Monday, December 29, 2008

Thrifting 101: Part One

Okay, so you want to get in on some of those tempting bargains at your local thrift shop but feel overwhelmed? Are you convinced that today’s Goodwill’s are brimming with endless rows of acid-washed jeans and faded Minnie Mouse tees? No fear, modern Goodwill's and thrift stores carry an eclectic range of fashion and accessories that fall anywhere between modern, classic, outdated, and vintage. Yeah, sure there will be those faded, overstreched cropped Disney tees mixed in along with tacky Hawaiian-themed fanny packs. Makes it interesting.... But then again, you'll probably find some designer pieces and valuble collectables.

I came up with a few questions and tips to get you prepared for thrift shopping. Whether you’re new to the concept of thrifting or a seasoned veteran, hopefully this can lend you some tips and ideas to make your thrift shopping experiences dandy. Okay, let’s get to the basics.

When should I visit my local thrift shop?
It is best to hit up the store when it first opens in the morning, this way you avoid the larger crowds that converge usually around 11a.m and on. Associates usually put their big tickets items like furniture out before the store opens as well, and replenish stock throughout the store.

But where do I start once in the store?
Well, it depends on what your goal is for the day. If you are vying for a winter jacket, then by all means head to the jacket dept first. But what I find works best, is going straight to the Housewares. This is because housewares fit all, unlike clothing pieces. And you can relax more while clothing browsing once you have your waffle maker safe and sound in your cart.

How much should I expect to spend each visit?
This varies according to what you want, of course! Goodwill is the priciest of all thrift stores I have visited. Jeans are priced around $5, pants $3, blouses/knit shirts $4, shoes $7, and Pj’s $3 a piece. Now this is just the standard Goodwill pricing here in South Texas. OF course there are the auction areas in the store where you must bid on the item or purchase it at a 'buy me now' price which is 99% of the time way overpriced. Sometimes chain stores donate their out dated inventory to Goodwill and they will usually be specially priced at a higher than GW average price.

I know that Goodwill has most raised their prices on most everything since I’ve been shopping there (since when I was a wee lexieberry in the early 90's). It’s all about capitalism, even in the thrift business…supply and demand. Thrifting is becoming more and more popular, so of course they take advantage of this and mark up their prices! Just recently, my favorite GW raised all stuffed animal prices to $1, from their original .49....

What do I do when I find some items I like?
Inspect, inspect, and then inspect them some more. People are known for donating their ripped crotch jeans and bbq-sauce stained shirts. Make sure to look an item over, inspect the seams, buttons, and zippers. Check armpits, for any stains. If there is a tiny tear or missing button, don't be afraid to be crafty and fix the garmet! Believe me, new buttons on a shirt, can make it look completley different and give it new life.

And make sure to wash the garmets thoroughly before wearing. Use a color safe bleach, as well to kill any possible lingering 'itis'es...

And for now....
Don't forget to visit the store a couple times a week to check out the constantly rotating inventory.

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