It's a talent to shop in a thrift store. When I visit one, I make sure I shop alone and I only bring the amount I want to spend. With all of those sales, who knows what you can find. Some, you don't even need.
Thrift Shopping the Right Way
Oh how I love a good thrift store. The Goodwill in Seattle was as large as the biggest department store I’ve ever stepped foot in. There were literally aisle upon aisles of merchandise to choose from. The book section was impressive. Everything was organized by genre. Imagine my excitement to find not one, two or three titles I wanted to read but dozens upon dozens.
As a self-proclaimed thrift store junkie, I’ve learned a thing or two throughout the years. Here are some tips that will make your bargain hunting experiences better in 2013:
- Know your local thrift stores. Keep track of which days they offer specials. Make sure to frequent those stores that give the biggest discounts on the best items. Mark these days on a calendar for easy reference.
- Keep a list of sizes with you so you can buy for other people in your family. Include shirt, pant, shoe, and coat sizes so you can pick up these items any time you find them on sale.
- Be willing to dig through bins, search shelves, and shuffle through racks of clothing. The best items are often the ones that are hard to find. Some thrift stores dump all of their goods in bins and make their customers sort through them. Work for your purchase. You never know what kind of gems you’ll excavate at a thrift store.
- Examine everything in detail before purchasing it. Make sure that nothing is ripped, stained or broken. Check closures on clothing. Remove seat cushions off of couches to look for damage. If you find some minor wear, ask the sales clerk to discount the item further so you will purchase it.
- Find things with good “bones” and recreate them into something new. This goes for household objects, furniture, and clothing. My mother just bought a metal horse brindle with the intention of creating a lamp out of it.
- Prepare to shop for hours. You can’t make a fast trip to the thrift store. You’ll be purchasing items in good faith and you’ll only wind up disappointed. Only go when you have the time to really look things over. You’ll be more pleased with the outcome.
- Give away what you no longer need to make room for your new purchases. Donate what you can’t wear or use anymore. This will free up space for the items you plan on taking home with you in the future.
Being a good thrift store shopper requires skill. Read and practice these tips and you’ll be well on your way to becoming an expert in no time.
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Filed Under: Personal Finance
About the Author: Charissa Arsaoui is a freelance writer with a love for thrift. You can read about her adventures by visiting her blog, Confessions of a Closet Coupon Clipper.
Charissa,I'd also suggest shopping according to the calendar. In the summer, you'll likely find a bunch of stuff for the winter and vice versa. I'm in a college town, so I know that thrift shops get flooded with goodies in December and May, when students graduate. When school is in session, the thrift shops are picked over by all the budgeting students.
-Christian L. @ Smart Military Money