Hope everyone is getting ready for 'Thursdays are for Thrifters' tomorrow! Last week was our biggest week yet and I'm hoping this week will be just as big! I love seeing all your thrifted finds and outfits and hope you're ready and spreading the word! Since lately I've had several people leave me comments about how much fun thrifting sounds but how they aren't sure how to start, I decided to provide some more. You can find the first 15 tips for thrifting here. Hopefully the new tips will inspire you to give it a shot for yourself! If you have any questions, let me know!
1. Know what’s worth saving. Vintage fabric that has yellowed is easy to brighten up and surface stains can be easy to remove, but if a stain has seeped through to the underside of the fabric, it’s much more difficult to deal with. To remove a surface stain or brighten yellowed fabric, fill your sink with cold water and wet the material. Then pour a little bit of gentle, liquid laundry detergent (I’m a fan of Woolite) onto the stain or yellowed area. Rub the fabric against itself until you see the discoloration disappear. Then hang to dry. Never put a stained piece of clothing in the dryer until you know the stain is completely gone or you will set the stain and it will become nearly impossible to remove.
2. Cross examine. You might not normally be into wearing men’s clothing, but the men’s side of a thrift store can open a world of possibilities. Want some $2 t-shirts to distress? You’ll find them there. Great western-inspired hats? Those are there too. In the market for the perfectly fitted blazer for less than $5? Check the little boys’ section.
3. Ask for a price reduction. At many thrift stores (particularly at Goodwills, but others too), employees can set prices and take offers. If you see something you like, but think it’s overpriced, don’t be afraid to make a lower offer. And if the item is damaged, be sure to point that out. It doesn’t always work, but it never hurts to try.
4. Wear something easy to try things on over, in case there isn’t a fitting room. Leggings are ideal because you can try on shorts and skirts over them and still get a feel for how they fit you. Try to dress in single layers, if possible. This also makes trying clothes on in a dressing room easier when you have a large number of items.
5. Shop for what you like, not for an item’s value. As thrifting becomes more and more popular, it gets harder and harder to find high-end, vintage and highly collectible items. But that doesn’t mean that what’s in thrift stores doesn’t have value. Forget labels and what something is going for on eBay; shop for what you like and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks.
6. Come up with a thrifting schedule, if you can. If you’re shopping with a purpose-like decorating a new apartment-you’ll want to go at least once a week and find out when stock is shifted so you can hit the right stores at the times you’re most likely to find the newest merchandise.
7. Start shopping in the area you most want to find something. Though it’s important to go in with an open mind, you usually know if you’d rather find a great dress or a pair of pants. One of my favorite thrift stores has an all-vintage section. Though it’s in the very back of the store, I always head to it first. Then I check purses and hats because one great accessory can help out any number of outfits. After looking in the areas I am really hoping to find something in, I take the time to look through the entire store, even in areas I wouldn’t expect to find anything I would want.
8. Don’t forget to check the prices. Thrift store employees who price merchandise know what people are looking for-so new items with tags still on them might be priced close to retail price and expensive fabrics and brands are also priced higher than the average item too. If the item is perfect-perfect condition, fits perfectly and is exactly what you want-then you might not mind paying more for it. Otherwise, it’s probably not really the bargain you were hoping for when you started thrift shopping.
9. Once you have found some favorite thrift stores, ask if they offer a value card or e-mail list for loyal customers. One store I shop at issues value cards worth 25% off on certain days off the week and sends out e-mails periodically saying they will be worth 50% for a limited time and all you have to do is sign up!
10. Have a use in mind for anything you buy. When things are cheap, it’s easy to overbuy. To avoid this, have a specific use in mind for any item you pick up before you purchase it. If you don’t know where you could put it or how you’d use it, you probably don’t need it.
11. Get a cart. This may seem like common sense, but when you first go in the door, get a cart. You may not find anything, but you may find something you have to have. If you walk away to get a cart, it may not be there when you return. Also, you can put anything you’re interested in the cart, and then sort through it before checking out, making sure you have a clear purpose for everything you find.
12. Don’t forget that thrift store shopping isn’t just about clothes. You can find everything in thrift stores-from records to home décor. I love looking for books at thrift stores because many stores price books at just 50 cents. I’ve found some of my absolute favorite books thrifting.
13. Make sure you love anything you are going to buy. Just because a shirt is the cutest one in a Goodwill doesn’t mean it’s something you really like. It’s easy to find the one item you can tolerate amongst a sea of things you’d never wear. So make sure you really love an item and consider how it fits into your personal style and closet. Can you think of several ways you could wear it? If so, it’s probably safe to buy it.
14. Check the clearance rack. Lots of thrift stores have a clearance rack or section, where items are up to 50% off. Some stores move the day’s specials to that section, so you’re as likely to find a great piece there as anywhere in the store!
15. Make a day of it. Searching through the racks takes time and you don’t want to miss anything. Give yourself plenty of time and every opportunity to find something you’ll love and get a great deal on by making a day of it!