I LOVE Thrift Stores. I have been thrifting… forever. Now don’t get me wrong, when I was 12 and had to wear the 2nd hand jeans my mom picked out, I didn’t think it was so cool. As an adult I have found the joy and the benefit of Thrift Stores.
In college I remember spending $100 at a store in the mall one day on clothes, shoes jewelry, etc. I was a little shocked at the tally, but I had gotten A LOT of stuff. Unfortunately it was poor quality and didn’t fit well or look all that good (I’m sure I wore most of it anyway) I made the same mistake the first few years of Thrifting. I would buy stuff because it was cheap or “my size” and in a few months it was back in the Thrift Store (because I donated it back) or torn and in the trash.
Today I want to share with you my list of “DO’s” and “Don’ts” of Thrifting and details about my trip I took today.
- Make a Plan!
- Know where you are going, when, for how long, with who, etc. Winging it will not get you the most for you time and money and you will probably end up wasting more time than if you planned it.
- Know the Store/Sales
- Know which days, times, locations, etc which stores have sales. Make sure you understand the restrictions and details (color tags, limits, etc)
- Get there EARLY!
- I usually get there about 10-15 min before the store opens on the day of the $.99 tags sale. I don’t want to wait too long outside with an active toddler, but I know that within that first hour most of the good stuff is GONE!
- Dress comfy
- You’re not going to the Mall, you don’t need makeup or heals. I usually wear leggings or sweat pants (easy to get in and out of when trying on pants) slip on shoes with thin socks (try on shoes in a flash) and a tank top with my favorite bra (so I can try on sweaters and shirts without having to go into the dressing room). I also usually bring a purse with a longer strap that I can cross over my body so I don’t have to worry about it.
- Know your limit (and your kid’s/spouse’s/friend’s limit)
- If you (or the person you’re with) gets tired or grumpy in an hour or two, then halfway into that time stop browsing and start trying on and deciding what you want. My trip today was and hour and a half and it was perfect. I got exactly what I wanted. I wasn’t burnt out on searching and kiddo wasn’t to the point of screaming at the top of his lungs…yet.
- Have a Budget
- If I did not have a budget today (and I have done this before) I would have bought at least 6 things that were not flattering and or I would have never worn. A budget keeps your choices in check and also stops you from regretting half of you purchases.
- Go in WITHOUT a Plan
- Again, planning will make it a much better experience and you will have more yield for your time and money.
- Think that you kids will not get bored
- I brought the Tablet, charged and loaded with games and movies, so that kiddo would have a distraction. It made my time more enjoyable and effective.
- Get on your phone
- Silence that thing! If you get distracted by a phone call or text, you will miss out or loose focus.
- Get distracted by items that are NOT on sale
- If you want to browse for pretty things, pick a different day and plan to do that with a different budget. SALE DAY is about that specific color TAG and they go fast, so you do too! While you’re flipping through racks looking for that sale color tag, if something REALLY catches your eye throw it in the cart and keep moving. Come back to it later.
- Fall into the Name Brand trap
- Just because it is a great Name Brand or in your Size DOES NOT mean you HAVE to get it. If it is going to just take up space in your closet or you are going to be uncomfortable every time you wear it, it isn’t even worth a dollar.
- Slow Down
- Pickers (as I like to call them) move fast and often in groups. They are going to have the entire store picked over in about an hour. So you have to move quickly and with purpose. Plan ahead which sections you want to look over and in what order (because that might be the difference in finding something or not). Today I choose to go: Sweaters, purses, jeans, tops, workout gear. Shoes are very scattered at this store so I don’t really focus on them (although I found an amazing pair today by happenstance).
My typical routine once I get in and have my budget and plan is to go section by section (according to what I want to find that trip) and very quickly look through the racks for sale color tags. I then grab any items that are my size and look like something I might wear ( I’m not extremely picky at this point) I continue through the store until I have a very full cart and have looked in my top 4 or 5 sections. If I am not finding a lot of sale tags in a section I will often move on, it may have already been picked over and I don’t want to loose momentum or hope. Next, I find a quiet spot and sort through my findings. This is where I take the time to think “is this my color, my style, will it go with anything else I own, when would I wear this?”. I often try to do this near a full length mirror somewhere in the store. I try on any shirts, jackets, sweaters, purses, shoes, etc (remember I am wearing my favorite bra and a tank top) I do this because Thrift Stores often have very small Dressing Rooms with very small limits (like 6 items). Then I hang up anything I am not IN LOVE with and take the items I definitely want off the hanger and put back into the cart. ( If you don’t love it, you probably aren’t going to wear it enough for it to be worth the space in your closet) Then I go into a fitting room and try on any pants or skirts. Make sure to rotate and check for spots or tears. Lastly, go through one more time and make sure every item you choose it worth its weight in your “limit” or “budget”. (BTW setting a low budget means you will probably come home with better stuff. I usually set it to $10 or 10 items)
I cannot get over how in love I am with every piece I came home with today. I want to walk you through them each real quickly.
The first shirt was a brand I didn’t recognize. It was good quality and extremely comfy and grey goes with everything. Second shirt was The Limited, very classy for a meeting or night out. Third was Coldwater Creek. Perfect for Texas’ midl fall days.
The bag I picked up was Jessica Simpson. It doesn’t fit my laptop but is perfect for all my other work stuff.
Cable Knit sweaters are IN and I found a bunch of them that were so adorable, but they just didn’t look stunning on me. This one is bound to be my favorite winter item (Bar III). The blue Ann Taylor sweater is great for work. The Phat Farm sweatshirt still had the tags on it. Someone paid $69 so I could have it for $0.99!
These jeans cost me a buck, but they make me feel like a million $$$. 7jeans brand ($70 new) Then this Eddie Bauer workout shirt is actually nice enough to wear with a pair of jeans and not look too mom-ish 😉
Last, but not least. My Nine West find ❤
There you have it! I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about how I shop and that your next Thrifting Adventure is as successful as mine was. I would love to hear about great finds you have made, share them below!