Thrift store shopping can yield some terrific treasures, but the strategy you use will impact your enjoyment in the experience. Thrift shopping is a “see it, buy it” process; you can’t put it in your online basket and think about it. Whether you’re looking for clothing, camping gear, or a great computer backpack, you may need to make several short stops, or you may have to spend hours going through the racks.
Allow Yourself Time
If you’re looking for something specific, particularly if you plan to flip the item, consider stopping to check out the thrift stores along your regular commute. Once you know the layout of the store, you can quickly travel to the racks that include the items you need to consider buying, flip through the items, and choose to buy or not.
If you’re buying items for yourself, you may need to put in more time. A simple method for buying clothing for yourself and your family, you can use the FLAG test.
● Fit: Try on garments whenever possible. If it doesn’t fit, don’t buy it
● Like: Do you like it? If you find a dress that fits your daughter perfectly but she doesn’t like it, put it back.
● Accessible: Does this garment work with your lifestyle? If you never iron, don’t buy cotton. If you never go to the dry cleaner, don’t buy wool. Save your money for items that will work in your current wardrobe
● Go: Does the item go with at least two things in your current wardrobe? If not, it may just hang out in your closet
Check out the housewares area if you need a treat or want to give a fun gift. A pretty second-hand plate loaded with cookies is a lovely way to welcome new neighbors, and if you don’t get it back, you’re not out a great deal of money.
Know When New Stock Comes In
Check with the store manager about when new stock comes in. If you like to shop at a national chain of thrift stores, these facilities will probably have one day per week when new stock comes in. This is the day when the colored tags get reassigned; a blue tag may mean $1.00 off one week and $2.00 off the next week.
Try to shop on the day after new stock comes in. Be prepared to do a little digging; shelves will be full and you may have to do some poking around to find:
● unique housewares
● children’s clothing in good shape
● ties and scarves
However, there will be more of these items available on this day and the pickings will be better. If you find any collectibles that you really love, stop in the housewares section and grab a couple of sets of pillowcases. Gently layer the collectible items in the bottom of your cart in the pillowcases to avoid breakage while you shop. Plus, an extra pillowcase is easy to wash up and add to your linen cabinet.
Build a Relationship With a Private Shop Owner
If you’re interested in a particular collectible, from crystal to Barbie dolls, strive to create a relationship with private shop owners. There are many estate sale professionals who know how to Sell Vintage Toy Collections online, but if they only find a partial set or if some of the items are a bit over-loved, they may sell these items to a private shop owner.
Let the shop owner know what items you’re looking for. When they contact you, carefully review the item to make sure it’s something that will work in your collection and be ready to pay a fair price. Be aware that there are many people shopping for vintage items and looking for a particular quality; if you have a shop owner looking out for you, be prepared to pay a bit more for the time and effort they’re saving you.
Thrift shopping can be addictive. Unless you have the time and inclination to make repairs on garments, try to remove stains from children’s clothing, or remove rust from antique toys, only buy items that you can enjoy just as they are.