I started shopping thrift stores since the age of 18.  Once I left home, and needed to furnish my apartment, and thrift stores allowed me to get the best furniture within a budget.  Fast forward about 20 years later, I still enjoy looking for bargains.  After years of looking at hundreds of thrift stores in several major cities, I bring to you a guide, compiling the best tips from seasoned pro’s on what to buy, and what not to buy from around the net.

According to the Social Security Administration, 40 percent of all workers in the United States make less than $20,000 a year, while another survey suggests that  76 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.  At this point, one out of every four American workers has a job that pays $10 an hour or less.

If you could shop for less, why wouldn’t you?

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Here are a couple key points to keep in mind if you are new to thrifting…..

– Shopping second hand keeps the money in the local community.  Shopping at big box stores, the profits are often used to fund overseas workers, rather than American jobs.

– People Who Donate To Thrift Stores Save Landfills- If you don’t recycle, shame on you!  Plastic, that often gets used once, such as grocery packaging, often gets dumped into the landfill, if it isn’t recycled.  If you live in the city, chances are you will never see what your local landfill looks like.  Living in the country, on the other hand, I see bags of garbage being put into the ground and covered up with dirt.  After seeing that, any sound person would take a second look at what is being thrown into the garbage.  Use sites like free-cycle, as often times there is someone out there which has a use for your junk.

-Shopping second hand allows you to purchase vintage.  Have you ever compared a vintage winter pea coat to a modern one? Vintage coats often contain thicker wool, than the modern coats.  Some of goods produced today have sacrificed quality, and are made for the sole benefit of profit only.  Buying second hand, allows you to sift through the vintage furniture, clothing and accessories which is made better.

-Scoring finds that cost next to nothing is thrilling!  – Scouring flea markets and rummage sales can be more exciting than working through your run of the mill department store, where we have all been past the towel section thousands of times.  When you discover that have-to-have item at a shocking price, it can be exhilarating. In this way, second-hand shopping can be far more interesting than retail shopping could never be.

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Here are my tips, for thrifting……

A.  Don’t base your thrifting experience from one town, or one store.  Lets face it, some thrift stores aren’t worth a second visit, while others you may want to check more on a consistent basis. If you live in a small town, chances are, your thrift stores aren’t great.  Go to the bigger cities like LA, DC, and New York, and you may find dozens of high end labels.  Look through the net, and list out thrift stores by area, and visit them, and then make a list of the ones that are worth a second trip.  Affluent neighborhoods are going to have items you won’t see in your average thrift stores.  You might be able to locate brand name bags, sunglasses, and accessories, which might make it worth the while to check out.  Decide for yourself if thrift shopping is worth your while.  Sometimes it is not.  You may be better off just going to Ross Dress For Less, Winners, TJ Maxx, HomeGoods/HomeSense, or Marshalls which you can find new at a big price break.

B. Know When The Sales Are- Some stores have 50% off on particular days throughout the week.  Schedule your trips on those days, rather than the days which are full price.  Arrive early in the morning than through out the day.  That unexpected find might be even lower than normal.

1.  Books Are Valuable No Matter Where They Are-  You may shop thrift stores to re-sell merchandise, or you may just shop for yourself, either way, books are a great buy.  You’re guaranteed to find a book on a subject you like to read about for nearly half the price as a brand new one from a bookstore.  Most thrift stores sell their books between the 50 cent to 3 dollar mark.

2.  Antique Tools Can Be Like Gold –When it comes to a circular saws, drills or larger tools, buy them brand new.  Simple handheld tools can be bought second hand, and some of the older tools are worth the buy. In a select few thrift stores in Virginia they had a hardware section, which I was able to find cabinet handles, and general hardware for next to nothing.  Who couldn’t use another tape measure, or screwdriver?  If the tools are still in good quality, they should be a good investment through your usage.

3.  Mid Century Is Often Passed Buy  – Unless it is wood, most of our modern furniture is just junk.  Today, it isn’t built to last.  I always suggest first investing in a great solid print sofa, wood bed, table set and chairs, and find the fillers for cheap.  Who couldn’t find a cute side table that could either be stripped or painted at your local thrift store.  Look for antique or vintage furniture on sites like craigslist for those one of a kind buys.  Many people overlook mid-century furniture because they think it has a dated look. Yet, there are dealers who are getting thousands for this style, especially in the major cities.    Check out this post, to see how this style shines with a little bit of paint.  You certainly cannot find this at your local target.

