If you know me at all you, you know that I shop secondhand stores religiously. One reason is the sustainability of it – reduce, reuse, recycle is my mantra – but mainly, I do it because I enjoy it. Searching through aisles & piles is like a treasure hunt to me and the thrill of finding that treasure you’ve been searching for is addictive. You’ve been warned.
I get messages all the time about how I’m just lucky or how I always find all the good stuff, and that’s simply just not true. More times than not, I leave a store either empty-handed or with just an item or two; however, I will say that I’ve gotten pretty good at finding gold. I want to share with you some of my secrets for scoring big at thrift stores.
- Go often. I said it’s addictive because it really can be. I find myself in Goodwill or another local thrift store at least twice a week. New items are put out on the floor all day, every day, so it’s like shopping a totally new store when you were just there 2-3 days ago. There’s a chance that right when you check out, a car will pull up to the donation drop-off spot and unload bags full of name-brand clothes or nice furniture. It’s the mystery for me.
- Don’t rush. Finding the good stuff takes time. You have to really search every corner of the store. The thing about thrift stores is that normally they’re so packed, some of the best items can be buried under piles of junk. Sometimes, you have to dig for it. Give yourself a good 30 minutes to an hour depending on the size of the store, walk slowly, and really check out each aisle.
- Keep a running list of items you’re hunting. Go in with a plan. I keep a list in the notes section of my phone of things I’m looking for. Right now, it has things like white pants, nightstands, summer dresses, and pyrex dishes. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and forget what your treasure looks like! Keeping a list helps me stay focused.
- Don’t buy it if you won’t use it. This is a hard one, and I’m fall guilty of it often. This is a lot like saying, “Just because its on sale, doesn’t mean you need it.” Sometimes, it’s hard to turn down a beautiful dress for $2 even though its the wrong size. I find myself saying, “Well I’ll just resell it” but in reality, it goes home with me and sits on a table for months until I finally take it back to Goodwill and that $2 goes wasted. Stick to buying things you know you’ll use or wear.
- Don’t be too proud to be seen at shopping secondhand. When I was in 4th grade, the mean girl at school told me I “smelled like Goodwill.” Did I? Most likely. My mom is an avid thrifter like me, so there’s a very good chance that my clothes had in fact, come from Goodwill. At the time, I was mortified, but now I laugh, because I probably smell like Goodwill right now to be honest. I know some adults who would be embarrassed to be seen shopping at Goodwill. If you’re one of those people – I’m sorry, I can’t help you. Shopping secondhand is nothing to be embarrassed about! As a matter of fact, we should be proud to be practicing sustainable living. Mother Earth thanks you!
Go on, treasure hunters! I can’t wait to see what you find!