Thursday, May 19, 2016

7 tips on how to successfully shop at a thrift store! Plus my personal finds!

Today had been a rough day for me and seeing as how my son and I hadn't visited our local Goodwill recently, I figured we could have a shopping day. Boy did I leave with a HUGE smile on my face! It gave me reconfirmation that Goodwill is my forever store. I will probably shop there until the day I die. I can't even begin to tell you how many amazing items I've found for incredibly cheap and today was no different. I left the store with a book I've been searching for in great condition, 2 vinyls that I love, a brand new Frozen shirt - still with tag - for my son, a brand new - again still with the tag - flannel (it isn't winter anymore in California, but I've been wanting a nice soft flannel for a while), a brand new Star Wars Mr. Potato Head Yoda  - never been opened, a beautiful elephant print romper (isn't the print and color combo to die for!), a Scotch House brand cashmere cardigan, an extremely comfortable robe/cardigan - I've been dying for a nice cozy one, and a clock with a secret compartment in the back - Nancy Drew fan's will understand how excited I was for this find - in excellent condition that works! How much did I pay for all these amazing finds? $35!!! That's right! I paid $35 for 10 items that I'm truly in love with! 

The actual breakdown of each item, is just as stupendous! 

Star Wars Mr. Potato Head Yoda - brand new, never opened: $3 (technically my son paid with his "big boy money".
Clock with compartment: $2
Elephant print romper: $4 
Scotch House Cashmere cardigan: $10
Robe/Cardigan: $5
Frozen Shirt - brand new, tags still attached: $2
Flannel - brand new, tags still attached: $6
2 Vinyls - 1 Christmas (I love "White Christmas") and 1 Bing Crosby: $1/each ~ $2
Book called "Lost and Found": $2

Can you believe that! The Yoda toy apparently had been sitting in their glass case for a while, so it had been marked down a bit and the Frozen shirt was the same deal. The "Lost and Found" book was a huge score for me, as I used to own this book but could never remember what it was called. Somehow through moving and unpacking, it got misplaced before I ever got to finish the story. I had tried researching the parts I had read through google, to see if I could get any hits, to absolutely no avail. When I saw it sitting in the bookcase, I freaked! I'm also sitting here typing this in my new robe, listening to Bing Crosby. God I love his voice. His rendition of "White Christmas" is my all-time favorite, but I really love any version. Which is why I went with my Christmas Vinyl. It's the second in my collection, but each holiday themed vinyl is filled with different songs, making it perfect for celebrations without replaying! My son immediately jumped up and down with excitement that he was able to afford Mr. Yoda Potato Head. He had been saving up and working hard to earn some spending cash and the fact that this was so incredibly cheap - AND new - was a ginormous score. The smile on his face truly led me to believe he is a Goodwill lover at heart as well. 

As you can see, I'm in love with everything I bought today. Which in general should be your feeling when buying anything, anywhere, regardless of the price. For me, I would've walked away from any of these items in stores, as I just wouldn't have been in love with the price. Seeing as how I didn't necessarily need these things, but merely wanted them and had been searching for them in particular, made it worth the price. Shopping should be fun for everyone and it should leave you with absolute joy, not second guesses and guilt. So in an attempt on how to make you thrift store - or any store - shopping go smoothly, here are my top thrift store tips for a guaranteed good time!

1. Wear thin clothes that you can wear underneath thrift store clothes. I always wear a camisole and leggings. This lets me try on anything over my clothes, without having to stand in line for a dressing room. Some thrift stores don't even have that option, so this helps me to be prepared regardless. You may look a little silly to others who are standing in line, but when you've tried on every single item in your cart before they've even entered the dressing room, you'll be a lot less caring of how they feel. Almost all thrift stores have mirrors close by. Find one, throw on what needs to be tried on, and get to the next batch of thrift store goodness!

2. Dress comfortably. Along with my leggings and camisole, I bring along a sweater or cardigan and make sure I wear my comfortable tennis shoes. You want to be able to stand while searching without cold feet or in pain, but you do want to make sure you can easily slide them on and off if needed. Like when trying on jeans. Also, having a sweater or cardigan comes in handy as most Goodwills - at least the one's here - are freezing for me. Having a fanny pack is also a huge comfort for me. (You can see how I made one for free HERE.) A purse of backpack can be hard to deal with in tight aisles. If you're uncomfortable, you won't make good decisions. Trust me, I've had first hand experience with this one!