According to The Charlotte Observer, a woman from North Carolina unwittingly bought “Vertical Diamond,” an abstract painting by Russian-born and New York-based artist Ilya Bolotowsky valued at $15,000-$20,000 by Sotheby’s, for the bargain price of $9.99. She bought the paintings for the canvas, hoping to paint over the art.

4.  Kids Clothing Can Save You Thousands Used – Baby and kids clothes are ideal second hand, and they are often sold really cheap.  Babies grow up faster than you could possibly imagine, so don’t spend tons of money on designer clothing while they are still rapidly growing.  Gently worn clothing will save you loads!

5.  White Tableware Is Far More Interesting When You Mix and Match- I love to look through the kitchen department at thrift stores.  Consider keeping an eye out for white tableware.  It is easy to create a collection when everything matches. Keep your eyes open on those larger white salad bowls, turkey platters, and presentation tableware.  Every once in a while you might find gold plated glass rimmed cups, and cutlery.  Go for collections featuring colored glass.

8. Solid Silverware- Most of us don’t even check the cutlery, and chances are it will be a very slim bet you will ever come across solid silver in a thrift store.  Through the 80’s and 90’s when thrift stores were bringing in more goods than they had the man power, I am sure the solid silver went out on the floor, but today it doesn’t because it is too valuable.  I didn’t look for this myself, until I ran across a man who was investigating the stamps found on the forks and knives, looking for the metal content.  I am pretty sorry that I never paid attention to this before, now that I see silver at the prices they are today, I wished this was something I knew before.

“Solid silver (or sterling silver) is made from 92.5 percent silver with 7.5 percent copper for added strength. This is expressed by the decimal .925 or the number 925, and should be found stamped on the actual cutlery piece. Solid silver occasionally carries a layer of 99.99 percent silver plating on the outside that is known as ‘flashing’. Antique solid silver cutlery will be stamped with hallmark that indicates is purity and adherence to the sterling standard of quality. In pieces that were created in England, this symbol is typically the lion passant.” Ebay

  • The following list outlines a few popular solid silver cutlery manufactures- Gorham, Calegaro, International Sterling,Kirk Stieff, Lunt, Reed And Barton, Ricci Argentieri, Towle, Tuttle Sterling, Wallace

9.  Get French Copper Posts For Less- Copper pots are one of those really nice scores in thrift stores. You can buy complete sets on Amazon from $300 and up, depending on the brand.  Why not collect your own set?  Collect a set and resell it on ebay.  Copper is copper, and likely from one pot to the next, it will look like a matching set.  I have pots priced at low as $30 dollars in the thrift stores.

10. Music- Why Pay A Dollar Per Song, When You Can Buy A CD for $1 Dollar?  My husband doesn’t thrift shop, but the times that I drag him into the store, he carefully looks through the music selection.  If you get a CD for a couple dollars, measure it’s worth by the songs listed.  They can be then downloaded on to your ipod, and donated again.  You can easily build a music collection by buying music second hand.

11. Lamps and Drapes- French pleated drapery sells for $300 per panel, so why not buy it second hand?  There was a thrift store outside Merrifield, Virginia, where they would sell rows of drapes, and when the sale day came about once per week, you could spot the sellers who would buy them up and re-sell them on ebay.  Plain drapery is expensive.  French pleated drapery is considered the best of the best, so keep your eye on plain drapes which could work in any room.  French styled lamps are also a fantastic find at thrift stores.  All you need is a new drum lampshade, and new electrical cords to update these vintage finds. Alabaster Lamps, and Neoclassical Lamps are styles are great pieces to invest in.

12.  Watch For Clothing Content Tags- Silk garments need to be professionally dry cleaned.  If you don’t dry clean your clothing, it is best that you don’t buy the item.  In addition, sweaters can be a tricky buy.  If the sweater is made of cotton or wool, washing it in hot water and putting it in the dryer will shrink it. If it’s made of synthetic fabric – like polyester, it won’t shrink.   Putting a 100% wool sweater in the washer will shrink way more than you have ever expected, so much, a two year old might be able to wear that extra large you bought for yourself.  Wool shrinks a LOT, Cotton can shrink quite a bit as well.

