I thrift, therefore I save. Lots and lots and lots. But, for me, it’s more then just saving piles of cash – it’s about the hunt, the thrill of the chase and satisfying my constant desire to be wearing something new, cute and fashion forward.
Like this top combo…
The tank and the necklace were both from a local thrift store.
Here are my tips on making the most of your thrift shopping experience. And thanks to the Volunteers of America for sponsoring this post. They gave, Jess and I a $50 gift card to shop to our heart’s content. The goal? To find as much as could for under $50.00.
1. Give yourself plenty of time and bring a friend.
Thrifting is an adventure. It’s more about the thrill of the hunt then anything else. You’ll find yourself immediately overwhelmed by the sheer volume of stuff and you just have to dive in. So, you need time. Give yourself at least an hour and a half. And bringing a friend ensures you have someone else to help you sort through your cart to “edit” what you really need and what you should just leave behind. When we left the store Jess and I agreed, we could have spent at least another hour and she was amazed at how much fun she had. Not being a thrift shopper at all this was her “first time.”
2. Be safe.
I have never, ever had any instances that made me feel uncomfortable in the thrift stores. In fact, quite the contrary. I see old men shopping for books and suburban housewives looking for school clothes or families who have no other option but to shop here. Either way there is a sense of community at the thrift stores. With this said, I do follow a few rules. The first, I never look male shoppers in the eye. I keep to my own business and let them keep to theirs. Also, if the kids are with me, I keep them within ear shot always. The thrift stores in Ohio aren’t too big, so this is easy. They also know that if anyone, male or female, talks to them–then they have to come straight back to me immediately.
3. Go frequently and hit your favorite sections.
To really find the best steals, you have to hit your favorite thrift store at least once a week. I know this sounds like a lot, but once you pass the adventure phase of #1 and become more seasoned, you can run in and run out in less then 30 minutes. My favorite store is the Volunteers of America (VOA) on Indianola in Columbus.
It’s on my way home from work and I can stop often. Once inside, I go directly to my favorite sections. They are: colored pants. That’s where I found these puppies for $.99.
That picture doesn’t do them justice. They are vintage 80’s and perfect with everything.
Another favorite section: Purses and scarves. That’s where I found this silk scarf for $1.50 and it actually had an original tag on it for $191.00
Kids books. I always find incredible books here and you can’t beat the prices. Most books are .50 or .90.
Look what I found on our shopping trip with Jess.
I also hit the skirts and dresses and finally, the athletic gear. Everyone throws this stuff away because keeping their New Year’s resolution or diet is so challenging (my theory anyway). So the athletic gear donated is typically barely used, if at all.
And then I always, always make a swing through baskets because you never know what you’re going to find. Like this beauty,
Each of you will have your own favorite sections. These can be things you know you need or things you just love. Either way, stick to the same stores and hit your favorite sections frequently. And sweet Lily, who joined us (she’s my thrift shopping prodigy and a little fashionista) found a Care Bear.
4. Look for sales.
The VOA marks everything half off in the store on the last Tuesday of every month and tomorrow, every item in every store will be 50% off to celebrate National Thrift Day. And even on none sale days there are always tags marked off. For a whopping $50.00 we found most of the above and everything you can see in this basket. Jess found a scarf and a pink jacket (not pictured). Also, check out the other basket I found. You can’t tell, but it’s bursting with stuff.
Needless to say, I am in love with thrifting and have a hard time paying full price for anything now. Especially with three children to cloth and equip for school and life…I hope this helps! Have you discovered the power of thrifting yet?