New to Thrifting

norasnewsOctober 22, 2008

Would love to survey you thrifters!! Went to my first Good Will and Salvation Army this week. I am right now only interested in home goods... and would love to hear what your tips/habits are!

o Do you have a schedule and routine.. visit 1 x per week, etc. ?

o are you willing to travel only a certain distance?

o do you go routinely, or only when you are looking for something...

I am looking for a Thrifting 101 class and have not been able to find it, so any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated!


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Way I do it is go when bored & have some free time. That's 1-2 times a week. But GW is 3 miles away other 1 less.Gas just went down to $3.19 which is good but still lot higher than yr ago. My dad taught me. 5 kids & no money .We looked for stuff at town dump when I was 5-10. I had the fastest & best bike around built from about 3 bikes. They were big in those days & mine was boys.My sled was fastest too & prettiest! I made marbles out of clay from a little hill near home.Got married & looked for kicks, found clothes were nicer & better than stuff at retail.Then new shops opened & they had great stuff & anything I needed could find in about 2 months. But now prices are going up there also so buy what I need such as fancy beaded sweater for $1.98. I want the beads off of it for a project! There are lots & at Michael's would be lot more. Cute wicker sleigh painted gold, great outside front door at xmas with greenery from yard (98 cents) I rarely buy clothes anymore as lady gives me all kinds of clothes, shoes etc. We are same size. Have yard sales with what I can't use or wear or DD or mom don't want either. DD exchanges kids clothes with friends & gets theirs from older kids. These are nice things,kids in private schools. We just don't see wasting things. Bad economy gives rise to lots of people packing & moving, curb diving(looking for stuff out on street is another way to go) had a relative that did that & donated all the stuff to his kid's school. They were thrilled.I think this is some ways you can look. Oh the beautiful ring my dad had was a dump find but being honest he tried to find where it came from, all jewelry stores said it wasn't their's. It was real & had high value. Dad also repaired some furiture he found there for poor folks he had met around town.So I learned value early on. All my kitchen gadgets are antiques. That is about value & ease of use not cost. I like things that stand the test of time!! GJer's have to protect what is left of Americana!! Join the fun! Don't spend a fortune going to different towns! Jan

    Bookmark   October 23, 2008 at 12:18AM
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My hubby and I actually talk about what to look for the day before we go yard-saling, and decide how much we're going to spend, and how much we have extra if we see something we just HAVE to have. Mostly it's crafting materials for me, and electronics or tools for him. Yard sales are generally way cheaper than the thrift store. Last time I went I bought a whole storage bin of picture frames and cups for .50 cents,bin included. I'd broken some glass from my own frames, so this was "needed" as I was in the process of painting all frames black. I'll say "look for a bakers rack" or "television for gaming" "silver tea sets", something like that, and that's what we buy. If we go out to eat, I'll go to the thrift stores because it's nearby. I have a discount card for the thrift store,lol, if you can get one, do it and use it. Lately I've been looking for colorful plastic rain slickers to cut for my purses, but no luck there.
There used to be a dump near our house, and we'd walk down and plunder through it, it was great fun:) My best friend lived by a dump when we were children, and we'd walk down there,too, also great fun!
I also buy my clothes at yard sales and thrift stores. I can buy name brand things there new or like new. Baby clothes are always going to be like new.Let someone else spend $40 for a pair of baby jeans or shoes, and I'll buy it from them when they sell it at a yard sale for a quarter. The same with playpens and highchairs,etc...this way everyone has the baby furniture at their house. Extra car seats are always nice to have. This keeps cash in my wallet. Freecycle is another great way to go. Offer what you don't need and ask for what you do need.
Home goods....thrift stores are the best places, so are your classified ads and free papers and yard sales. Yard sales are usually cheaper. Curb shopping is best, as it's free.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kudzu's Blog

    Bookmark   October 23, 2008 at 6:54AM
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There are things that I'm always looking for (plates for plate flowers, molds for concrete, for example) and I also carry a list in my datebook with measurements and description to remind me (30" coffee table with bottom shelf, little ceramic bowls for cat dishes). I look for dishes and flatware that match my sets. Know what a comfortable shirt measures also for example in case you want to buy something without trying it on. Keep a measureing tape in your purse or in your car. I try to go to the stores in the town where my mom lives when I visit her. And luckily my dh doesn't mind stopping when we are traveling.
I too go when I want to have some fun and/or am in the mood to spend money. When I was young and needed lots of stuff (dishes furniture etc) I went a lot and bought a fair amount. Now that I'm older I'm more careful (except I love to redo lamps and have too many plus shades), and try to give at least as much as I acquire. Of course very silly things happen. Like the little vases I bought thinking they would replace the one of a set that I had broken, only to realize when I got home that these were mine that I had donated Months earlier so I still have a partial set, and they were no longer with the little stand. I'm not donating them again, I'm going to make something out of the darn things!
Jan I enjoyed reading about your family.
Have fun everyone!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2008 at 4:38PM
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Would love to survey you thrifters!! Hello, I've been gone from this forum for awhile but I'd like to share some info.

o Do you have a schedule and routine.. visit 1 x per week, etc. ?