  • Care For Your Cashmere Sweaters by not wearing the same sweater more than once in a four/five day period. Let your deodorant dry before putting on your sweater.  Wash cashmere in the sink, using cold water, NEVER ever hot water, as it will cause your sweaters to shrink.  Use hair shampoo to clean cashmere, as after all, it is goat hair.  Drain the sink and rinse with the same temperature of water that you used for washing. DO NOT wring or twist, but rather lump it into a ball and press out the water between your hands. Lay out your semi-wet sweater onto a towel and roll it up.
  • Launder cotton sweaters in the washing machine on the gentle cycle in cold water. Lay your sweater flat on a drying screen or on top of your dryer to dry it; hanging may cause stretching.

“Bought an XL size, soft wool sweater made by Clairborne and it fit PERFECT. But I needed to clean all the clothes I bought, and without thinking I tossed the clothes and the wool sweater into the wash and then the dryer. Now I have a soft wool sweater that is a size small, even though the tag says XL.”

13.  Look At The Racks At The Back Of The Store- Often times, the best stuff is the merchandise that hasn’t been put away yet, or is rejected at the fitting rooms.  Often times these pieces are the best in the store, and are often rejected because they simply didn’t fit in one way or another.

15.  Some Stores Give You A Discount For Donations – A certain store outside Seattle gave their customers a 20% off discount when they donated an item.  So what I often did, when I made a special trip to this store, was collect all my donations and give them prior to shopping.  I cannot remember what the discount was, but it made a big impact at the cash register.  Ask, to see if there are any rewards programs.  It sounds quite silly, I know.  One thrift store offered 10 dollars off, of XX money spent in the store.  It can add up.

16.  Outlets and Auctions- If you live in a big city in the United States, consider looking into if your area has a Goodwill outlet.  These are worth going to.  Thrift store “chains” like Goodwill have outlets where all the reject items from the main stores are sent before being sent overseas.  I attended the one in Seattle, and it is set up much different than your regular thrift store.  Large warehouses show several rows of large bins stacked up in lines.  Items such as shoes are piled into  large bins, (6 foot by 4 foot) containers which you have to dig though.  Clothing is in another, electronics, and housewares in another.  The prices are based on the POUND.  So you can pick up a bag of clothes for 5 dollars.  People in these locations are often pickers, for ebay, or stores, so as soon as a bin is freshly brought out from the back, people can get really nasty, grabbing, and going through the bins in a fast pace to get the best merchandise first.  You would think these sort of stores contain just the worst of the worst, but in fact, my best finds have been from these locations.  Just the handful of times I attended, I found best finds in these locations.

Salvation Army also has auction locations.  They have the same sort of system as Goodwill does.  They dump everything into large bins, but the difference is you bid on the bins, and the winner takes the entire load.  It may not work like this in every location.  In the location I was at, it was a large warehouse, half furniture, half bins.  It really depends on location.  Some locations have large warehouses, and some which are not worth going to. Basically at 10 am, you sign in, and get a number, and you bid with this number, like a regular auction.  You can easily make a profitable business of their reject items.  Often times, their regular stores are small, and they can only hold it for a certain amount of time.  They price it high, and if it doesn’t sell, it gets shipped off to these locations.  Sadly, if these auctions aren’t well known, a lot of the times, the furniture goes to the dump.  They sell bins of toys, houseware, picture frames, fridges and stoves.  Some of the best finds are when you are able to buy a bin (6ft, by 4 ft) full of pictures.  It is a secret that many people don’t know about, and an easy way to start a business.

Thrifting 101

Expert Opinions

Professional-Advice-She-or-He-Says– Hilary from Pulling Curls gives her suggestions when shopping at Goodwill for her daughter.  She keeps it simple by sticking to  labels, but because name brands actually hold up better in most cases.  Her top tier labels are: Gymboree,Hannah Anderson, H&M,Gap,Lands End and Pumpkin Patch.  She also suggests Crazy 8, Old Navy, Carters, and Jumping Bean (from Kohls).

Hilary also suggests collecting the next 3 sizes (and no higher). This allows her to really pick the BEST items of clothing out there.

Hilary’s top three tips for shopping for kids clothes at Goodwill:

1.  Shop the wrong season, you get the best deals on clothing.
2.  Go every other week, and try to arrange your shopping trip with the scheduled 50% off days.
3.  Take inventory of what you need, so you don’t over-buy.

– Clean Small Toys In A Laundry Bag- While this may not work with the newer machines, it certainly is a fantastic tip for the older style washing machines.  Simply toss legos and other toys in a laundry bag, and throw them in the washing machine.  They also suggest the dishwasher- see a picture here

Professional-Advice-She-or-He-SaysEbay Seller camochique puts together a list of her best tips when shopping stores for the sole purpose of re-selling items on ebay.  Check out her best tips from this article.

