In Home Reno & Decor

Top Ten Thrifting Tips {from a Life Long Treasure Hunter}

 I cant help it, I have a forever need to treasure hunt.
I’m not sure if it is because of the thrill of finding EXACTLY what I am looking for when I least expect it, or the realization that I am getting a fabulous deal on a certain item, or if is just in me to hunt and gather. 
Whatever the case, thrifting and treasure hunting are my favorite ways to shop.
I was brought up in a family with six kids, and with two parents added to the family to make us ask for a “table for eight”, we somehow survived and often flourished on a single income. 
A humble Pastor’s single income.
This meant that we cut corners and pinched pennies until the pennies yelled out in pain to stop being pinched and we walked through life, until there were no more corners to cut. 

We learned that thrifting, bargain hunting and red sticker searching were ways to make ends meet while never going without.

I have fond memories of shopping second hand way before it was the the hip thing to do.
Today 90 percent of the things found in our home or in our closets are bought thrifted. 
If you came over and looked around our place and snooped through our closets, I promise you, you wouldn’t believe me. 
I cant count the times where people have asked the source of an item displayed in our home, or questioned the source of an accessory I’m wearing, or that name brand outfit my child is wearing and I have sung the praises of our favorite treasure trove destinations.
It is possible to make thrifting work for you and your family as well.
Usually the inquiring minds respond with “How?” ” Where?” and my most favorite, “I wish I got deals like that!”
And that’s just it. 
Personally, my family saves so much money buying second hand. 
Not to mention, shopping locally and supporting charities in the town we live in, is something that I am passionate about. Have I mentioned recycling and reducing my old lady carbon footprint and the ‘wittle baby footprints of my three littles?  
Yeah, there is that too.
But enough about my life-long-love-affair- with treasure hunting, money saving, bargain getting and quality finding.
This post is actually for YOU.
You have asked the hows and the wheres and I’m here today to open the discussion of finding quality products thrifting by sharing my top ten thrifting tips.
(From a life long treasure hunter)
  1. Get to know your stores. First thing is first, get on your local thrift stores email list. Typically stores have 50% off sales once every season and send out emails notifying you of their sales and the dates they will fall on. If you can plan out your needs effectively you will be able to thrift and thrift at half price, year round.
  2. Get to know your stores — again. I know I just said that, but there is more. Knowing which stores carry certain items will help you in your searches. For instance, I have purchased almost all of our furniture from thrift stores, auctions and such, but I would never go hunting for a tall boy dresser at Value Village because I know they don’t typically go around and do pickups from estate sales and from your grandma’s basement. I would however find out which thrift stores in town have trucks at their dispense and when they go around town making pick ups. Essentially, a day after the items are picked up will be the day they are marked down and ready for you to buy. Also, if you are searching for kids toys, Bibles for Missions only puts kids toys out on Wednesday. Who knew, right? Finding out how each store operates will save you a bunch of time searching for the perfect item, if in fact, the right item is waiting to be priced in the back room.
  3. Bring cash. When you go thrifting, some charity shops do not charge you tax if you are paying with cash, they may also give you a little bit of a deal if they know you only have that measly $5 bill crinkled in your pocket. 😉
  4. Wear appropriate clothing. Seriously. This may seems silly, but if you are shopping for clothing at a thrift store they typically have one or two change rooms. If you have tights on in the winter or a dress on in the summer, you can discreetly try on jeans, pants and from-the-waist-down-pieces while remaining completely clothed. (Think the gym class change room in junior high) While the suckers in the cramped thrift store change room fiddle buttoning shirts, you will be getting all the good things on the floor.
  5. Time is of the essence. Timing is crucial when thrift shopping. Typically the best time to go thrift shopping is in the evening between 5-8pm. Most bigger chain thrift stores are open that late and the staff will be putting out product and goods all day.  Less thrifters seem to shop during those hours as well, so you will notice having to fight off less shoppers when you all eye the same amazing thing at the same exact time. If you are going to your small charity shop, it is best to go first thing in the morning. Most are open from 10-5pm and their staff will work for another hour in the evening filling up their shelves. You will be seeing all the “new” things at that time and the volunteers are usually still sipping their morning coffee and eager to assist you if you need it.
