Friday, March 7, 2014
I am a creature of habit. I watch the same movies. I tend to order the same things when I got out to eat. My daily outfit is always some version of the same thing over and over again: jeans, cardigan, tee/top/tank. I have about 3 different hair styles in rotation. So its no surprise that I have a certain routine when I go shopping. Especially thrift shopping. There are certain things I look at every time and other things I never look at.
Now I am not one of those people that prowls every isle searching for something that looks really old or like it might have some retail value and throwing it into and already overflowing cart. I am just there to find a good deal on clothes, things to furnish my home or some random item that I didn't know I needed.
First things first, no matter if I am looking for something in particular or just casually browsing, I always, always, always get a cart. I need somewhere to put my purse. I just hate lugging a purse around a store, I think I need to make fanny packs cool again. Or I just need to stop carrying one. That's a topic for another day. Back to carts... There is nothing worse than getting half way through the store and realizing your hands are full. And considering how crazy I am it would just upset me that I'd have to through off my normal trek around the store to go and get a cart.
Here's a rundown of what I look for/at when thrifting...
I have found sooo many great books while thrifting. And it has honestly made me turn my nose up at regular priced books. $12.99 for a paper back? I'd rather spend $0.89. Granted you don't always find the newest books or ones that are on your to-read list. But you will find a book that you never know existed or would never have found it you hadn't stumbled upon it in a thrift store and figured "eh, why not". That is how I discovered Tana French's Dublin Murder Squad books and now I'm hooked! It's also a great place to find kid's books. Even though I don't have any children yet, I have already started a library for my future kiddos. The prices are great and you can always find a mix of classic and newer books. Just make sure you look out for missing pages and crayon scribbles! I also sometime peep out the records. i am forever on the hunt for Disney soundtracks on vinyl. I have also found some Johnny Cash and Elvis, and all for only a buck each!
For those of you who have never worked in retail, hardlines is anything that is not clothing, which is usually referred to as softlines. This is one of the few things you learn in retail that actually make sense and is not an acronym. There are sooo many acronyms. Anywho, I usually look through every isle for anything that jumps out at me. Literally. Sometimes its a kid (which means I've reached the end of the isle because I'm usually not paying attention) or other times its things I knock over without even knowing. I have thrifted my entire vintage Pyrex collection, numerous vases, even some pretty snazzy home decor items.
I always take a peek at lamps and shades (all the lamps in our house are thrifted, including my Little Mermaid one!) and picture frames (you can never have too many). Rarely do I truly look at the bedding selection. It's one of the few things I feel weird about thrifting. There's just something about used sheets that no matter how many times I'd wash them I'd still feel dirty knowing that someone else used them. However I have found a few sets of brand new sheet from Target that were a steal. And I have also found a few awesome pillows and recently, a pair of brand new curtains.
Even if I am not in the market for any bigger house items it never hurts to look. That's how we found our amazing $30 dresser-turned-tv-stand (that we still need to sand and stain). We have also found side tables for both the living room and bedroom and recently I found 3 dining room chairs for only $5 a piece! I agree that on a cursory glace most items in thrift store furniture sections look like junk but you really gotta get in there a look. You never know what might be hiding behind that old, stained corduroy couch.
My mood (and how much time I have) usually dictates if I look at clothes. Being a bigger gal its sometimes hard to thrift age appropriate pieces. But there have been a few instances where I have been pleasantly surprised. Over the last year I've found some choice items including a few cardigans and sweaters, some jeans, an awesome black skirt that I still haven't worn and a few other misc tops. And while I usually strike out on shoes (my size 10 feet don't help), the last few weeks have been pretty good in the shoe department. Target must be switching over product because I have found 3 pairs of brand new flats. I also usually browse the purses. Most of the time there is nothing that even resembles something I would wear. But I have found a couple that I couldn't help throwing in my cart. And few other that I wish I had.
Understanding that you are not going to find something every time you thrift is a big part of continuing to go. Some people get immediately discouraged if they don't find a great vintage piece or the perfect coffee table on their first run. I used to go thrift store shopping every week and it really helped me score some great pieces. The above pic was from one such trip and everything came up to less than $20! It also helps that are 2 different stores that I drive by on my way home from work. Going often and on different days (especially on weekdays when there is less traffic) also increases your chances of scoring a great find. Also remember that a little paint and some creativity can go a long way to making a so-so find into something you really love. Happy thrifting!!