– Get To Know The Best Places To Shop From In Your Area ” I like Goodwill, Goodwill Outlet, Village Discount Outlet, and Unique Thrift in the Chicagoland area.  Ross “Clothes for Less” is not a resale but a discounted outlet store that I have seen many ebay users resell from.  (As they leave the Ross tags on them when I purchase them!)  Ross clearance prices are often like Goodwill “better garments” prices”

-Before Checking Out, PAUSE, and Look Up Pricing On Your Smart Phone- “If you have a smartphone, before you purchase it (after its in your cart) look up the item to see what it is worth.  I can’t tell you how many times I would come home with a bag full of “great deals to sell” only to discover that there were numerous other people selling them, some selling them for what I paid at a resale shop!  Check on Amazon, Ebay, google to see what a comparable item is going for before you actually decide to purchase it.”

“How much can I make on this?”  If its a $5 pair of jeans you can only sell for $9.99 plus shipping, after ebay and paypal fees you may end up with a $2-$3 profit for all your work.  If you can’t make enough, put it back. I usually try to buy something that will list competitively for 3-5X the cost I paid”

-Re-sell What You Know Best“Purchase items you are knowledgeable about.  I am a plus sized woman and now sell mostly plus sized clothing.  I tried selling teen clothing I found at thrift stores but most teens like to go to the mall, and the styles were usually outdated and I ended up giving them away or donating them back to the place I purchased them “

– Buy Only Next To Perfect Items“Things that are MIB  (mint in box) or MWT  (mint with tag) sell much better”

– Buy Higher End Brands “I have found that discount stores like Kmart, Walmart, etc. don’t sell well for me on ebay, even if new with tags. “

-When It Comes To Clothes, Measurements Matter A Lot – ”  If the size 12 you are listing has a 28″ waist, it won’t fit a modern size 12!  I put in my listing and often my title:  tag size 12 – fits like size 6 – waist 28″.

 – Put Some Thought Into Packing For Return Customers, and High Ratings- “People love it if you use tissue paper.  I use tissue paper and shirt bags I purchase from U-Line.  You can use free shipping supplies if you ship priority mail by using the Priority Mail tyvek envelopes as shirt bags and putting them inside a box or priority mail envelope. “

Professional-Advice-She-or-He-SaysSammy Davis Vintage wrote a fantastic article on her best thrifting secrets.  “34 Tips on How to Thrift Store Shop”  Here are some of the tips I found most helpful

Set Spending Limits – “Before even stepping foot in a thrift store, I decide how much money I’m willing to spend that day. My limit is typically $20 per store, so if I’m visiting 3 separate stores then I shouldn’t be spending more than $60 total”

Re-Sell Your Best Finds –” Inspire others with your stylish scores by using your personal Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram account to share photos of what you found. Share either 1.) a photo of a find on the hanger or 2.) a photo of a find you’re wearing in the fitting room itself or 3.) a “tease” shot of the piece’s print or other interesting aspect. Video If you want to sell your thrifted pieces, start a YouTube channel where you can upload videos talking about your thrifted pieces available for sale.”

–  Brand Labels – “ If the design of a brand’s tag  feels foreign to you, check to see if its listed in the Vintage Fashion Guild’s Label Resource

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In the article “14 Things You Should Buy Used” here– they mention Sports and Exercise Gear

“Everybody wants to get fit, but few make the time to do it. That means many people have exercise gear they want to unload cheap or even free on sites such as eBay and Freecycle. There are also stores that specialize in used gear, such as Play It Again Sports.

Weights can’t go bad, although you’ll want to test things like treadmills and other more complex equipment. Bicycle helmets are one thing you should buy new for safety reasons. But otherwise, why not buy used?

 

Professional-Advice-She-or-He-SaysElizabeth L. Cline got a one of a kind look into what happens when clothing is dropped off at the The Quincy Street Salvation Army, the main distribution center serving eight Salva­tion Army locations in Brooklyn and Queens.

She said that dozens of Hispanic women were standing behind a row of wooden slides, pulling clothes out of elephantine gray bins and separating them into broad categories like jackets, pants, and childrenswear. They only keep the best.  In a single day they processes an average of five tons of outcast clothing and sorters choose exactly 11,200 garments a day to be divided up equally between the eight thrift stores they serve.

