Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Beginner's Guide to Thrifting

In today's economy, spending a lot of money on new clothes isn't really an option for most people. Personally, I shop pretty much exclusively at thrift and secondhand stores like Goodwill. Some might find the idea of wearing someone else's clothes unappealing, but I mean, just wash it before you wear it and everything will be fine. Also, ethically, shopping at thrift stores is kind of the only way to guarantee you're not giving money to companies who use sweat shop labor or are just overall super corrupt. Anyway, as awesome and fun as thrifting is, it can be pretty overwhelming if you're just starting out. If you're like me and find yourself having sensory overload in big department stores or any shopping experience really, thrifting can be a welcome relief from the pushy salespeople and flashy advertisements, but it can also be tricky to find the treasures amidst the inevitable trash. NEVER FEAR, I'll get you through it.

Top 10 Thrift Tips

How to Have the Best Thrift Shopping Experience

thrift haul1. If you're new to thrifting, start out going on weekdays and earlier on in the day:
It's a jungle out there, especially on weekends which can often be when stores like Goodwill and The Arc have specials (50% off day at The Arc is my JAM but it can get crazy).

2. Learn the lay of the land:
Most secondhand stores are split into sections based on gender and clothing type. Secondarily, the racks will be roughly organized by size and if you're lucky, color. If you're new to a store, take a few laps around it before you dig in to the racks so you can map out a game plan.

3. Don't miss out on the accessories:
I personally get everything from shoes to sunglasses at thrift stores, but if you're a beginner, start with the belts and jewelry sections. They're usually set off pretty distinctly from the clutter (jewelry often in a case by the checkout counter, belts typically to the side of the clothes racks).

4. If you're shopping to save, avoid the more selective "vintage boutiques":
While they'll have an undoubtedly tempting selection, they're also charging for the service of picking out the clothes. That means an item that would normally be $6.99 can go for upwards of $30.

5. Don't be afraid to trust your eye/gut:
A lot of times a pattern or color will jump out at you but the shape/fit is all wrong once you take a second look. I like to pick up that stuff anyway because you never know how you can DIY it into something awesome. I've made dresses into shirts, shirts into scarves, the possibilities are endless.

6. Keep your options open:
I've found some of my favorite items in the men's section, maternity section, you name it! Don't be afraid to branch out and see what's out there.

7. Check out the book section:
I've found countless treasures for my bookshelf, but also a ton of children's books with amazing illustrations that I like to use to collage.

8.Take your time:
Thrifting is about the experience. Half the fun is that every item you find will be a diamond in the rough.

9. Get creative and the magic will come:
A thrift store is all about the endless possibilities. One time I found an entire collection of Gustav Klimt prints for ten bucks and a couple antique looking frames. Now my sister's apartment is beautifully decorated! Open yourself up to all the possibilities and all sorts of amazingness will come.

10. Know when to call it a day:
If your feet are achey and you can feel the grump coming on, get yourself to the checkout register, you're experiencing thrift overload.

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