13 August 2010

how-to thrift shop

by abby of talesandtrials.com  

Last year out of the blue I started shopping at thrift stores.  At first I felt a little out of place but soon I got over that and started to have some fun.  Often I come up empty handed but it's all worth it for that occasional trip when I come home with some amazing finds.  I love the thrill of thrift store shopping and also the fact that I often save our family some serious money too.  For example I have started finding some great name brand clothing for the boys in excellent condition at our local thrift stores for less than two or three dollars per item.  You can't beat that!

I am by no means a thrifting expert but I have learned a few things over time {often the hard way}. These tips can also come in handy for shopping at yard sales and antique stores too!!

::If you are looking for a particular item be patient.  I am the world's worst at being patient so I have to really try hard to enforce this one for myself.  Sometimes there is something particular I am searching for at thrift stores or yard sales. This past year I really wvanted a new lamp for our bedroom and a globe for the boys room.   I took me a while to find both but I did eventually find them. Several times I almost bought a lamp I kind of liked but I held out though and eventually found a lamp that I REALLY loved.  I brought it home and gave it a new look with some silver leaf.    

If you are looking for a specific piece of furniture for a space in your house it might be wise to know the exact dimensions of the piece you want.  You can measure it {if you keep a trusty tape measure in your purse or car} and know right then and there if it will work in your house before you load it up and take it home. 

::If you have extra storage space you might consider buying items you don't necessarily need now but will use down the line.  Sometimes I come across something at a thrift store that I don't need right at that exact moment but know that I could use in the near future{within a year or less}.  If the item is a good deal, on the small side, and easy for me to store then I will usually go ahead and buy it. 

A while back I found a set of four plate hangers for $1.51.  If you have ever bought these at your local craft store then you know that just one of these alone would cost more than what I paid for all four.  I would like to hang some plates and platters on one of our walls someday soon so I bought these plate hangers to save for that particular decorating project.

::Use your imagination!!  As you can probably imagine, you are going to run across a lot of outdated and ugly stuff at thrift stores.  Most of the time you may find something you like but maybe it's not the right color or finish.  Now everyone repeat after me, "Spray paint can transform ANYTHING!! "

When I first started thrifting it was hard to look beyond the ugliness and old school factor of everything in the store.  Then being inspired by thrift store makeovers on other blogs I slowly was able to use my imagination more and more to see the potential in thrift store "treasures".

::Don't buy an item just because it's inexpensive.  There have been many times that I kind of liked something at the thrift store so I went ahead and bought it because it didn't cost very much.  Most of the items that I did this with are now sitting in my closet untouched.  Make sure the items you buy are things you really like or that you can makeover easily.

::If you love something you come across and it won't break your budget then by all means buy it all ready!!  If you spot an item from an aisle away and your heart starts going pitter patter from the excitement of finding something amazing then snatch that item up and run directly to the cash register. 

This past spring I purchased two white milk glass planters.  I loved both of them right away but I sat there and debated about getting them because I wasn't sure they would go with my existing home decor.  Then I decided it was silly I was hemming and hawing over something that cost a dollar and that I really liked!  In the end I was able to find a spot for them in my kitchen and whenever I see them they make me smile.  I am so glad I didn't pass them up!

:: Ask for a discount and pay attention to the specials that your thrift stores have.  Our local Goodwill has a deal every week where a certain colored tag is 50% off all week long.  Of course every item I want has the wrong colored tag.  Another local thrift store always has yellow tags at 70% off, green tags at 50% off, c.  Also, don't be afraid to ask the cashier for a discount, especially if an item is slightly damaged. It never hurts to ask! {Definitely ALWAYS ask for a discount at antique stores!! They will usually give you one.}

Well there you have it.  Some simple things to remember and think about the next time you go thrifting or find yourself at a yard sale!  These tips weren't meant to overwhelm you so keep them in mind but don't stress over them.  Just have fun and of course enjoy the thrill the of the hunt!!


Tara said...

I haven't been thrifting in years and you just reminded me of how much fun it was. I think I'll add that to my list of things to do this weekend. I'm all excited now! :)

Amanda said...

Thanks for the how-to. I'm with Tara- I've been itching to go! Yard saling, too. Anyway, I'm a follower of tales and trials, now!

Carola Bartz said...

I love to go to thrift stores and I have found quite some really nice things there. The best was fancy red shoes with very high heels, for those special occasions. All I had to pay was three bucks. And I usually don't wear high heels...

Molly Page said...

These are great tips. I'm VERY new to the world of thrifting, so I'm happy to take any advice I can get.

Found this post through This Camera Tells my Story's Friday link list. I'm headed to check out more of your blog now! Nice to "meet" you.

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