2 Cool Chicks Share Their Thrifting Tips

Thrifting is one of my favorite pastimes. I just moved into a new house and have been spending nearly every free moment prowling the aisles for necessary items to furnish and decorate my home. (And myself, because who are we kidding.) I’m a good thrifter, but I am no means an expert. So I asked two of my good friends for their best thrifting tips and tricks. If you’re Minneapolis-based like me, this will be extra-pertinent for you, but even if you aren’t there’s wisdom to be had.

MEGHAN

Highplainsthrifter.net

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My friend Meghan runs a blog dedicated to thrifting! She’s a real pro. I’ve gotten several of my favorite vintage dresses thanks to her talents and keen eye.

What’s your strategy? How often do you go to the thrifts?

I’m pretty vigilant about keeping a running a list of things I need–materials for projects, gifts, things for the house, particular pieces of clothing I’m hunting for. Keeping this all on my phone helps me focus, and ensures a more efficient thrift-trip. I’m still prone to wandering off but I can always come back to my list if I get off-track. I try to thrift as often as my schedule allows, which can be anywhere from once to four times a week. There’s nothing I love more than a Saturday morning spent with friends, driving around and hitting a whole bunch of spots.

Do you stop at certain stores for certain things? Like this one is good for home stuff, this is good for clothes?

Absolutely! My store reviews are structured to give my readers a sense of what each store is best at. Some have huge furniture sections that are always fully stocked, which others are really best at books, or clothes, or housewares.

What makes thrifting such a passion of yours? What’s the draw for you?

I was raised by a single mom, who, for the majority of my childhood, supported our family working as an artist. Needless to say, money was tight, and thrifting was just what we did. Growing up that way has made it incredibly hard for me to stomach the prices I see in stores for new items. And as I got older, I realized how much value there is in the uniqueness of thrifted stuff. The beautiful way a wooden bowl is worn, the texture of the upholstery on an old sofa, the gorgeous cut of a skirt–there can be so much thoughtful detail and patina in items you see at the thrift you just don’t get in stuff that’s fresh off the shelf. Plus, old stuff’s built to last!! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people over who don’t thrift, and they just marvel at how “beautiful” and “nice” everything is, and I’m all like, “hello, I got that 10 years ago at a rummage sale for $1!” It doesn’t have to cost a lot to surround yourself with beautiful things!

Do you get disappointed and cranky like I do when you don’t find anything?

Not at all, especially now that I’m out of the resale business. I’m just happy to be out thrifting!

If someone is just starting to thrift, what are your biggest tips for them? (One of mine is wear a cross-body bag! Then you don’t have some huge purse thumping alongside you.)

Make a list before you go. Don’t rush yourself (or let others rush you). Get comfortable with the idea of repurposing items in ways they weren’t originally intended for. Go often. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t strike gold each and every time!

When you’re buying vintage clothing, what do you look for? What’s important to note on a garment?

A minute or two of inspection can save you major buyer’s remorse! First, try to find the best light possible, either in front of the store by a window or in a well-lit dressing room. Hold up the item and check the front and back for visible stains, holes, etc. Test out any zippers, buttons, buckles or clasps. Check the hems to make sure they’re intact. Holes are common in armpits, so check those too! If you do spot damage, think long and hard about how realistic it is you’ll address it, and how much that’ll add to the final cost of the item.

How much of your wardrobe is thrifted? How about your home?

With the exception of shoes and lingerie, pretty much everything I wear has been bought secondhand. The scenario’s similar when it comes to my home. I just bought a new mattress, but other than that, everything from my sofa to my silverware is used.

ALEXANDRIA

@ampersandria

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My adorable “little sister” Alexandria (aka Ampersandria) constantly amazes me with her massive selection of rad vintage clothing. Plus, her job lets her travel the country so she’s always hitting thrift stores across America. I’m jealous.

What’s your strategy? How often do you go to the thrifts?

Too often. If I’m not working, I’m probably thrifting. It’s an addiction. It’s therapeutic. I should really get another hobby. 

Do you stop at certain stores for certain things?

Definitely. I’ve found that Goodwill’s usually better for Homegoods and Salvation Army’s for clothes. SA is cheaper, but they play preachy gospel music that hurts my ears. 

What makes thrifting such a passion of yours? What’s the draw for you?

I’m a self-proclaimed cheapskate & a collector. I’d much rather have 20 items for $100 vs. 1 item for $100. 

What’s the very best thing you’ve ever found?

I bought a sweet mid-century desk for $20. Got it home, opened the drawer, found a $20 bill in it, and a PAUL MCCOBB PLANNER GROUP label in it. Sold it on craigslist for $500. That was a really good day. 

What are your best thrifting tips?

There are discount days for students. If you still have your student ID, they never check to see if it’s expired or, take your grandmother thrifting on the senior discount days. If your grandma is dead or busy, find a temporary grandma at Old Country Buffet. 

How much of your wardrobe is thrifted?

90%. I even buy my bras from the thrift store! gross, right? 

How do you wear vintage so frequently without looking costumey?

No shame in my costumey game. I embrace it. TC mark

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  • http://buildmindsandfinances.wordpress.com staciasymone

    Hey Chrissy,

    My sister loves shopping at three thrift stores in particular. Before, when I saw some of her cute outfits, I’d say “Where’d ya get that?? ”

    “The thrift store.”

    Now, I’m up there myself. The prices are ridiculously amazing. We have a thrift store out here(Metro Atlanta) that has .25 Thursdays! Meaning all clothing is .25. Their selection is not only broad, but really nice.

    I love being able to have those beautiful things in life without having to dish out those crazy amounts.

    I liked reading your answers. Honestly, I like the idea of a Q&A post altogether.

    You’ve inspired me.

    I have a lot to say, but if I’m allowed, I WILL ramble so I’ll ask my readers what they’d like to talk about or if they have anything they’d like me to answer. :-)

    Great post!

    -Staci

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