3. Eat, eat, drink, and eat. This goes along with what I mentioned previously about making good decisions. If you're thinking about what to eat or your thirsty/hungry, your first priority isn't going to be scoring a great deal. It's going to be getting the heck out of there and finding something scrumptious. Maybe even pack a few snacks and a small water if your making it an all day thing. So many thrift stores, so little time! I made this mistake once. ONCE. I had gone to this giant warehouse thrift store without snacks or having lunch. Of course I had fed my son and forgotten to eat, again, so instead of taking the time to search through the aisles and try on each item, I grabbed what I thought I loved and just left. After eating lunch, I realized I had left behind some items I truly did want and the item I had purchased didn't even fit correctly. Yay me. Need an option for something healthy to fill you up that's quick and easy to make? Check out my favorite trick HERE! (Also works for kids too!)

4. USE THE BATHROOM! I can't tell you how many times I've agitated myself because I didn't use the restroom - or have my son use the restroom - before entering ANY thrift store. You think shopping hungry is bad? Shopping will a full bladder, gas, or a stomach that really needs a porcelain throne is way worse. Especially with kids. You can't tell them "hold on as long as you can". You have to drop what you're doing and find a restroom, or you'll be searching for a whole new outfit for them to wear. 

5. If you're bringing your kids, bring a stroller and entertainment! My son is an avid Goodwill shopper like myself, but after he's browsed through the toys and boys clothing, he's pretty much done. Maybe the bookshelf will intrigue him, along with the movies, but most of the time he's no longer interested as he's finished looking at what would be for him. In order to allow for proper "mommy shopping time", I bring snacks, water, the iPad, and the stroller. In the beginning he will walk around, check out the specific aisles, and decide whether or not it's a hit or miss for him. Then I simply put him in the stroller, hand him his snacks and water, whip out the iPad, and I've just gained an hour or so of browse time. This DEFINITELY makes things easier. Some parents give me the "seriously, you glued your kid to the iPad" face, but to perfectly honest with you guys, I just don't give a owl's hoot about what they think. My son doesn't get much screen time, so he's entranced when he does. He is also very good about ending it when I tell him to. Why? Because he knows if he throws a fit when I ask him politely to turn it off, he looses it for 2 weeks. Harsh? Maybe, but I'd rather my son know that iPad's are a huge luxury, not a necessity. 

6. If you don't love it, don't buy it. This can be difficult, as you start to think of ways on how to compromise any flaws it may have. Maybe you found a really cute shirt, but because the sleeves are a little weird, you're thinking about sweaters that could pair nicely with it to mask the oddness. Yes it's good to think about it being paired with other items you already own, as it does make for good separate outfits, but if it can't be worn alone it doesn't need to go home. That's my motto. If I can't put something on and see myself wearing it alone, with a jacket, a cardigan, my converse, and my flip-flops, it doesn't deserve a place in my closet. I am critical with what I buy, but I don't want to spend money for a future donation bin. The point of thrift stores are to save money, not clog your toilets with things you'll only wear once or twice. 

7. Patience is key. Thrift store shopping can be huge wins or all around flops. Maybe you find one or two things you love, but didn't find that something you were dying for. It's ok. You have to remember that thrift stores are not regular stores. They don't have multiple stock - unless someone had an usually large quantity of that item - of things. Sometimes you have to go more than once and to different thrift stores, to find what you're looking for. I had been dying for a clock that would resemble the clock from a Nancy Drew book/game called "The Secret of the Old Clock". It took me a couple years to find the right one and because I waited, I found it for a complete steal in excellent condition. Same goes for the book and robe. I had found other robe/cardigans that were comfy-ish with nice color, but nothing "spoke" to me. Nothing had me absolutely dying to buy it, therefore they got left behind. Fast forward a couple months and here I am cozy as a bunny in grass, snug as a bug, in my perfect addition. It's about quality, NOT quantity. Like I've said before, if you don't love it, don't buy it. 

And there you have it. My 7 main tips for having a fantastic day thrifting! You can apply these tips to any sort of shopping really, as they - at least to me - are important in finding items that are worth your hard-earned money. Hopefully these will inspire you to go out and find the goods other people have tossed! You know what they say, "one man's trash is this momma's treasure"! Well, you know what I mean.


  1. Great finds! That clock is brilliant! I always search charity shops for clocks for my grandad too. I've found some amazing bargains.

    1. Thank you! I absolutely love the clock, it SCREAMED Nancy Drew when I saw it!!! That's so awesome! Don't you just love thrift store hunting?