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Melanie’s Thrifting Tips

August 23, 2010

Thrifting trips are always so exciting to me. There are so many different departments to shop, and so many bargains!

I took a trip to Goodwill last week and walked away with two tops ($4 each: one casual, one for work), two belts ($3 each), mixing bowls (2 for $4) and a faux plant ($6) for the apartment. These prizes are pictured below, as well as my cat, Jozy, who wanted to say hi.

Because thrift stores tend to be such a conglomerate, it’s easy to get distracted.

During my recent trip, I was thinking along the way about important tips to keep in mind when thrifting, so I thought I’d share my advice here:

  1. Dress comfortably. Especially if you’re going to be shopping for clothes, dress in something that makes sense for fitting rooms. Something that’s easy to get on and off. And if you’re going to be shopping for tops, I recommend wearing pants or shorts (rather than a dress), so you have something to try them on with. Shoes should be easy to slip on and off.
  2. Hit clothes first. Sometimes I go to the thrift store with the intention of shopping for home decor, but I also want to look through clothes. But if you do score some new stuff for your home, you don’t want to be carting it around while digging through clothes and then trying them on.
  3. Respect territory, but move quickly. It’s important to go into a thrifting trip with an “If it’s meant to be” attitude. Don’t get bogged down by the massive quantity of choices available. Pick a rack, and make your way down it quickly. You don’t have to closely examine every piece. If something doesn’t strike your fancy, move on. And if you see someone else making their way down a rack, don’t go right in front of them – especially if you’re going to move slowly. (This seems to happen to me all the time.) If this happens to you, go to a different rack and come back later.
  4. Try it on! I know it’s a pain, but with so many brands, sizes mean almost nothing. Even if you’re at a store without fitting rooms, know this ahead of time so you can dress accordingly.
  5. Stay focused. If you don’t love something when you first see it on, chances are you’ll like it even less when you get home. Just because something is cheap doesn’t mean you should buy it if you’re not going to wear it. If you don’t love it move on. I like to move by department, for example: tops, dresses, skirts, pants/shorts, shoes, belts/scarves, bags/accessories, misc. home decor/other.

What tips do you have for thrifting?

Because I couldn’t get enough (and I might have a problem), I also visited Plato’s Closet over the weekend. I went with the intent purpose of only shopping for a purse and some costume jewelry. I got sucked into shoes too, but at least I managed to avoid clothes!

I’m very happy with my finds though: Brown short, flat boots ($6), silver flats ($6), purse ($10), long, red necklace ($2, Go Dawgs!), yellow/floral bracelet ($1), white and salmon beaded bracelets (2 for $2).

Now, other than a few things I want for the fall (including a couple of blazers), I’m putting myself on a shopping diet. Must. Stop. Spending. Money. So stay tuned for my serious attempts to rework what I already have!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Jenny permalink*
    August 23, 2010 2:43 pm

    “And if you see someone else making their way down a rack, don’t go right in front of them – especially if you’re going to move slowly. (This seems to happen to me all the time.)”

    I HATE when people do this! Get out of my way, people!

  2. Katy permalink*
    August 23, 2010 4:37 pm

    I think I have made the decision that I want to do most of my shopping from now on a thrift stores, not just for the sake of this blog and my wallet, but just because I am so sick of a lot of the stuff I have been seeing in stores lately. Nothing really seems all that special to me, and I love the idea of finding some cute things a) for cheaper and b) that are unique. All of the stuff that I have purchased from thrift stores (including our trip in ATL and some Etsy experiences) have become some of my favorite pieces. I want to treat myself to some stuff for back to school so I might head to either Goodwill or the Salvation Army in the next few days.

  3. August 24, 2010 3:11 pm

    Great tips, and great finds as well! I especially like the embellishment on the dark blue top.


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