

10)Have fun! Just keep thinking that you will find something perfect! It's out there somewhere! It takes patience at times.

Shopping tips (Clothes):

1) Be open minded. Think of what you could do with an item instead of just looking at what's on the hanger. Things can be tweaked and styled with just a little imagination. Shoulder pads can be removed. Granny skirts can be hemmed. Bulky pieces can be belted.

2) Consider alterations. Things can be fixed to better suit you. Hemming the bottom of pants and skirts, replacing buttons, or mending a ripped seam are easy fixes. If you don't have the slightest clue about how to work a needle, you can ask a friend or a family member. More complicated jobs can be altered professionally by a tailor for a fair price.

3) Don't shop according to your size. Obviously this wouldn't work for things like jeans, shorts, etc. But if you're a certain letter size, don't limit yourself to just that section. You might find that oversized sweater that hangs off your shoulder and looks great with leggings and boots, or a too big for you dress that magically fits with the use of a waist belt. The sizes will greatly vary especially since it's a bunch of different manufacturers. Also keep in mind that you're dealing with different eras. Things made in the past couple of years fit differently than things made in the 70s, 80s, etc.

4) Try things on! Things always look different on than it does on the hanger. If something catches your eye, snatch it up and head to the fitting room! Most places launder their items before putting them out if that's a concern of yours. It won't kill you, I promise.

5) Examine your pieces thoroughly before bringing them to the register. Missing buttons, tears along seams are quick and easy fixes, but you don't want to come home with something that
will cost more to fix than what you paid or what it would be worth.

And don't forget to check out everything else!! Books, accessories, home decor, furniture, party decorations, craft projects.. The possibilities are endless!

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