“Garments that make it into the Salvation Army thrift stores have exactly one month to sell. Then, they’re pulled from their hangers, tossed in bins, and end up back in a room such as this one.In the rag-cut room, two men were silently pushing T-shirts, dresses, and every other manner of apparel into a compressor that works like the back of a garbage truck, squeezing out neat cubes of rejected clothing that weigh a half ton each”

“The Quincy Street Salvation Army builds a completed wall made of 18 tons, or 36 bales, of unwanted clothing every three days.”

“Most Americans are thoroughly convinced there is another person in their direct vicinity who truly needs and wants our unwanted clothes. This couldn’t be further from the truth.”

“Most of our donated clothing does not end up in vintage shops, as car-seat stuffing, or as an industrial wiping rag. It is sold over­seas. After the prized vintage is plucked out and the outcasts are sent to the fiber and wiping rag companies, the remaining clothing is sorted, shrink-wrapped, tied up, baled, and sold to used-clothing ven­dors around the world.”  Excerpted from Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion on Amazon

Professional-Advice-She-or-He-Says wrote an article “17 Things You Should Never Buy Secondhand” for Business Insider giving her best 17 tips of things not to buy used.  While she mentions some very obvious things like cribs, hats, and shoes, here are a few of her tips, I wouldn’t have thought about….

-NO NO to Blenders “Blenders require their blades to be super sharp to be functioning at their best. If you buy one secondhand, it might take longer for the duller parts to puree the berries and bananas going into your smoothie.”

– No NO to Camera Lenses “A tiny scratch on a used lens could wreck your next photo shoot. Lenses are a big investment, so it’s probably wise to spend the money to ensure you’re buying a quality product”

– No NO’s To Vacuums- “Vacuums are one of the most-used appliances and they don’t last forever. If you need something that still has the suction power to clean the dust around your whole house, it might be best to buy a new one yourself”

Professional-Advice-She-or-He-Says writes 12 Thrift Store Shopping Tips from a Pro seen on the Manilla Blog

Know What You Looking For “You don’t have to plunk out tons of cash to stay up on the latest trends. To find out what’s current, browse magazines and window shop to see what’s popular before you go. That way, you can see what’s missing from your wardrobe and shop accordingly. Whether it’s an accessory or a color that’s hot, you’re sure to find ways to implement the latest fashion into your closet at a fraction of the cost”

-If You Like It, Grab It, and Decide Before You Buy- “It only takes a millisecond for someone with a keener eye to come by and snatch something up when you put it down, because you were uncertain of its fashion potential. So I suggest grabbing everything – even the maybes – and decide before you go”

– A Simple Sizing Trick “If there’s no dressing room, improvise. In some thrift stores, there isn’t the luxury of a dressing room, so you have to get a little inventive with checking the fit. For things like pants and skirts, try the age-old neck-to-waist trick. Fasten the closure and wrap the waist around your neck, if you can just pinch the fabric together at the end with your fingers, then you know it works!”

Professional-Advice-She-or-He-SaysVirginia from Life Life DIY, puts together her list of best buys from thrifting from a home decor angle.  Here are some of her tips:

– If You Don’t Need It, Walk Away –It’s super easy to become a hoarder if you thrift a lot. Over time, I’ve pretty much figured out how to avoid those hoarder purchases. If I have to stop and think about an item, I need to walk away. You should only buy the stuff that makes you jump up and down when you find it. Every time I have to pace around and think about something, I end up regretting the purchase later. “

– Hold Out For Pairs Of LampsThrift stores have old lamps everywhere. I think they reproduce after they get there.All you need is a few coats of spray paint and a modern drum shade, and you have a great looking lamp for way less than you would pay for elsewhere. Most of the time, I just find a single lamp by itself. That quickly becomes a hoarder situation, and at one time I had 5 lonely thrift store lamps just waiting for the soulmate that never showed up. These days, I’ve learned to hold out for a pair.”

– Pick Up Blue And White Porcelain “I love to look for blue and white porcelain at thrift stores. Ginger jars are one of my favorite finds. Some are better than others, but every so often I come across a really great looking one. ”

Professional-Advice-She-or-He-SaysTsh from The Art Of Simple Blog, puts together her best tips for thrift store shopping.  Here are the tips I found meaningful

– Buy Quality Brands- “The older I get, the less the inexpensive brands work for me – I wish they did, but Old Navy clothes rarely fit me well.  Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, or Calvin Klein, however, usually fit me like a glove.  Because over 90% of my wardrobe comes from thrift stores, I can afford these quality brands.  You’d be surprised the amount of well-made, expensive clothing is hiding in thrift shops, just waiting to found. You have to dig for it, but it’s there.  My kids can wear Baby Gap and Gymboree, thanks to thrift stores.”