I'm in a self imposed treatment. Sorta like AA I guess. Banned myself from thrift stores, goodwill, salvation army and yard sales this year. Been preety good so far, only fell off the wagon a few times. Back when I was a user, I had all the thrift stores memorized...what day they had 25 or 50% off. Also, the national holidays were good for store wide sales of at least 50% off. I could fill up a van on those days.

And don't forget the big box stores end of the season sales. They will drop prices by as much as 75%. Also, flea markets are fun and once you gather enough stuff, you can be a vendor there. Watch out, the influx of $1 stores really cuts into the market there tho. You try to sell something well made and the public only wants to pay dollar store prices for it. Guess quality don't matter anymore.

o are you willing to travel only a certain distance?
"Shucks once you are hooked, you will take the next exit off the freeway and drive back 10 miles for a city wide garage sale day. Or a flea market or even a nice looking garage sale sign."

o do you go routinely, or only when you are looking for something...

Back in the day, all I needed was a little boredom or an itch to go find some treasure I could not do without. Or tools and gadgets and supplies for a part time maintenance repair work that I do. Color tag days at the local salvation army store is good. I even got the manager to let me know what next weeks color would be so I could be there 1st thing in the morning on the first day of that tag.

I am looking for a Thrifting 101 class and have not been able to find it, so any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated!

It is a self study course. Just load your wallet or purse with dollar bills and fives. Don't pop a big denomination on a vendor or garage sale. Some don't have the extra cash to have a wad of ones. Thrift stores appreciate the ones and fives and once they get to know you will even thank you for changing their big bills.

If an item isn't tagged, don't worry about it. I pass it back to clerks I know or the manager. Usually someone removes the price sticker in the hope of getting it priced lower or they just remove it for fun. I don't haggle, especially at garage sales where I know the person is probably hurting. I'll even buy extra at some of those even tho I don't need it but I'll probably end up using it later anyway or I may resell it.

I also donate to a local free store. Just dropped off an large donation of household and clothes items. Much of it I over bought last year or the year before or just collected along the way. There are many who will end up using these things. It can help someone who is really hard up at this time or setting up a new household on little income. They also cater to homeless and things like warm clothes, mittens, gloves, hats, shampoo and other toiletries are very useful.

So, pop into a few thrift stores and browse.

It can be fun.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2008 at 7:58PM
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Thanks for the responses...I can see how it can be habit forming. I really had a 'lightbulb' moment recently. Why buy junk at Target when you can get higher quality items from the thrift store for less. I spent $6.00 at goodwill and got 4 glass containers/cloche covers and a crate and barrel small platter! Made in Italy.

I think a convert might have been born!!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2008 at 9:08PM
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WileyO ,I think you must have fallen off the wagon if you are loading up your wallet with $5-10's. Trick is to limit yourself. In Ca. we have GW but every donation goes to L.A. &very little "good" stuff comes out,think they have antique dealers that get 1st choice. So that leaves 1 TS nearby. GS or YS are great but prices are usually not real cheap. Rarely buy 25cent stuff, that is old magazines,plastic stuff from kitchen-pretty shot,dirty kids toys from fast food places. I can't believe some of stuff you guys & gals get for almost nothing. Sometimes happens at GS. OK,our GW man's short sleeve shirt is $5.98 they only have 1 price,longsleeved men's shirt $6.98 Same way with women's stuff. Kids stuff is mostly well worn.So I think very high! How does that compare with rest of country? Limit your spending by not taking lots of money with you, of course, if your dining table kicked off I guess you might be looking for necessary item, then it is OK to take more& a truck!!LOL Face it- you have a life long addiction & only thing that will slow you down is 1. too old to drive 2. broke your hip curb diving! Hope this helps!! Jan

    Bookmark   October 24, 2008 at 2:06AM
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We love yard saling, thrift shops not so much as the prices are higher there and quality lower. We live near a very small town so the thrifts/2nd hand shops are not very good. I've noticed thrift prices in the city have gone up over the last year.

