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Wednesday, October 24

How to Bag Bargains (Not Junk) At Thrift Stores

If you think thrift store shopping is too overwhelming and too time consuming, you're missing out. Might I remind you of the time I spent $41.96 for a haul with an estimated value of $384.92? That doesn't happen every trip, but with patience and a good strategy, you will find thrift store shopping success.
My Zara blazer from the above mentioned shopping haul
Maybe you think of yourself as a savvy thrift store shopper already. How many of the items you've bought do you actually wear? Honestly, as I photographed the clothes and shoes for this Friday's charity auction, I saw several of my thrift store finds in the mix. How do you balance getting a good deal with actually getting something you'll wear? In other words, how do you bag bargains instead of just bringing home "stuff"?

You need a plan. A strategy. Refresh yourself or discover for the first time the basics of thrift store shopping, like when is the best time during the month to go, what NOT to buy, and how to think creatively. I'm not going to re-say what's already been said, because whether you're a newbie to thrifting or an expert, you'll learn some new tips from these ladies, guaranteed.

Image: We Heart It

Master The Basics


  • 12 Tips for Thrift Store Shopping by Simple Mom. This post covers the basics, like finding out when sales are, knowing your brands, and how to shop with both a plan and an open mind.
  • Let's Go Thrifting by The Girls With Glasses (video). How to scan the racks quickly, and make items work for you. 

Know Your Deal Breakers

If you know what to say no to before you get there, you'll find it much less overwhelming, and you'll bring home less junk. Know your deal breakers and stick to them! 

Do Your Research

Do you know what the trends are for fall? Find out before you go so you can keep an eye out for what's in style. Research designer brands too, so you'll know if you're scoring a major steal. If you have a smart phone, you can look it up while you are shopping. 

Know Yourself And What You Really Need

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You must know what looks good on you, or you'll be led astray by the cheap prices. Find out: 
Also, don't allow yourself to end up with another bargain black skirt when you already have five. 

So, now you won't be bringing home items that won't get worn because they don't fit well, aren't the right colors for you, are stained, broken, or damaged, not your style, not comfortable, outdated, or you already own. That leaves you with clothes that flatter your figure, make you feel happy when you wear them, are on trend, fit your personal style, are things you actually need, and that save you money!

My mantra is this: "If I'm not crazy about it, don't get it." If it's just ok, it meets some of my criteria but not all, I remind myself of my mantra and I know it's ok to leave it. 

Arianne of Simple Design has a similar mantra: "The point isn’t to just bring tons of stuff into our homes. The point is to: surround ourselves with things we love, to spend less, and to reuse what is already out in the “system”.


Read the full series Here.

Of course, eBay is also a thrifty way of shopping and reusing what's already out there. I hope you'll shop with me on Friday to support anti-trafficking organizations Polaris Project and 4 the 1!

Did you learn anything new about thrift store shopping today? What tips would you add? Share them with us in the comments!