– Ask For Something You Are Looking For – “If you’re in the market for a very specific item, and you’ve been returning to the store for several weeks in search of it, it wouldn’t hurt to ask an employee to keep their eye out for it.  You can’t expect them to bend over backwards, because thrift stores usually have piles of items that come in unexpectedly.  But if you let them know you’re looking for a light purple Ralph Lauren wool scarf, and then see one come by, then maybe they’ll remember you”

– Carry Cash-  “Finally, leave your debit card at home.  When you’re armed with cash, you’ll be more selective with your purchases, and will therefore think more level-headedly about the value of items.  When you stick to a budget, then thrift stores are a money-saver.  When you go way over, then you’re buying more than you need – emptying your wallet and filling your closets.  Aim for the opposite”

Professional-Advice-She-or-He-SaysDustin Wax, wrote a piece for Life Hack, where he gives his best tips shopping second hand.  For two years in college, he worked in (and sometimes managed) thrift stores.  Here are just some of his tips…..

Be Nice. “The people who work in thrift stores are, as you can imagine, not usually paid very well. They may not be paid at all, as many thrift stores provide vocational training or rehabilitation services to people on some form of state aid. So be nice to them, just because it’s the right thing to do. If you frequent a particular thrift shop, you may even find that making yourself known and building relationships with the employees pays off with more than just good karma — if you have particular interests or needs, employees will often pull aside things that might interest you, or hold them behind the counter until you can get to the bank to pull out money

Know Your Charity. “Some thrift stores are run for profit, so this doesn’t apply to them; for the rest, knowing who sponsors the store might provide valuable insight into what you’ll find there or incentive to patronize (or not patronize) specific stores. Contrary to popular belief, most thrift stores do not exist to provide cheap goods for the poor — they exist to raise money to support their organization’s missions. Here’s what a few of the major thrift store operators support. Goodwill Industries provides vocational rehabilitation for the disabled. Salvation Army offers shelter, food, job training, and spiritual guidance to the poor. OxFam runs development efforts in Third World nations. Many thrift stores are also run by churches and veterans’ groups; their goals are usually pretty self-evident. The best thrift store I ever visited was run by the Friends of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City — the wall of fur coats was behind the grand piano, near the crystal chandeliers”

Haggle. “I don’t like to say this, because I hated when people bickered over prices with me when I worked in thrift stores. Don’t haggle for the sake of it — chances are you’re already getting a bargain, and stores aren’t under any huge pressure to move any particular item (unsold stock, especially clothes, is often sold to exporters who ship it overseas). But thrift store employees don’t have much to go by in pricing goods for sale, and they make mistakes — if something seems clearly overpriced, ask to speak with a manager (don’t put floor staff in an awkward position) and make a more reasonable offer”

Professional-Advice-She-or-He-SaysTheChicNatural puts together her 10 commandments for thrifting in this great video
 
– Check A Thrift Store Review On Google Reviews under Maps You can get a pretty good idea how good a store might be by checking out the reviews before you head to the location.  In addition, google also provides a feature which lets you know what the store looks like from the street view.  The size of the store can also help you determine if it is worth your while.
 
– Go By Yourself  – Going by yourself allows you to sift through what you are after quickly, and if you don’t find anything your out the door, and on to the next store.  If you go with a friend, chances are, you might rush them, or they might rush you.  Also, you might have the stamina to endure 10 stores, while other people are taped out after three.  This is the case with most husbands; they may work with you for 2 or 3 stops, but after that they are wanting to head in another direction.  Keep the kids at home if you can as well.  It allows you to go into the store, move fast, or take your time in one direction or another without having to entertain anyone.
 
