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May 19 2014

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Thrift Shop 101: What you are missing out on if you don’t shop at thrift stores

thrift shopsI love shopping at thrift stores. I never know what I will find but I know that there are bargains abound. Thrift stores carry everything from home décor, home appliances, clothing, jewelry, linens, hardware, crafting supplies, toys, and recreation equipment. If you aren’t a veteran thrift store shopper, it can be overwhelming or have a negative connotation, but it is a smart and fun way to shop.

Why shopping at thrift stores is a great thing:

  • CHARITY- Many thrift stores benefit a charity, like a local SPCA or Hospice program. It’s a great way to support these organizations (and justify your thrift store habit, like I do).
  • SALES- Did you know that many thrift stores have sales!? Yes, cheap just got cheaper! Many thrift stores have different colored price tags and choose a color each week to be 50% off. On most major holidays, Goodwill stores are 50% the entire store!
  • TIME SAVER- It is not as time consuming as one might think. Yes, there might be a lot to look through. However, how frustrated are you when you find a shirt or pair of jeans at a store, only to find they don’t have your size? Here you have dozens of brands all sorted by size. It’s like visiting 20 stores in one stop.
  • BRAND NAMES- If brand names are important to you, you’re in luck. On my last trip to Goodwill I found two smaller Coach purses for $6.99 each. I recently just bought Roxy and Volcom shorts for $4.99 each. For $4.99 I bought a skirt made by Porridge, a brand that is carried at Anthropologie. I also find a good selection of clothes from Old Navy, Express, Justice for girls, and other popular stores like Ann Taylor. My two favorite pair of jeans, one from Express and one by Citizens of Humanity were both under $10 from thrift stores.
  • CLOTHING FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY- Even if the brand names aren’t what you are looking at, you will be pleased to find clothing for the whole family. Babies wear their clothes for such a short amount of time you can get practically new items for a fraction of their full price cost. A great find of mine was a soccer jersey and a basketball jersey for our local recreation leagues for my kids. I spent $1.50 on each of them, versus the $30 the league would have charged me.
  • TOYS- Do you have a child begging for that Barbie airplane or Polly Pocket cruise ship? I’ve seen both, in multiples, for around $5.00. Toy aisles are worth checking out. Hard plastics can be sterilized; cloth toys can be thrown in the washing machine. And you could make your child’s dream come true without going broke.
  • COSTUMES- Thrift stores are an amazing opportunity to find costumes. For under $10 I have put together costumes for Popeye and Olive Oyl, a zombie bride, an Indian, a cowboy, a billy goat, just to name a few. Not only will you find actual costumes in thrift stores around Halloween time, but there are plenty of formal dresses, plaid shirts, leather pants, etc. to pull together any costume you can imagine. And for a fraction of what costume stores will charge you.
  • HOLIDAY DECOR- I recently saw a couple of 20-somethings who were planning a Roman-themed party buying all sorts of pillows with fringe and curtains to hang as decorations. For about $50, their party is going to look amazing. Think of using sheets or curtains to add to your party décor, or shopping at a thrift store for holiday decorations. I needed glass mugs for Irish coffee’s at a Christmas party I was throwing and was able to buy ten matching glass mugs with poinsettia’s on them for .50 cents each.
  • BOOKS- If you are an avid reader or have one in your house, you know how frustrating it is to spend $10 on a book, only to have it read in a couple of days. Thrift store books range from about .25 cents to $1.99. When my daughter is flying through five books a week this summer I am going to be grateful for this!
  • CRAFTS- Crafters beware- this could really become an addiction for you. I recently bought dresses that were only $1.00 to use the material to make “something.” There are so many times I see a basket, or wreath, or material and think, I could make “xyz.” Thrift stores really are a great place though to find crafting supplies- just try to really have a use for it before you bring it home.
  • FABULOUS FINDS- You might be surprised at what you didn’t know you needed until you go into a thrift store. I have picked up mason jars for .50 cents each, vases for $1.00, an Ikea desk for $10.00, and snow gear for my kids for under $5.00. A few years back I bought my husband a steak platter from Amazon for Father’s Day for $17.00, only to find two at a thrift store weeks later for $1.50 each. Well yes of course I bought those too, but gosh it killed me knowing what full price had cost me.

I could go on (and on and on) about more reasons why I love thrift store shopping, but the best way to convince you is for you to go do it yourself. Set aside a couple hours this weekend and check out your local thrift stores. I think you will be amazed at your finds. Then let me know how it goes!

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