Friday, November 11, 2011

Thrift Stores.... Are they worth the hunt?

For the longest time I refused to go into thrift stores because I thought the time it would take to search through all the junk hardly seemed worth what small treasure may be hiding.  I had a friend who finally talked me into going with her the the Goodwill one day and I found so many treasures that I thought she was going to have to drag me out kicking and screaming! 
Now I know some have an aversion to wearing second hand clothes, and I can understand that.  However, you can find clothes that are brand new with the store tags still attached, and for a fraction of the price!  But aside from clothes, you can find kitchenware, appliances, furniture, toys, home decor and so much more! 
I love to find things and repurpose them, such as, scrap ribbon and silk flowers that get transformed into holiday decorations and home decor that make GREAT gifts!
You can find furniture that you can spend a very small amount of money and an afternoon's worth of your time on and voila you have a one of a kind piece that you can be proud of.  I have a friend who just found a dresser and side tables for $5 each!  Now THAT'S a steal!

Now before you head out here are some tips...
1.  I do not recommend going when you have a car load of tired cranky kiddos!
     This will not only be stressful for you, but your poor children will not be happy with you either, and you ARE going to have to deal with them when you get home!  So make sure you go when your little ones are well fed and not tired!
2.  Go with a purpose.
     It can become overwhelming really fast if you do not have some sort of game plan going in.  If you are looking for home decor then I suggest staying in that particular area of the store so as to stay on task.  (although I have to say that I rarely follow my own advice on this one!)
3.  Make a budget.
     Just like any other shopping trip it is very easy to just throw things into a shopping cart and then be shocked when you get up to the checkout! 
4.  Remember that you are purchasing used items.
     Be sure to look over all items for any type of damage or defects.  It is ok to purchase things that have some type of flaw that can be covered, masked or fixed, but there is nothing more frustrating than getting something you think is a great find only to get it home and discover that it is useless because of some hidden defect that you didn't notice right away.
5.  Grab it when you can!
     This rule generally applies to clothes or shoes.  If you see it and you think you may be interested in buying it, hang onto it until you decide for sure.  I can't tell you how many times I saw something and thought twice about it only to find it gone when I decided to get it.
6.  The prices are negotiable!
     Unless there are signs to indicate that prices are firm, you can typically ask for a lower price.  I have rarely had anyone turn down a reasonable price offer.  Now, I'm not advocating that you go up to the counter and ask them to take $5 for something marked $50, but it is ok to POLITELY ask "would you perhaps take $40?".  If they say no then you haven't lost anything!

I hope I have given you guys that may not have ever went thrifting before some simple guidelines to follow, and re-inspired you ol' pros out there!

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