  6. Make friends. Not only are they usually the sweetest ever, bu they can help you. I make it a point to learn the names of the volunteers who work at our local thrift stores. They know when items came on the floor and they may know when something your looking for is ABOUT to come out on the floor. These people are sweet and most are spending their day off “working” to help the charity that their store supports. Their hearts are big in the first place and they may just offer their kindness to you if you think an item needs a different price then the one assigned to it. #poppintags They typically know what is in their store and can hand pick things for you that are on your shopping list without you having to look around for them. These people also appreciate if you remember their grandchildren’s names, and they love to know what you ended up doing with that table you bought last month or that deal of a winter jacket you got the month before.
  7. Pack snacks and toys. If you are someone shopping with children this is crucial. Snacks are an excellent way to distract rowdy children and a toy car or dolly can occupy an annoyed child. If you’re a germaphobe like me, then I would also pack some wipes and some antibacterial gel. Used kids toys tend to need cleaned up. 😉 If you forget both a snack and a toy, then remember to map out your store before you enter. If you hit up the toy section first and offer your child that Fisher Price cash register to play with, you may just have the loveliest shopping experience ever, while your child is blissfully distracted.
  8.  Move things around. If you have ever gone thrifting with me, you will notice that I am constantly touching, lifting things up, pushing piles of books aside and climbing on things to see the top shelves. #shortgirlproblems I’m like a squirrel after the snow thaws, searching for buried nuts. This is very important if you want to find the “good” stuff. Simply scanning shelves will not work the same as it does in Target. If you scan racks of clothing everything will end up looking the same, if you thumb through each black long sleeved shirt in the medium section you will be able to feel the quality of each piece and see the labels sewed into the collar of each item. You will be surprised that the items you were swooning over in the mall last season have now found their way to the racks of your thrift store — for a fraction of the price. I once found an authentic Burberry lined jacket for $1 with tags on it for $2,490.00! Yes, you read those zeros correctly. 
  9. Ask about deals. Certain thrift stores have certain days where they offer more savings. I’m talking big savings. Like fill a bag for $1 savings, books for 10cents, buy one get one free or 50% off certain “colourd tagged” items that have been in the store long enough. It can be risky, but if you know all chairs and tables will be for sale at the Restore on a Monday, you may just be able to wait and scoop up some major savings.
  10. Shop often and shop well. Some people assume they will have to waist hours on end shopping and searching in thrift stores, but that is not the case at all. If you visit just one thrift store once a week for a quick five minute run through, I guarantee you will come across some things from your “want and need” list. Shopping well, means having a good critical eye. You do not need worn clothing or things that have been obviously loved hard. There may be those items in the stores you are hunting in, but you do not need to buy those articles. Remember, youre a mature adult and can make hard decisions. 😉 Have a critical eye and only buy the items you find to be beautiful and useful. Also, shop well and know that one of the greatest joys of thrifting is to find an item and add your own creative spin on it. For instance, you want a huge mirror but don’t want to spend $150 at Homesence? Then go pick up that giant off coloured mirror  for $6 at the thrift store and paint the frame to match your decor. If it is well made it will be worth the effort. 
There you have it!
Ten tips and tricks for your next thrifting adventure from a tried and true, seasoned treasure hunter.
Now, I guess Ill see you in the vintage section.
{Everything seen on this post was purchased for under $10 at one treasure store during one stop. 
Proof that useful and quality items can come home with you to help you and yours make your house a pretty home.}
Do you score big time when you go thrifting?  What is your favorite treasure that you have scooped up for a great deal? Have any tips you want to add? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

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