There is this belief out there that thrift store shopping is sketchy, dirty, or unfashionable. Well I guess it could be, but when done correctly you can find some real sweet pieces to hang in your closet.
Most of my favorite items in my closet have come from thrift stores. I have a serious cashmere sweater collection, all of which were purchased second hand (including a brand spankin’ new Banana Republic sweater that STILL had the tags on for $3!)
So here are my secrets to success…just don’t go telling every Tom, Dick, and Harry, or there won’t be any good stuff left for us!
1.) Hit up the second hand stores in or around “nicer” neighborhoods. People with higher incomes with the corresponding wardrobes are most likely going to be donating to their local stores.
2.) For the best selection, visit on a Monday or the next day after a long weekend. Most people are going to wait until the weekend to clean our their closets and garages, which means newly donated items will be made available shortlyafter.
3.) Find out what days certain items are on sale. The store I frequent offers discounts based on the color tag on the item. Some days red tags are 50%, yellow 25%, etc. The sale is constantly changing, so I like to plan ahead if I need certain items (sweaters, kids clothes, pants).
Last year before my son was born, I cleaned out my favorite store’s collection of baby boy clothes of sizes 0-9 months. I went on a day when the baby clothes were on sale, so most of the items I paid cost me between .46-$1.00! Oh, I did buy one really cute outfit that included overalls and a shirt with the tags still attached for a whopping $3. I made it out of there with an entire baby wardrobe for the first 9 months of his life for less than $20.
As for our 4 year old Princess-Fashionista? She loves to dress up and will wear her outfits to the library, store, doctor’s appointments, the park, bike riding, you name it. If she is awake, she wants to look her personal best. So in that spirit, we let her pick out the fanciest, poofiest, dresses her little heart desires when we go to the thrift stores.
Why? If I were to spend $24.99 on a new foofy dress-up outfit at the store, I would probably cringe at the idea of her wearing it and getting it dirty. But what’s the point of not letting her play in her favorite dresses? If I only spent $3 on it, I don’t mind letting her wear it anywhere and everywhere because I didn’t break the bank for it. And when it does get worn out, I will sew it up until it either doesn’t fit her anymore, or mending it is no longer practical. It’s less stress on me to let her dress the way she wants and not having to worry about the cost of replacing it.
And oh man, did we have some fun when my mom helped us move here last year! We went to check out the thrift stores around our new neighborhood and we had a blast with each of us finding the most ridiculous outfits we could put together! I have some awesome photographic evidence of our fun in the hat & sunglass section, but I’m not sure my mom wants them blasted all over the internet ; )
Ahhhh, good times…
So go forth, brave the thrift stores, and see what awesome finds you can bring home without busting the bank!