My Secret Thrifting Tips

Ever wonder why every time you go thrifting, you end up with a big pile of novelty items and some mom jeans? Check out my secret tips on finding your next major thrifting score.

1. Context:   It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the hideousness that engulfs the racks- you know, like the muumuus, Christmas sweaters and stretched out bicycle shorts. In a hurry to sift through it all, you might accidentally skip over your new favorite piece so try to make a day for thrifting when no one is waiting for you and you can take your time.  That crazy ’80s sweater could look hip with an edgy haircut and designer ankle boots.

2. Consider Alterations:    Don’t abandon the perfect vintage cocktail dress only because it’s a size too big. Maybe you love the color and cut of that blouse, but the sleeves are overwhelmingly puffy? For the $3 you’re probably spending, it could be worth it to visit a tailor.

3. Shop Off-Season:    Think ahead and shop for summer items in winter. You’ll find the best deals and have a better selection. Winter coats are plentiful and purchased for pennies in August. The same would go for vintage sun dresses during January.

4. Find Your Local Thrift Outlet:    Most well-established thrift store “chains” like Goodwill and Salvation Army will have outlets.  This is the magical land where all clothes are $1-$3. The ladies at the Goodwill Outlet told me their clothes only get one week at full-price store racks before they get bundled up and shipped to the outlet. My favorites include Thrift Trader and $2 Thrill— you know where I’m going with this….

5. Wear Your “Thrifting Uniform”:    Be prepared for long fitting room lines (or possibly no fitting rooms) by wearing something that is comfy and easy to try things on over. I like leggings and slip-on flats. Throw a flexible sewing tape in your bag for taking measurements if you are so inclined.

6. Don’t Confine Yourself to only the Women’s Clothing Section:   For petites, check out the kids section for a shrunken blazer look or possibly a dress you can wear as a top. Maybe head over to the men’s section where you can find oversized cardigans or a colorful necktie.  Make a necktie headband.

7. Gravitate Toward Thrift Shops That Are Off the Beaten Path:   Look for thrift stores near ritzy retirement communities and small suburban towns.  This is your best chance to find a hidden gem.

8. Get a Rapport Going With Your Cashier:   Most thrift stores don’t have a set-in-stone pricing structure.  Striking up a conversation with the cashier can’t hurt, especially if you visit on a regular basis. If the employees get to know you, they may be willing to set aside that elusive Kate Spade tote you’ve been on the hunt for.


9. Go Thrifting Off-Hours:    If you don’t thrift on a regularly, you’re just asking to miss out on stuff. Thrift stores get new stock daily, so be vigilant. Better yet, find out which days the “new” merchandise gets put out. Arrive early and be ready for the hunt.

Cheers Everyone & Happy Thrifting! Let me know how you all are doing.   -jody-

Local & Worldwide Thrifting Resources

  Local and worldwide thrifting resources:

Freecycle is a grassroots world wide organization that helps people exchange used items at no cost. You can locate a group in your community and join, then participate by offering items or find items you can use. Freecyclers help each other by exchanging goods and they help the planet by keeping stuff out of landfills.  I am part of the local San Diego Freecycle Network and they definitely have a lot to offer.  Tonite I received emails “advertising” free TV’s, baby clothes and gift wrap.
Charity Shops managed by Goodwill, the Salvation Army and schools, churches or synagogues offer bargains on clothing, books, housewares and furniture plus your purchase helps fund humanitarian programs sponsored by the organization running the shop. Goodwill Industries also has an online auction service similar to E-bay called www.shopgoodwill.com.
Flea Markets are everywhere!  You can find them in small towns, in city parking lots, in large arenas and inside warehouse buildings.
Resale Shops offer used goods for sale like a regular store. Some shops take items on consignment from the owner; others buy and sell used merchandise of all sorts from consumers or other resellers.
Auctions offer all sorts of opportunities for buying and selling used goods. You can find local auction listings in any community newspaper or merchandising flyer. Most auction advertisements list the type of items to be offered at the sale.  Some flea markets also have an on site auction house or area for auction sales.

Online Auctions (E-bay plus many more) offer a huge range of items in a database. You can search through categories by keyword or simply browse until you find what you like, then you can bid on and pay for your winning bid selection using your computer. You can also sell what you don’t need. Be sure to check out the terms and conditions of each service prior to signing up or making a purchase. Shipping terms should be evaluated if you live far from the seller.
Tag Sales ( yard sales) are one of the most interesting places to find junk-tiques. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.

Salvation Army No.6 Boutique-3240 Sports Arena Blvd-San Diego, CA 92110

Salvation Army Store No 6 & Boutique

3240 Sports Arena Blvd
San Diego, CA 92110-4528
(619) 758-1716

I walked into the Salvation Army “boutique” on Sports Arena Boulevard with low expectations and was surprised that I actually found a few cute items.  There is really no sense of order in this place so be prepared to “dig.”

I was greeted by a lot of furniture and assorted odds and ends right off the bat.  As far as furniture is concerned– most of it was old and kind of messed up.  There was a men’s section, a kids section and a section for assorted housewares/kitchenwares. There was a new kids bike that was priced at $29- someone grabbed that right in front of my eyes!

Of course, there was plenty of women’s clothing and shoes.  The clothing was a mixed bag of really weird, dirty items and a few nicer things tossed in.  Again, be prepared to dig thru the weird items and there is the occasional decent outfit to be found.  I found a skirt and top that would definitely be wearable– the top & skirt were $6.49 for each item- extremely budget friendly.