Warning – Super Long Post Ahead! So quite a few of my readers have mentioned how I have a knack for my thrifty finds and I can tell you its a combination of luck and strategy. Here are some rules I try my bestest to follow but as with many rules, what works for me may not be the best strategy for you.
- Keep an open mind. Thrift shopping is the perfect place to try new and unexpected things like picking up an unexpected print or color. Spending a few bucks could help you find a new favorite item or style! Its really a great chance to expand your wardrobe and do so fairly guiltlessly. Also keep in mind that every week is going to vary, you can’t really expect to find tons of awesome items each week so go early and often and your chances of finding the good stuff improve greatly.
- Have a game plan. Decide how much you are willing to spend during your trip, what items are you really looking for (whether its dresses, skirts, or accessories), and how much time can you spend. I always have a routine of how I spend my thifting time. I grab a cart and head straight for the dresses and go through each dress looking for a deal then, i head for the fabric, skirts, shoes and belts and so on then i breeze over the coats and sweaters. There are quite a few area I avoid completely like the pants section. All the mommy jeans just scare me away. If you develop a routine you will probably figure out what areas you want to really pick through and which ones you can just glance over.
- Know your sale days! I remember when I used to truly despise Goodwill because I felt it was soo overpriced. “I mean $10 for a dress at an op-shop what the hey!” but then I saw the light of dollar Thursdays and now Im a regular and am always bragging on that store. Every thrift shop I have been to has some sort of sale day. Goodwill has Dollar Thursdays and every other Saturday is 50% off the whole store. The Salvation Army usually has half off on Wednesdays and so on and so forth. Dont be afraid to ask!
- Don’t pay full price. Many of you probably have the rule of never paying retail but how I manage to get the best deals is to try to never pay full price even at a thrift store. There is always an exception to the rule but you’ll be so proud when you get like 10 dresses for $10 or when you find a skirt you almost paid full price for one week and the next week its just a buck!
- Set a budget. “I’m going spend $20 today” (or whatever you like, I started at $10). It becomes a game to see how much you can buy for $20.
- Look for potential. This can be a pretty hard for some people. My best tip is to look at color and print. I also like when you try an item on like a skirt or dress thats super long try flipping the hem up under the skirt to get an idea what it will look like after you work your magic on it! If you like refashioning then try looking for oversized items that have enough fabric for a new project.
- Try things on or dont(if you are planning to alter). Sizes vary widely between manufacturers and even by eras. But go in knowing your general size and measurements. If you are not planning to alter then for sure try on each piece!! If you are looking to alter clothing then keep an open mind and dont limit yourself to your size section. It’s a good idea to try things on because it can help you determine what kind of sewing needs to be done to get your items up to par. You may want to shop with a friend that will give you an honest opinion or you may work better as your own worst critic like me… I always shop alone, I like to consider myself a lone wolf in the thrifting world haha.
- Examine each item thoroughly. It sucks to get home to find your new shirt has a hole in the pocket or your dress has a broken zipper. Again if you are altering your items then dont be turned off by missing buttons but try to see the opportunity to use some buttons from your stash for example.
- Check washing instructions. You may not want to pay more for dry cleaning an item than the item cost originally.
- If you won’t wear it, don’t buy it. You don’t save money buying a $1 dress if it just sits in your closet for two years. What helps me most with this is taking a few minutes before hitting the check out line and going over whats in my cart. Do I really need this? Will I really wear this?
- Is this worth altering? This is the question to ask yourself. If you are new to sewing dont try to take on too much. Keep your eye out for simple shapes you can nip in at the waist or a long skirt you can hem. These are fairly easy fixes. I avoid trying to alter dresses with darts because it can throw off the whole shape of the item. Try to determine how long it would take you to make this garment into a wardrobe staple. Is it worth it to spend hours altering a dress you may wear once or twice? Probably not.
- Have fun! At a few bucks an item, you can afford to be adventurous sometimes.
Check out TheThriftShopper.com where you can enter your zip at find some new shops in your area. Im going to have to check out a new one tomorrow formt his site!
Have any of you Arizonans been to the Goodwill outlet in the downtown area? Im curious about how it is.
Hope this helps and please share your tips!
Here are some of the items I found this week… Sorry for the awful photo quality. It wasnt my day and there was no chance of good outdoor photos.
So i’ll admit I’m a girlie girl when it comes to dressing. I am all about dresses and tights everyday but believe it or not I do not own a single pink item…I love this dress (I have almost the same exact one in teal) and it may just be changing my mind about pink.
I adore the teal color of this dress and the length isn’t too bad but I think I will hem it short to improve the odds I will wear it often.
Ahh this is my new favorite! I love gray and pale pink together and as soon as I take the sleeves in a tad it will be perfect!!
These dresses need to be hemmed up, have the shoulders taken in, and much much better pictures.
This dress needs a lot of help but I loved the details like the buttons and collar and its already in pieces on my sewing table.
I plan on taking improved pictures with each item I fix but hey I got 7 dresses and 1 skirt for $8!