Thriftin Ain’t Easy, But Well Worth It

Gone are the days of heading to the mall to drop a couple hundred on clothes. Not that the desire isn’t there, but it just makes no sense to me anymore. I’ve always frequented thrift stores, since I was little. It wasn’t until I was old enough to start shopping on my own and I came across a pair of Jimmy Choo heels in my size for $15 that I realized how real thrift stores really are. It takes some effort to find the gems, but if you’re willing to hunt you can find some amazing deals within the racks.

First off, plan your attack. My local thrift store recently moved to a larger location and since I like to browse, I could easily spend my whole day in there. If you’ve got several small stores around, you can probably hit a few in a day. Don’t push it though. I try to plan my shopping around the off-peak hours and sale days so that I don’t have to worry about navigating around a huge crowd. I usually stick to books, house decor and the less frequented aisles if there’s a lot of people in the store. But, when every tag but yellow is 50% off, I know I may have to just suck it up and get there before the crowd does so I can go clothes/shoe shopping. It also pays off to be friendly to the staff. Seriously. I’ve had people give me half off just because they recognize me and every time they see me I smile. You may not be able to get away with that every time, but having some positive face time with the staff can’t hurt. You may even be able to hear about some interesting finds from the staff themselves. It may be helpful to bring a friend along. They can be an extra set of eyes or just great company for you while you shop.

While shopping, don’t limit yourself to a only a few sections that contain items in your size. This is actually why I spend so much time in the store. I browse everything, starting in the women’s section and work my way around. Sometimes sizes are wrong and sometimes you just luck into a great item by looking in the guys section. Think about different ways that you can wear something. If you see a shirt in a pattern that you like, but it’s in the guys section – don’t chalk it up to a loss, give it a chance. Don’t rule out layering or altering your finds to make them your own. Remember, you can use a thrift store to find great starting pieces. Dig a pattern but hate the sleeves? Grab the shirt and lose the sleeves. At worst, you botch the job and wind up chucking the item (I’ve done it. Total loss was $4 so I wasn’t beaten up about it.) At best, you’ve created something new for you out of something secondhand.

If you find something you positively love, get it. You will regret it if you go back and it’s not there. However, be sure that you’re not just picking up a bunch of clothes for low prices and wind up hoarding clothes. When it’s time for fall/spring cleaning, you’ll kick yourself for overloading your closet with things. Also make sure to check and try your items on! As I mentioned before, things can be sized wrong and being that most thrift stores do not allow returns, make sure you get exactly what works for you. Also fine tune your eye to check for any damage, rips, stuck zippers, missing buttons, discoloration, frayed edges or any other flaw that may give you a case to fix the item and possibly even negotiate the price down. Sometimes you can, but sometimes you can’t. Don’t push the issue.

As an avid thrifter, I’ve prided myself on coming back home with a bagful of clothes and my wallet is only $25 lighter. That, my dears is a great feeling. Keep calm and thrift on!

I’m gonna pop some tags
Only got twenty dollars in my pocket
I – I – I’m hunting, looking for a come-up
This is fucking awesome 

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