Monday, February 27, 2006

The Art of Thrifting?

A few people have asked about thrifting so I thought I'd do a post on it. I had no idea I had so many thrifting "rules" in my head until I started thinking to write this. I'll try to give a condensed edition and not the full contents of my messy head.

My grandmother and mother were/are thrifters for as long as I can remember. My mom and I used to go to a few flea markets and her favorite thrift store every weekend. I hated it. I dragged my feet and hung my head. And whined. I was so bored and I wanted NEW things, not thrift store things. I was also scared someone I knew would see me at a thrift store!!!Oh, the horror! I would hide in the clothing racks if I did see someone. It did not matter that they were there too! Ah well, I was a silly kid. When I reached my teenage years and got a job and bought most of my own clothing well, then thrifting started looking good to me. On my weekends off from work and school I would go to a couple stores looking for neat bedroom things and clothes. I grew up, went to college got married, got a job, had my daughter and during all that time I rarely had the time or energy to go at all.

Fast forward. When I was pregnant and quit my job, I started going again looking for baby goodies and nesting things. Keely was born and up until the last six months she has NOT been very cooperative in my thrifting endeavors. I had about a half hour to go to one store and get out of there before she started crying and being miserable. The good thing is that it trained me to look fast! So , here are my speed thrifting tips. Someone else recently posted their thrifting tips, but I can't remember who.

Present day. We usually go once a week to one or two thrift stores. Here's what I've found-

1. Go to all the thrift stores in your area that you think you could frequent. Check out their selection. Different stores do tend to have a different supply of stuff. Some stores are great for furniture and others are great for kid toys. Decide what you are interested in and looking for and then find the store that has the most of it. I used to think high-income neighborhood close to a thrift store would be mean good stuff at that thrift store. This is not always true. Most stores have trucks that go to all neighborhoods and do pick-ups and all stores take donations from anyone/anywhere. My favorite store is not in a nice part of town, but I get the best stuff there.

2. All the stores around here have markdown days. If an item stays past a week they mark it down. Usually items stay for 3 weeks(=3 markdowns) before they throw them out. So if you see something you like but it costs too much, you could get lucky next week...or it could be gone. Risky! 8-) Live dangerously. Some stores have special days also. EX. All yellow tags are 50% off on Tuesday.

3. Some stores are dumpy, scary, sad, and down right depressing. I do not go to those. It should be fun to thrift. Not make you want to jump off a cliff.

4. Some weeks you will not find anything at all. That is why you have to go at least once a week.

5. Try not to buy something you don't really love, need, or have a great use for just because it is cheap. You will have a house filled with junk and that is never good. Be selective.

6. Know the layout of the store.

7. Weekends are very crowded. The beginning of the week is usually not good because they have been wiped out over the weekend. The end of the week is where I have the most luck-Thurs/Fri.

8. Go looking for specific things each week (unless you have endless hours to wander), that way you don't try to look at every section of the store and end up with a cart full of stuff and spend way too much money. EX. This week focus on dishes and fabric, and try to overlook all the other stuff that says, "Take me home. You know you want to."

9. Be open minded. Think of the possibilities. If something is perfect, but looks dirty or is an ugly color don't let that stop you. Meet my friends spraypaint and bleach! Want fabric? Don't just look at the fabric section go to the sheets, curtains, baby blankets, even clothes that have nice patterns.

10. Personal Pet Peeve: Please do not let your child put anything in their mouth at a thrift stores. This makes me gag! I see this all the time. Seriously, ew. When you bring everything home. Bleach and/or boil everything that can stand-up to this and wash everything else in the laundry. Most stores have to "sanitize" their goods by law, but you never know. And then go wash your hands. I have sanitizing wipes in the car to use as soon as were out of the store, but that may be taking it a bit to far. Can we say, "FREAK!" ?

O.k that's it for today. I hope this is useful to those of you who asked. I have more to say, but no more time to write it now. 8-) Is this the longest post ever?! Ah!


Blogger capello said...

Good rules.

Growing up, my dad and I would go to the swap meet at an old drive-in theater on the weekends. I use to love those, and still do. You can find all sorts of fabulous stuff there.. and since its like a HUGE garage sale, there's always new stuff and the early bird catches the worm!

10:19 PM  
Blogger Kim Carney said...

I did the same when my mother took me to thrift stores as a child. Of course I shopped there in college, bought the best men's wool trousers for 10 cents! I had dozens of them.

To find the good stuff I have to go almost daily but I really just got sick of doing it so much. Plus now, it is such a hot spot to shop that I don't find much there, that and Ebay has ruined thrift stores.

I hardly ever shop for clothes anymore. I find once I start looking and poking around it takes too much time and not that good selection. BUT the one thing I do is SMELL UNDER THE ARMS if I ever buy a sweater or shirt. LOL

12:33 AM  
Anonymous PoppaDon said...

Great suggestions! Thanks.

6:59 AM  
Anonymous Anna said...

Ahhh, thrifting, the possibilities are endless, hey? Thanks for sharing your tips. You're bang on with the Thursday/Friday thing--hands-down best time to go.

10:21 AM  
Blogger colorfool said...

Thanks so much for the input and sharing. It was nice to read it all.

2:22 PM  

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