Top ten tips for Thrifting.3:43 PM
Over on Instagram I've started this fun little project where I share some of my thrifted finds. Don't get me wrong, I love Instagram, but for a media platform that is primarily visual, it's certainly saturated with images of new clothes, new jewelry, new shoes, new home decor......everything is the latest and greatest and new, new, new. And if I'm not careful, it can start to foster this ungrateful spirit in me, and an unhealthy desire to shop all the things.
And even though I know the problem lies with me and not others, it can be frustrating to constantly see homes and wardrobes that are portrayed as normal and for the "every man" but I can spot specific brands and I know prices and I just can't afford to spend that.
So that's when I decided to start posting outfits that are entirely (or mostly) thrifted, to help remind myself and others that it doesn't have to break the bank to be nice, or to suit your style.
I love thrifting and it's always been my primary method of shopping, but it's not for everyone. For one, having small children has put a SERIOUS cramp in my style in the thrifting department. It's hard to go often and for long amounts of time, and both of those are key to finding good deals.
I've tried shopping on Thred-up, the online second-hand store, and have had some success! If you want to try it out too, please use my link here. You'll get $10 off your first order and I'll get $10 when you do! Win-win. Anyway, back to people that don't like thrifting. The complaints I most often hear are:
"I never find anything."
"I don't have the time."
"The thrift stores in my area aren't any good."
"I can never find the right sizes."
And while I agree with some of these (thrift stores back East are definitely nicer) I would say that if you want to find good deals thrifting, you need to keep an open mind.
1. Be patient.
I posted a picture one time of what I would call a really good haul from Goodwill, and I received comments saying "I never have that kind of luck!" But what people didn't realize is how long it took me to find those things. I went on a day when I didn't have the kids along, and I took my sweet time. By the time it was all said and done, I think I had spent 3 hours in there. Yeesh. And so yes, I found a lot of great things that time but I certainly paid for it IN TIME. And that right there is the key...you are going to pay for clothes one way or another. The difference is whether you want to pay in dollars or time.
2. Don't get discouraged.
So the last time you went you found nothing. Nada. Zero. Big deal! That is part of thrifting. It's not Target. You can't walk in and find exactly what you want, in the right size and the right color in 5 minutes. But that's part of the beauty of it all. One time you may get nothing and the next time you will find 7 things. It's the thrill of the hunt. Like I said, it's not for everyone, but you can't get discouraged and give up after the first few tries.
3. Have an open mind.
O.k. so it's October and you really need a new sweater, but you just found the perfect summer dress. Great fit, beautiful print, and quality brand. BUY IT. Just because it's not the right season or what you were needing specifically at that time, doesn't mean you shouldn't score on what will probably be your favorite go-to-outfit this coming summer. You need to be on the lookout for things you don't even realize you need. Keep your mind open as you scan the aisles.
4. Think outside the box.
You've been wanting a denim or military vest and can't seem to ever find the right one. So buy a denim (or military) jacket and cut the sleeves off. (That's what I did to the denim vest you see pictured above) You want longer, knee-length denim shorts instead of the booty ones at Target. Buy a pair of Goodwill jeans and cut them off. You get the idea.
5. Keep a running list.
Start a list of things you want to keep an eye out for while thrifting (puffy coat, rain boots, brass lamp, etc.) and add to it, crossing off when found. It makes it a lot easier to zip through the sections, just keeping an eye out for key items without wasting time looking through every little thing. For example, I have a weakness for a pretty basket, but each time I went to Target, I simply couldn't bring myself to pay full price for a basket. So I started just keeping an eye out for them every single time I went into Goodwill, and before long, I had a collection of a lot of really beautiful, woven, unique baskets that cost me probably several dollars each. WINNING.
6. Give Barnes & Noble a run for their money.
Some thrift stores alphabetize their books and even by categories, and so it makes it really easy to look for a specific book. Have a running list of books you'd like to buy and every so often, look for them. You might be surprised what you will find! Oh and Bibles. There are almost always Bibles there! And those are so expensive new.
7. Be picky.
This might seem to contradict the whole premise of thrifting, but if you keep this in mind, it will help you avoid buyer's remorse. Obviously these items have been owned before, so if you buy a brand like Old Navy or Rue21, it's probably not going to hold up much longer. But if it's J. Crew, Land's End, or Boden, your chances of it staying nice are a lot higher.
8. Shop with something in mind.
It's a lot easier to locate, and make a decision on a belt when I have a specific outfit in mind that needs a specific one. Or spotting a pair of lamps when I have in mind a place for them to go. Evaluate the things you need, check that list that you've been adding to, and shop around with a plan in mind. You'll be amazed at what you find.
9. Try it on.
This seems gross to some people and I totally get it, sometimes it does seem a little nasty. But even stuff at Target has probably been tried on before you. Trying things on helps guarantee that you are going to love and wear the item, and you don't just end up with more junk. Which leads right into my last point....
10. LOVE it or leave it.
I used to get sucked into "the good deal" aspect of thrifting. "I know what this is full-price so this is a really good deal!" I would think to myself, and end up buying things I didn't really love. And then they would just end up in my summer garage sale. So save yourself the trouble, and just say NO unless you truly, really, love it. Otherwise it's not worth it, even if it is technically, a great deal.
Well that's all I have for today. I would love to hear back from you on some of your thrifting tips! Like I said, it's not everyone's cup of tea, but it's definitely mine, and....you can...pour me another glass. I didn't know how to end that and yes, I promise not to do that again.
It's Friday people, have a great weekend!