My family prefers to visit thrift stores when we need something “new” or have a project we want to complete. It’s like a whole weekend of garage sales rolled into one store to save time!
The trouble I always seem to have is making the trip more than just a random stop and not being overwhelmed with the decision-making process.
When we decide to visit the thrift stores there is usually a specific reason but once we arrive, the magnitude of the selection seems to overtake any sense of direction we came with. This is especially true when I’m hoping to find miscellaneous items for decorating the house or working on my latest crafty project.
I saw this article recently from Simple Mom: 12 Tips for Thrift Store Shopping and realized that this is not much different from the way I approach consignment sales (except of course the scope of a thrift store is so much larger).
Here are my tips (not twelve of them though)…Just 5
1. Keep an “idea book”:
I use a small notebook that fits in my purse to write down all of the project ideas or household needs (and any necessary measurements) so I have it with me when I arrive at the store. It’s amazing how much I can forget on the 5 minute drive from my house to the store!
2. Go without the kids! (I agree with SimpleMom here – for the most part):
We follow this same rule for consignment shopping…it’s hard to think and look through hundreds of items for the ONE you want when your child(ren) are running around like exhausted, sugar-filled toddlers on a trip to Disney World – I use this metaphor because it happened to me the other night at Goodwill! I do like to take my toddler and preschooler to look for books and small toys so they don’t grow up with some sort of stigma against thrift shopping.
3. Know your store’s sale days:
I was shocked when I learned that thrift store had sales…seems like a double negative (or maybe that’s positive?) to me but YES, they do have sales and really good ones! 50% off tagged items, $1 day, 20% off coupons…check with the clerk at the store you visit for all the details and plan your trips around them.
4. Go with cash:
It’s too easy to overbuy when the items you are purchasing are priced just pennies on the dollar.
5. Consider your purchase as though you were paying full price:
As Simple Mom notes: “Just because it’s a beautiful silk Ann Taylor skirt doesn’t mean you should buy it.”
- Does it fit your needs?
- Is it usable in it’s current form? If not, will it cost much to make it usable?
- Will it last?
Now, if only I could borrow a creative mind to help me visualize my projects…