– Re-Purpose With Caution- Everyone who thrifts, ends up hording in some way or another.  If you are like me, you have, or HAD a garage full of potential projects.  In one part of the video, she suggests that if you come across a patterned print that you really love, consider getting it, which could turn into a scarf or a top.  This only works for someone who is quite talented on the sewing machine.  EVEN if you can sew, think about that potential project, and how soon you would get to it.  Often times in the past I would pick up a pair of slacks that weren’t my size, because the price was too irresistible, and did I ever get to fixing them up?  No.  Projects take time to complete, and if you frequent thrift stores often, potential projects can be money pits.
Shopping Goodwill
Goodwill has online auction site for all of USA. Shopgoodwill.com

Professional-Advice-She-or-He-Says Bargain Babe put together her list of 15 tips for successful thrifting…

-Make A Point To Hit The Stores In Between Seasons“Hit up your thrift store as the seasons change; that’s when a lot of people go through their old clothes, sports gear, etc., and make big donations. Just after the first of the year – the deadline for making donations you can write off on your taxes – is a good time, too. If you’re making a donation, here’s how to determine the value of donated items

Shop Goodwill Online -“Yes, it’s true – even Goodwill has joined the 21st century and set up an online auction site. ShopGoodwill has dozens of categories, like works of art, collectibles, and tools. Thrift store shopping without ever leaving my home?”

The Location Makes The Difference- “What’s true in real estate is also true when it comes to thrift store shopping. A thrift shop on the dodgy side of town won’t have the upscale merchandise that you’ll find at a store in a ritzier neighborhood. The Thrift Shopper is my go-to resource for finding charity-driven thrift stores”

Research High-end Brands –“I’ll never forget the day I walked into a thrift store and fell in love with – what I thought was – a great leather handbag. It was in great condition, but I didn’t recognize the name on the tag. I snatched it up anyway, though (it was only $7!), and was thrilled with my purchase… until a few days later, when I made a trip to Target, and realized my bag came from one of the big box store’s house brands. Familiarize yourself with both high- and low-end brands before hitting the racks, so you can be sure you’re getting a great deal (and not a dud, like me)”

Professional-Advice-She-or-He-SaysLiving Well Spending Less wrote a great article on “How To Sell Your Stuff”  They give several good sources to sell your cast aways

– Sell Items In Flat Rate Shipping Boxes On Ebay“I always keep a few medium & large size USPS flat rate boxes on hand (they are free at the post office). Charge the USPS flat rate fee for shipping.  This way there are no questions about shipping and no surprises at the end”

-Sell Things In Groups On Craiglist- “Consider bundling like items.  Selling a lot of toys or clothing is easier and faster than trying to sell them all individually”

-Team Up With A Couple Neighbors Or Girlfriends When Holding A Garage Sale “Join forces-convince some friends or neighbors to join you and hold a multi-family sale.  You’ll get a lot more interest and have an easier time promoting your sale”

 Interesting Comments Found Around the Net…..

-Month To Month, What is On Sale?  – My Frugal Adventures put together an article that listed out the months (January through December and listed out what to expect to find on sale

– Check The Back“Interesting secret. Most thrift stores have an area where they process their clothes, ie check the donations and put prices on them. This area is generally in the back. At the better thrift stores you’ll usually find ebay-ers (those who buy clothes and then resell them on ebay) waiting right outside this area for the new racks of clothes to come out. As soon as the racks of clothes come out from this back area the ebay-ers pounce. So if you want to get the absolutely best deals follow the ebay-ers”

“My sister got this straight from a goodwill employee. He says shop sunday morning between 10 and 12. They announce the color of tag that will be discounted for the week, then they proceed to remove most of that color from the racks. That’s why you don’t find too many of that color but then the next week think “gosh I wish I would have seen this last week when it was 50% off”. Don’t believe it? Go on a sunday morning.” -Mary- Huffington Post

Verify That It’s Vintage– “Look for a union card attached to the inside seam. A union tag is proof that the piece was produced and supported by a clothing union, which existed in the U.S. before the overseas boom of clothing production beginning in the 1980s. They’re usually square and about 1/2-inch-by-1/2-inch; red, white, and blue; and state the name of the union, like “The Ladies Garment Workers Union” and “Made in U.S.A.” If you find a union tag, you’re definitely scoring a vintage piece, which by definition is at least 20 years old. It’s like having a timestamp on your clothing!” From Lemon Drop Blog

-Know How To Spend Your TimeMy entire family shops at thrift stores, but I HATE it. Although I admit to a slight prejudice against thrift store clothing, that’s not my primary reason for refusing to do it. I prefer to drop $50 on a pair of jeans that I know will fit, that I know I’ll like, and that I only have to spend 30 seconds locating versus searching for 30 minutes to find a pair of jeans that I’ll have to convince myself actually fit comfortably.I’m not a clothes horse by any stretch of the imagination, but shopping for new clothing is so much quicker and easier.”

