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A Little Bit of Sanity and A Lot of Chaos: How I thrift

Monday, February 1, 2010

How I thrift

When I was in high school the cool thing to do was to go to thrift stores and buy used Levi's and huge flannel shirts and sweaters. In fact, I took one of my senior pictures in a sweater I got for one dollar at a thrift store. Boy, I loved that sweater. I wish I still had it....it was orange. Awesome. I don't wear the huge flannel shirts and three sizes too big sweaters any more, but I do love a good pair of Levi's. And I still shop thrift stores.

Here's my strategy when it comes to thrifting.
1. Have an idea of what you are looking for. Do you collect milk, green, or blue glass? Mason jars? Apothecary jars? Baskets? Mirrors? Smurfs? Know what you are looking for.

2. Go directly to the most popular places first. Don't wait and wander around. I go directly to where the furniture is. It's not the grocery store. Don't stay on the outside isle either.... Look at chairs, coffee tables, end tables and think - is this something that I can do something with? Can I recover this? Can I paint this? Is it sturdy? Will I break it if I touch it. Look at it, turn it around, DON'T pay attention to the material on it! It's like a house - when you are looking for a new house, don't pay attention to the colors on the wall or the furniture and pictures that they have - all of that can be changed! Look at structure and shape...go with what you like.

3. Next I go to the isle with candlesticks/knick-knacks/glass. I like candle holders. And apothecary jars. They often mix this stuff up together. After that I run through the dishes (I don't need these, but sometimes things catch my eye).

4. Then I head over to the curtains/bedding/pillows. Curtains are great for reupholstering furniture.

5. Finally I swing back through the furniture. Sometimes things I did not notice the first time pop out at me. Not always, just once in awhile. Or I will go back to something that I am wavering on. I don't waver often. If I see something that I like the first time, I grab the ticket. At least I have it in my hot little hand. I can always take the ticket back. But, at least it's mine right away.

6. I don't spend a long time in the store. A good thrifter goes several times a week. WHOA! Who has time for that? I live about 20 minutes from Goodwill. I'm lucky to get there once a week. But, stuff comes and goes so quickly and so often there is always something new.

There are three thrift stores in my area that I go to. It may be different in your area. Take a morning and just go scout them out. There are more in the area and there are also a ton of antique stores, but we're thrifting here. Sometimes I'm willing to spend more for an item if it's at an antique store. Weird. But, we're thrifting. Because I scouted out the stores I know what I can get at certain places. For example, I don't get mirrors at Goodwill. I have found two things. One, they don't get many mirrors and two, when they do they are pricey. So, when I want a mirror fix, I go to the Salvation Army. I've found three mirrors there.

When I want furniture I go to Goodwill. Goodwill gets stuff directly from Target so sometimes you can get a really good deal on Target stuff. The third place is St. Vincent's. It's a very random store. Sometimes they are very pricey. Which is weird. Because sometimes I'll see a chair for $.99

and sometimes they will have a dresser for $18

But then other times a tiny little stool will be $28! I think they just throw out numbers and don't even think about what they are doing or what they are pricing.

Sometimes I am a little more willing to pay more for certain things: Mirrors. I'll pay up to $15 or $20 for a good mirror. Not that for chairs. No way. I usually won't pay more than $9.99. Unless it's a brand new chair that I've been looking at for awhile.

Bottom line is know what you are looking for and know your stores. Scope them out and visit as often as your life allows. But know that you won't come away with the greatest find every single time. I often walk away without a thing.

I've never spent more that $25 on a single visit. So, go cheap or don't go. If it sits there long enough and no one has bought it, see if you can talk them down....doesn't hurt to ask!



Blogger Julie M. said...

Just found your blog and LOVE it!! What awesome stuff! Thanks for sharing!

February 1, 2010 at 12:01 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

.999 cents?!?!? thats insane! I wish i could find deals like that!

February 1, 2010 at 3:31 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

woops .99cent i mean lol

February 1, 2010 at 3:31 PM  
Blogger Rustique Gallery said...

Excellent tips! I have decided that I have everything I will ever need, and now that I have car payments, that may have to be true. But the first warm saturday morning I will be out there driving around for "tag"sales! I love your blog!

February 1, 2010 at 10:22 PM  

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