Thursday, May 29, 2014

thrift store shopping

Here are 10 tips for thrift store shopping:

1. Bring a reusable bag.  This may seem strange, but seriously, some thrift stores don’t provide carts.  The ones that do are sometimes set up like a hoarder’s basement, so navigating a cart in the aisles just isn't worth the hassle.  Plus, the ‘you bag it you buy it’ principal doesn't apply here.  You can always put it back after taking it for a stroll through the store.

2. Wear form fitting clothes.  A pair of leggings and a form fitting shirt go a long way when there are no dressing rooms.  If you aren't wearing baggy clothing, you can slip it over the top of your outfit for size and be on your way.  Plus, you can take it home and wash it before sliding it next to  your skin.

3. Remember, thrift shopping is an endurance race.  If you are looking to run in and run out, it’s not for you. Finding treasures is a labor of love–one that often times comes up empty.  Thrift stores change inventory daily, so be prepared to come back if nothing suits your fancy, and be prepared to dig a bit to find something that does.

4. Check the label.  Certain brands hold up better than others.

5. Inspect items thoroughly.  Check for stains, rips, chips, and tears.  Check that all of the pieces, buttons, etc. are there.  Usually, purchases are non-refundable, so give it a good 'four' times over.

6. Avoid make-up, mattresses, running shoes, underwear, etc.  There is no way to know how old make-up actually is, even if it does appear to be “new”. Mattresses are super hard to clean and harbor tons of ‘I’d rather not know’s’.  Running shoes are designed to support your body–they have a mileage limit, and typically they are used pretty hard before they find their way to the thrift store.  Underwear = Gross.

7. Keep a list of things you might be looking for {i.e. black sweater, white serving bowl, wooden shelf, etc.} Oft times when you get into the store, it can be so overwhelming you don’t know where to start.  A list gives you some focus.  {Don’t be discouraged if you don’t fill your wishlist right away.  Patience, young one, patience.  See tip #3.}

8. Test things out.  If you are buying appliances or electronics, ask to plug them in and give them a spin.

9. Have an open mind.  Sometimes, without the shiny merchandising, things look ‘junkie’, but a lot of times, they are just in need of some simple TLC.  Ask yourself, would a furniture piece look different with a coat of paint and some new hardware?  Would those plates look amazing paired with your place mats and bowls?

10. Make sure to donate!  Donate any unwanted clutter in your house.  Before I go to the thrift stores, I always grab the box of donations I keep in the closet.  It’s the circle of thrift store life, people.  It"s a beautiful thing!