Ok, if you know me at all, you know that I love, <3, going to the thrift store. I’m pretty much obsessed, a junkie. I find ones in every place I visit and I am going to share some of my secrets, opinions and general whatnot.
I found this handy infographic to the right here. Saving water, wallets and the world! Oh my!
First off there are major differences between thrift stores. Some are chain corporations, some are in support of communities organizations, some are holes in the wall- pretty much all are dusty.
To this end, Kirsten comes prepared with pure essential oils on days we go thrifting. She will make a pill of 3 drops lavender and 3 drops lemon and 2-5 drops of peppermint in an empty veggie capsule. Or if we being spontaneous she adds the oils to her water bottle. (*If you are taking essential oils internally, make sure they are of the highest quality available and pure. If you would like more information or want to know how to get some, contact me.)
There are huge benefits to shopping recycled clothing and goods. The items don’t go directly to a landfill to sit there forever. You dont have the energy input of creating new things. Things are affordable for people to buy who don’t make a lot of money and for eco friendly folks. Your donations of the junk you don’t want, clothes you dont wear and things you can let go of, put people to work, provide monies for charities and eventually can go overseas and help others in developing countries create marketplaces. Your donations are tax deductible as long as you itemize, just save your receipts. And its a fun a creative thing to do.
Our consumer society is usurping too many of the worlds resources and this is an easy thing to do to reduce our consumption and change our throw away mentality. Check out the video below called the story of stuff.
Plus- you never know what you may find, like the dude in Phoenix who turned a $5.99 watch into 35K. Boozer.
While I was living in the Bay Area, there was no shortage of thrift stores to check out. My options are more limited now, but I make it work. You never know what you are going to find and if you put it out there that you want something eventually you will manifest it.
Goodwill. This used to not be my favorite, really only because of the price. Most are fixed and quite high for my liking. While living in Santa Cruz, this is what we have so I am making it work. First thing, its a great cause, they use your donated stuff to put people back to work. I have found some great work arounds to the set prices as well. Get you discounts (check your stores calendar like the Santa Cruz one in the link). Senior, student and military are Monday through Wednesday for 10% off. Sundays are the best day to go as its the start of a new color tag discount, you can find more and they haven’t been picked over. They also have other random days where things are discounted. Some goodwills buy things from Target that have been returned or opened and offer these unused items at discounted prices. We have found socks, clothes, toys and household items. Our best find was a room ultrasonic diffuser for doTERRA essential oils. It was in the box with the directions for $5.49. We then saw that diffuser at whole foods for $45. Boom.
Savers. Known as the thrift superstore. Bring some bags for donation to get a 20% discount for your shopping trip, as a bonus you have room to put your new finds. You have around a month to use this, so if you don’t find enough that trip save it for the next. Sign up for their card and get access to sale events before the rest of the public and a 20% on your birthday, on your actual birthdate. Watch out- these days are crazy packed, but less so than the public days. Phew. These places are huge, they are well organized, even the books are categorized. I have found countless toys here for our preschool at decent prices; puzzles, games, books. Their book prices just went up from 0.49 to 0.69, but they still have buy 4 and get the 5th free. Some are individually priced so that sucks, but if you look hard enough you can find great ones. At certain times they have a rewards card where you can collect stamps to earn a discount. Their silver jewelry is priced high, based on the price of silver, but they have a nice selection of jewelry. I always seem to find great shoes there too, in my size. They also have a return policy, really you can exchange most things that still have a tag on them within 7 days.
Thrift town. Another goodie. They have a VIP card now connected to your phone number which allows you to accumulate money spent till you earn a discount, one point for each dollar and 100 points = $5 our next purchase of $15 or more. These are also well organized and have great jewelry. They also have color tag sales that rotate weekly in addition to a senior day of 20% of clothing on Mondays. Another fun deal are the monthly discounts on certain things, you never know till you go. Honestly, its been awhile thrift town, I’m sorry but you live on. They also do some of the work for you by having areas of “better clothing,” read brand names.
Ok let’s get down to how to shop and decide what to buy. Focus. Think about what you are looking for and start in that section. As you lose steam, head to the dressing room. Use the dressing room, seriously you will thank me, its a must. Mom.
If you want the best deals, just look for the color of the week tag and ignore the rest. Shop on the discard rack outside the dressing rooms, there might be a gem there someone else didn’t decide on.
If you are not feeling it, go get a thrifty’s ice cream instead, there will be other days. Go periodically.
Take stock of your closet and cull things that you don’t wear, doesn’t fit well or you are just over. Try not to hold onto things for sentimental reasons.
Look for things in season and sell them at places like buffalo exchange, crossroads or the like if thats your bag. Leave things till later and see if they are there during the color sale, then buy.
Try new things. Say NO to big box stores. Have fun being creative and cut things up and upcycle them into something new.
Dont be like everyone else. Avoid name brands on your chest, unless they pay you to be an advertisement. Below is an awesome flow chart that I found here.
Happy Thrifting! What was your best find? Can you offer any tips?