I love love love thrift stores.
You know that scene in The Neverending Story where the kid goes into a bookstore and finds the oracle?
That’s what thrift stores feel like to me.
Like magic places where secrets and treasures and little bits of the past are waiting for me to spot them.
We have three in our little town. One has been around forever and is tiny and cramped and gives up some of the best stuff for really good prices. There is another just next door that is more like a junk shop, but often has treasures hiding here and there. And the third is a more upscale thrift that thinks it’s all that, but because it’s connected to the local animal rescue society smells like a litter box. I don’t miss much about Vegas, but I do miss the dozen or so thrift stores that was my regular weekend route.
Here are my tips for getting the magic out of a thrift store:
- Really open your eyes. See past the crap. See the potential in something.
- Dress comfortably. You’re going to be digging around. Treasure hunting is serious business. Also if you wear a tank top with a cardigan or jacket over and a pair of fitted pants, you can slip off the cardi and try some things on without getting a dressing room.
- Bring some nail clippers. This is going to sound weird, but flipping through racks of clothes messes with your nails. It absorbs their moisture or something, but I always break one. Always.
- Keep a notecard with the measurements you need a little retractable tape measure in your pocket. Especially if you’re into vintage, because a 1950s size 10 and a modern size 10 are totally different animals.
- If you’re skeeved by wearing someone else’s clothes, think about this. Clothes in a department store have often been tried on multiple times. Beds in a hotel have definitely been slept in lots and lots of time (and that’s the least of what’s been done on them! ewww!) Buying thrifted things is so good for the environment and your wallet, that even proponents of no-spending weeks/months/years don’t count them as spending lots of times.
- With that said, make sure that when you’re buying clothes at a thrift store, they are in fact washable. If they aren’t, make sure you are willing to add the price of a dry cleaning into the mix.
- A decent from-home income can be made if you have an eye for OPT (other people’s things.) My vintage etsy store, in it’s heyday, earned as much as $500 a week. About five years ago I found a vintage 1970s Yves St. Laurent coat for $20 once, and sold it for over $700. I’ve also made hundreds of dollars over the years by reselling books I’ve bought at a thrift store. Once I bought a little 1960s book about back pain that was snapped up by a chiropractor off Amazon in less than an hour for $50. These aren’t typical results, but they happen often enough for me to always have my eyes open.
Thrift shopping works for me! More works for me Wednesday here.