Thrifting 101

I have been thrifting for different things on and off for the last 15 years. During that time, I have learned a lot about how to thrift wisely to get the most out of my time and money. Prince Charming once said to me that he didn’t understand how I could really showcase my personality with my decorating. After shopping with me for a bit, he has figured out that it’s by careful selection and knowing what I like. Everything I own has a story attached to it, and I love telling anyone who visits the castle and asks about it. I know how to thrift well, and here are the things I have learned.

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  1. Find your favorite thrift stores. First, I recommend that you research all the thrift stores in your area. Resources like a thrift store directory are very handy. Once you have the list of all the stores in your area, go check them out. Pay attention to the selection, organization, and pricing. You want to be able to find stuff you like at the prices you are willing to pay. Go to each one a few times to get a real feel for the store before you decide if it’s the right store for you. When you’ve checked out all the shops, pick two or three that will be “your” thrift stores.

  2. Regularly go. I have two thrift stores that I hit once a week on Thursday. It gives me something to look forward to, and I don’t feel rushed or stressed out going to all the stores in town. If you go more than once a week, you run the risk of buying too much stuff that will just stress you out in the long term.

  3. Have a budget. I go thrift shopping once a week, and I try not to spend over $10. That is the amount that works for me. You might want to spend more or less every week. I don’t force myself to spend all of the money every week, but I try not to go over that amount. I have gone over a couple times, but only when I find something that I have wanted for years and years and then I usually try not to go over more than a couple dollars.

  4. Have a flinch point. For small items, I prefer to spend $2 or less. For furniture, I refuse to go over $100. Knowing what prices I like to stay under lets me weed out anything that I think is overpriced. Anything over my preferred prices gets checked out thoroughly, and I think long and hard before parting with my money.

  5. Don’t buy things you don’t love. Make sure that every item is something that you truly love and that you know where you want to put it or use it or where and with what you will wear it. You want items that will work with what you already have to make your life cohesive. Don’t feel bad if you walk out of a thrift store without purchasing something, you just didn’t find the right thing for you that day.

  6. Bring someone along. I like to go thrifting with Prince Charming. That way I pick up the stuff that I love from the shelves, and he can veto items he doesn’t like. Doing this has enabled us to have stuff in our castle that we both love.

  7. Have a wish list. Know the kind of things that you are looking for. I am always on the hunt for Crazy Daisy Pyrex, Spring Blossom Corelle, busts, and vintage odds and ends that fit my color scheme. I also have a wish list of items that I would like to find while thrifting. This keeps you looking for the stuff you actually want so you don’t get overwhelmed by all the stock.

  8. When shopping for clothes, know your sizes. I read a lot of lists that tell me to look outside my size, but I find that a waste of time. I like when thrift stores have their clothing racks organized by size so that I can see if they have anything will fit me and my taste, or not.

  9. Try stuff on. All of the thrift stores I regularly shop at have dressing rooms. You need to make sure the item you found fits you so that you don’t waste your money on something that doesn’t fit. It takes a little more time to try the garments on but that way you don’t waste money on items you can’t return.

  10. Read the labels. Check the brands of the items you picked out. A $5 dress that was originally from Walmart isn’t as good of a buy as a $5 dress from Macy’s. If you don’t know the brand, look it up to see how good of a deal you are getting. Also, check the fiber content and washing instructions. A $5 dress isn’t that good of a buy if you have to shell out all the time to get it dry cleaned. Also, don’t buy polyester. Just don’t do it.

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These are the tips I use to keep my thrift shopping on track. If you have any tips to add, feel free to leave them in the comments. Happy thrifting!

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One thought on “Thrifting 101

  1. Really good list. I’d add just one thing, examine your find thoroughly before you purchase, test anything electrical, even things that a bagged need to be inspected, I always ask if I can open the bag and have never been told no.

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