Saturday, March 26, 2011

Ahhh....The Thrift Shop - Revisited

This is a rerun, but I have a funny story and an even funnier picture.
Colin called the other night to tell me about a project he was working on, he needed an empty whisky bottle to complete it. I asked him where he got a whisky bottle from. After teasing me that he took it from a homeless man, he said he got it from his "other" thrift shop.
Apparently he has two thrift shops down in Florida - one that he buys his clothes from and the "sketchy thrift shop" where he gets everything else. So I learned something new - I need to be on the lookout for my second thrift shop - a sketchy one - I have a few in mind.

 And make sure you check out the picture at the bottom of the page - enjoy!

Yes, my eyes are a little glazed over and I'm in my happy place! Remember when I assured you this wouldn't be a recipe blog - well, I can't guarantee that this won't turn into a thrift shop blog.

Until I got married I had no idea these stores existed. My mom's idea of a thrift shop was my older sister's box of out grown clothes. My husband grew up frequenting thrift shops and had acquired a bad taste for them.

So how did this happy union come about?

While living in Dallas while my husband attended seminary they had a shop for students You could go once a week and pick out 3 shirts, 3 pants, etc. For FREE! How wonderful, I was hooked into wearing other peoples cast offs - that happened to come from the wealthy, generous churches of North Dallas - tags included.

When we moved to PA (baby in tow) I was on a mission to locate these stores - not just for clothes, but baby toys, furniture, shoes and other household items - I draw the line at underwear - although hot water kills ALL germs!

There was one right in my town that wasn't free, but pretty close to it. Now the secret of the thrift shop is frequency. This store was conveniently located on my way home from anywhere so I could pop in, browse and leave. They also had a toy section so it guaranteed my little ones were busy and happy.

Now the Thrift Shop is not for the faint of heart:

1) Be prepared for some odd people (the crazy cat lady who sits her leashed cat on the counter to watch her try on clothes)
2) Go in with an open mind - if you are looking for pink snow boots, you might be disappointed but blue might be your color.
3) Not all deals are good - check the prices - a tank top for $3.50 is no bargain when I can get them at Old Navy for 2/$6.
4) Don't over buy - it's hard but just because something is a good price doesn't mean you should buy it. If it doesn't fit, is not your color, or in good shape, put it back. If it is in good shape at the thrift shop - it will hold up - it has already been washed numerous times and is still in good shape. How many times have you bought something new, washed it and been disappointed with the results.
5) It helps to know how to sew - hemming, taking in, letting out, sewing buttons - all these things help you get a better bargain - if it needs repairs you can ask for a discount. Point out the problem and be quiet - they usually will lower the price.
6) Stains aren't a deal breaker. Again, ask for a discount and boiling water, detergents and a scrub brush do wonders.
7) Resist the urge to buy too far in advance for your kids. When Megan was a baby I bought a dress - size 6 that hung in her closet for years.
8) Visit several thrift shops - I know one is good for furniture, another clothes. Ask at the shop if they know of others - people love to share their "success" stories.
9) If you are looking for something special - give yourself time to find it. When my son was going to prom he needed an outfit. We found a black suit, blue shirt, and shoes all on the same shopping day - the only thing that was missing was the tie - he wanted to match his date's dress. We ended up going to a "real" store and spent more on the tie than everything else combined - YES! And my teenage son continues to see the value in thrift shop shopping!
10) Ask about specials. One store has half prices on Friday night. Another is every Wednesday. At the end of the season most stores have bag sales. Another has a dollar rack. Just Ask! And if you are looking for something special it doesn't hurt to see if they might have it in the back - that's how we got a tuxedo shirt for another son.

While vacationing in Hawaii (yes, frugality does pay off!) instead of heading to the store to buy our souvenir Hawaiian shirts we found the Salvation Army. We outfitted the whole family in shirts and dresses for less than what one shirt would have cost.

                                                 Now that makes cents!


  1. I was waiting for this entry...thanks for not disappointing :) My new fav is Milk Money in Newtown, just got a bag full for $20 and it included some high end sneaks for Jake and spring jackets for both!!! When will people learn it makes cents just to be friends with you...see what you've taught me!

  2. I know the crazy cat lady! She carries the white cat with six toes on one paw! Yup that is my favorite thrift shop, been going there for the last 20 years. Love it!

  3. i gt all my prom dresses from the thrift store!!!

  4. I just went to the 'Army' today and thought of you!!!!! Was s good day. Not 50% off Family day, but good all the same :)

  5. OOO! Can you name some thrift areas around you? I'm always looking for a new one.

  6. I love the picture, how cute! I really heart thrift & junk shops, they are so fun to wander in. And Janet, thanks for the tip, I'll have to check out Milk Money too.

  7. What a great picture, I love Ryan's expression!!


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