Being Stylish Often Requires Finding Thrift Store Bargains
Some of the best bargains can be found at thrift shops. Follow these tips to get the best prices and quality while shopping at thrift stores.
10 Thrift Stores Shopping Tips
Don't be afraid of used items
If you aren't an experienced thrift store shopper, you probably have some negative opinions about used goods. Well, it's time to let go of those misconceptions. All used items aren't dirty or damaged. You can actually find some true treasures while thrift store shopping.
Be willing to invest the time
Thrift shops generally have piles and piles and racks and racks of clothing, accessories and other items. You have to be patient and willing to sift through some duds in order to find the real gems. Don't think thrift store shopping is going to be an hour’s project; it may take all day (or several days) to find some pieces that you really love.
Many thrift stores, especially the smaller ones, take cash only. So leave your credit cards at home and bring only the amount of cash you are willing to spend. Cash shopping is a great way to control your budget too, as long as you don't go running back to the ATM for more!
Consider selling some of your own stuff
Before you head out to the thrift store, clean out your own closets at home. Pack up old clothes and other items that you want to sell. Launder and bring them to the thrift store to sell for credit. It's a terrific method to recycle your own clothing and find something “new” for yourself.
Shop with friends
Thrift store shopping can be an all-day adventure. Turn it into a fun outing with a group of friends. It's a fabulous way to spend the day. Experienced friends can help you with pricing, bartering and choosing pieces to buy. Also, keep in mind that many thrift shops won't have dressing rooms. Layer your clothes over a tank top and biking shorts so you can easily try on blouses, dresses, pants and other clothing without having to stand in the middle of the store in your bra and panties.
Search for accessories
Many thrift shops are home to vintage jewelry, hats, handbags and other accessories. You can find some real bargains if you are willing to take the time to look. Hats are oftentimes your best buys. You can find felt fedoras and authentic Panama hats at a fraction of the retail price of new headwear. High-quality hats generally can last for decades if they are taken care of properly. And hats are wonderful accessories for men and women -- they can disguise hair loss, hide thinning hair or camouflage your worst hair day.
Look beyond the surface
If the “bones” of an item are solid (whether it's high-quality fabric in a jacket or a sturdy wood frame in a couch), then look beyond missing buttons, unraveled seams and removable stains. Sometimes just a little bit of elbow grease or mending can restore an item to nearly new condition.
Shop in the outskirts
If you live in a major city, you may find that most of your local thrift shops have been picked clean of all the best pieces. Head to the outlying areas just outside your city, where the stores may have much more to offer because of fewer regular customers.
Don't be afraid to haggle
When you find an item that you love (but you think is overpriced), don't be afraid to try to haggle with shop owners and salespeople. The worst that can happen is they say no. Point out the flaws in the item as you try to haggle down the price.
Go back often
If you don't find what you are looking for on one weekend, go back again in a few weeks. Thrift stores and consignment shops have constantly changing inventory. Talk with the sales staff and find out what days are usually best for shopping -- they are oftentimes willing to disclose information such as this if you ask.
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