Wednesday, February 29, 2012

thrifting

It's an art, my friends.

Well, not really. But there is a bit of a method to the madness.

First, find out about the store's "specials." For example, at the Salvation Army, they'll put items with a certain color price tag on sale, just for the day. Some have a frequent shopper program where you can get a stamp on a card for each $XX purchase, and then get a certain percentage off your next buy. Some allow you to earn credit for your "donations" or the items they buy from you. Some allow you to make an offer on an item. Some put out their newest items on Tuesday morning, just like the other store by that name.

But my favorite stores? They have Half-off-everything-in-the-store Day. One store I know calls it Wow Wednesday. Wow, indeed. Things start off at a decent price, and end up just...wow.

I went home to visit my parents for a couple days this week and happened to be there on Tuesday, which is their 50% off sale day each week. Yay! I was also in town for 50% off Wednesdays at the local Salvation Army store - hooray!

Here is how I go about searching a thrift store for awesomeness.
First, I take a few seconds to breathe and avoid feeling overwhelmed. This usually means that I move away from the doorway, step into an aisle, and take a few minutes to see the general layout of the store. Women's stuff here, shoes there, Men's stuff, baby and kids' stuff, home stuff. What are today's deals? What color tag should I be looking for? Check.

Then, I ask myself what I'm looking for - is this just for fun? Do I have a need in mind - new fabric to sew with, jeans for the hubby, closed-toe dress shoes in the perfect brown? How much time do I have?

Next, if there is a specific goal, I head directly to the point of the visit. Sometimes this is really disappointing, and I'm out of the store just a few minutes later. Other times, it starts the shopping success with a great find!

If there's no real goal but spending time with someone, I'll start by exploring the perimeter of the store. I love to touch things and get a sense of the texture of an item before I try it or buy it, but I'm pretty picky: I won't touch something that doesn't look like it's brand new (or almost new), vintage in great condition, brand name, a great color, something I or someone I love could use, or something inspirational. This limits the speedy pushing of metal-hooked hangers along a rack (squeak, squeak, squeeeeeak, clack, squeak). It also limits the number of chenille sweaters I touch (shudder).

Once I pick something up, I'll carry it around with me until I'm ready to try it on (clothes), or until I convince myself to put it back. When I'm thrifting, I'm generally looking for almost-new clothing, classic styles, and brands I love. I'll almost always try it on, unless I already own the item in a different color and know what size it is. I'm always thinking about the price I would pay in-store for any given item, and if the tag at the thrift store is worth it.

For instance, I know for a fact that I could purchase a lightweight cotton sweater for my hubby at Old Navy for $15. When I saw the same sweater, new with the tags still on it, at the thrift store, it was marked $15. However, it was 50% off day! Score.

Sometimes I drool over the luxurious sweaters, scarves, dresses,shirts, pants... made by J. Crew, but I quickly click away because I can't afford the $50-$200 price tags. I'm so excited when I find some of their great stuff at thrift stores! Today was no exception. Here are my scores, with the price I paid and the estimated store-price in parentheses:

Navy cabled sweater vest, Aeropostale, $1.50 ($45)
I've worn this twice already. I still have it on.What a cozy layer!

Navy/green floral ballet flats with grosgrain bow, $2.50 ($30)
Spring can't come fast enough! 

Vintage red/navy/white Pendleton wool skirt, $1.50 ($30)
I'm planning to shorten this skirt and fix up a little moth hole before I wear it!

Men's gray/navy/white cotton sweater vest, Old Navy, $7.50 ($20)
For the hubby, of course.

Vintage half slip, $0.50 ($20)
Because the vintage slip material is so silky soft. Love.



Gray cashmere scarf, Caroline Grace Cashmere $10 at T.J. Maxx($100)
 I've been waiting for this scarf to go on sale since I spotted it in the store in late November!!

Charcoal gray embellished V-neck tee, J. Crew, $4.50 ($30)

Grape-purple cotton sateen A-line miniskirt, Express, $1.50 ($30)
Possible Easter outfit beginning?

Next, my absolute favorite score of the week...
Gray/navy/orange/red argyle merino wool and angora cardigan, J. Crew, $2 ($60)

Look at those cute little gold buttons!! I love this sweater! So classic, so me.

God blesses us with everything we need, and so very much more. If I had purchased all these things at full price as I estimated above, it would have come to about $365. I paid $25.50, and my momma picked up the other $6 as a little gift to me. I'd say paying less than 10% of the estimated retail value of these things is a pretty great deal!! Happy. 

Thankful. 

Grateful. 

And so content in God's provision for me. 

2 comments:

Andy and Kristen said...

gosh, i need to go thrifting with YOU! i'm horrible at it and can never seem to find anything other than chenille sweaters either (double shudder!)

Karen said...

So happy to go thrifting with you, and so proud of you. What a lovely blog. Your written words make me chuckle sometimes or just feel happy...like being with you. I love you so much.