-Get Smart With Technology” Use your smartphone to find thrift stores in your area with an app like ThriftBuddy. Once you’re in the store, you can use your phone to look up brands and models of the items you find to comparison shop and even check for vintage labels”

– Getting To Know A Stores Routine Pays OffOnce you find a store you like, stay loyal to it. Frequent visits will help establish what I call the “thrift cycle.” How often does the staff replenish the merchandise and on what days? Make friends with a staffer. Tell them what sorts of items you’re interested in and ask them to call you if any, say, antique beaded pocketbooks ever show up.” – How Stuff Works

– Be Wise When It Comes To Prices “I’ve noticed in the last couple of years that their prices have gotten outrageous! They always charged quite a bit for any antique furniture donated- which I could sort of understand, but now all furniture prices are high. I used to be able to buy a dresser there for around $60 but now they’re around $150. They do still have the 60% off after 45 days(or something like that). The couches are all $300 or more, even well-used ones. Bric-a-brac has really gotten riduculous-most things over $3 or more. I saw a cheap Christmas plastic food tray- on the bottom was the original Dollar General Price tag for $1, yet they had it priced at $1.99! Most clothing is still priced reasonably but it used to be that all clothing was priced the same, but the nicer pieces they get now are priced at $25 or more. Recently someone obviously donated a large collection of Western Wear, really quality stuff; probably off the estate of someone older who had passed away. Anyway the cowboy hats were $80/hat, cowboy boots $150, etc. They had some old books which had been donated and just one book was priced at $149!.I saw cheap, framed prints (one was identical to one I sold at a garage sale for $1) priced at $25-35. ” here

Advice tips

Thrift Store Resources

Goodwill Store Locator
Salvation Army Store Locator
The Thrift Store Shopping Directory
Thrift Buddy iPhone Application
Etsy iPhone Application
Vintage Fashion Guild Label Resource

Guide To Thrifting - Shopping Second HandGarage Sale Jackpot- Found on judysturman.typepad.com

Thrift Stores

Englishtown Antiques & Used Furniture Store Profile Found on marketplace.apartmenttherapy.com

Guide To Thrifting - Shopping Second Hand

Dishes at Englishtown Antiques, New Jersey Found on apartmenttherapy.com

Little Golden BooksLittle Golden Books – Collectables Found on fbcdn-sphotos-f-a.akamaihd.net

Thrift Store Finds

Found on stylemepretty.com

Guide To Thrifting - Shopping Second Hand

Englishtown Antiques & Used Furniture Found on bennettandcompany.blogspot.com

Thrift Store Gold

Found on umla.tumblr.com

Guide To Thrifting - Shopping Second HandFound on ohhappyday.com

Flea Markets In Paris

Flea Markets in Paris – Found on suchprettythings.typepad.com

Thrift Store GoldFound on chameleonvisual.tumblr.com

Booths, merchandise and scenes from Warrenton, Marburger and Round Top Seen On Curious Sofa Blog Booths, merchandise and scenes from Warrenton, Marburger and Round Top Seen On Curious Sofa Blog 2 Booths, merchandise and scenes from Warrenton, Marburger and Round Top Seen On Curious Sofa Blog 3

Booths, merchandise and scenes from Warrenton, Marburger and Round Top Seen On Curious Sofa Blog

Thrift Store Finds

Found on alittlejunkinmytrunk.blogspot.com

Flea Markets In Paris

Flea Markets in Paris – Found on suchprettythings.typepad.com

George - found at thrift shop

George – found at thrift shop Pinterest

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Comments

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3 COMMENTS

  1. I have a certain Goodwill I go to for high end clothing, appliances and children’s clothing. They have amazing stuff! I find flea markets to be a better bet for accents or decorating. Loved this!

  2. Wow, packed with great info. I haven’t shopped at a thrift in a while, but was just talking with my daughter and friend the other day about how we need to re-think our purchases and maybe start making thrifting part of our routine. I recently needed a table for a fish tank and the stores were so expensive for junk furniture.. I know we could have found a thrift dresser for a fraction of the price and it would have looked nicer too! I especially appreciate the ebay tips.. I’m always looking to not only save $ but ways to increase my income (haven’t had a raise in 4 years!). Looking forward to more posts from you!! 🙂

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