We yard sale every Saturday morning from April thru September. It's something we miss if we are busy with other things. We usually do 6-12 yard sales a week altho when we lived in the city would do as many as 40. We used to buy and resell then. We don't travel as far afield now with the increase in gas prices. We only buy "what we can't live without" but it's sometimes amazing what we think we can't live without! ;) We regard it as a bit of a splurge considering the cost of gas but since we aren't extravagant in other ways it's entertainment for us. If I tire of my mostly home decor purchases I sell them in my yearly yard sale for the same price I paid. This year there were very few things I wanted to part with so only had a small sale.

I used to be in retail so have a fair idea of what some of these things cost new and there are real bargains to be had. I think one has to be fairly selective but if I love something and it's cheap I always get it.

If you like buying in these venues I hope you will be open to seeing the possibilities in objects. Many things can be repainted, repurposed, or improved upon in various ways. Lamps and chandeliers can be rewired if necessary. Furniture can be refinished, painted or reupholstered. My DH picked up a free old very shabby cast iron gate years ago and made me a lovely wall hanging. He took it apart, put the good pieces together, sanded and painted it and it's better than most that cost $100. If you are interested you could google trash to treasure and see what others are doing with "junk". There's a huge world out there where people use pre-owned items.

Some of the collections which I have acquired from yard sales very inexpensively are silver holloware (never pay more than $10 and usually less than $2 for anything), framed original oil paintings (these range from less than $1 to $20), handcrafted pottery items (25 cents to $1), cast iron cooking pots, glass fishing balls and shells. I also buy craft supplies, china, furniture, and home decor of various descriptions. I seldom find clothing I like but will buy if I like. I am amazed at the amount of Christmas decorations available at very cheap prices this year - I haven't bot any but found some nice things on a free table.

I'll often buy newish home decor magazines for 10-25 cents each just to read as we travel to the next yard sale. Picture frames are a real bargain and only need a spray of paint to look good. Baskets are free or cheap and some are really good.

My DH buys tools and fishing gear. He's gotten very good deals on a lot of things.

I don't know why anyone buys plant pots at full price when there are lots available at yard sales for a fraction of the price.

We like the environmental aspect of it also, there's way too much going in landfills unnecessarily.

We always take at least $200. and a cheque book "just in case" we find a really good buy on a large quality item of furniture. Also a large collection of change. We don't bargain much if prices are reasonable. If we are buying a lot of things or it's late in the day and they haven't lowered their high prices we may offer less. When items are overpriced we usually just keep going. I've been guilty of the "charity" buy too, but it's usually something I like, I just often pay the asking price which may be a little bit more than it should be.

I seldom buy home decor at retail altho love to look in stores and think to myself that I'll wait to get that in a yard sale!

    Bookmark   October 25, 2008 at 1:23AM
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o Do you have a schedule and routine.. visit 1 x per week, etc. ?

I stop at one S A on the way home from work pretty much every wednesday, when everything but new arrivals is 50% off - at my old job, I had a SA, a GW, and a 'red, white, and blue' in 'lunching' distance, so I would hit a different one each week.

weekends I'm not working, I try and hit one of the four local flea markets, and I DO brake for yard sales ;)

o are you willing to travel only a certain distance?

I'm spoiled - I've got everything from serious antiques (domestic and foreign, spanning maybe 400 years...) to Plato's Closet to a Rescue Mission -rummage-by-the-pound within a dozen miles of my house, so over the years, I've set myself limits- yard saling on the way to do laundry, or on the way to work, pop in at the GW three blocks from my crafting buddy's house on my way there, that sort of things

o do you go routinely, or only when you are looking for something...

always looking for something - twin sets and Monet prints for my mother, size 8 Barami blazers for my law-firm-working best friend, dress-up clothes for my god daughters, anything made by Outback Red, or J Peterman whether it fits or not, scraps of Fortuney fabrics (don't laugh, it's happened...) and older, or nicer copies of favorite books...

I've also made friends with a few vendors who trade me 'digging' rights in their junk jewelry bins (I will sit around and pair up earrings for them, and walk away with a handful of loose vintage glass beads for a buck) and I scout for them - one wants old postcards and matchbooks, one wants specific Stengl patterns, that sort of thing.

then again - I didn't know I needed a new stick blender until I met one at a yard sale that had multiple blades, a food processor attachment, and stuff I haven't played with yet (and the manual) for $5 ;)

but now my mom's making frothy hot cocoa with my old one, and is quite excited by it :)

    Bookmark   October 26, 2008 at 8:57PM
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