My husband has an inexplicable fondness for antique electronics, and has been dragging me to countless thrift stores for years now. I dreaded these outings until one day I walked over to one of the clothes racks hoping to perhaps pick up a funky vintage sweater. I was surprised to find that the clothes were newer and often nicer than what I had in my closet. Thus began my thrift store love affair, and with it a significant wardrobe upgrade and drop in expenses. However, this effect wasn’t immediate and I had to learn how to find the good stuff. Read on to find out how to do just that.
Locating a Good Thrift Store
Not all thrift stores are created equal, and while some have great inventory others are filled to the brim with junk. Therefore, you have to do a little homework and scope out the good ones. Yelp frequently has the most accurate and detailed thrift stores reviews, so that may be a good place to start depending upon your location. If Yelp isn’t widely used in your area, you can also check out Google or Yellow Pages. Goodwill stores are consistently pretty good so are worth looking into regardless of your location. After you’ve shortlisted a few stores, try them out and see if they carry what you’re looking for. Try to visit each on a couple of occasions as stock tends to fluctuate, and one visit may not be enough to tell which ones are good.
Finding the Best Stuff
Thrift stores regularly put new merchandise out, so you will want to visit often – I go about once a week, although you don’t have to be quite so religious as that. The best inventory tends to be snapped up pretty quickly, so it’s best to go on weekdays when there are fewer people shopping. You may even be able to find out what days the store puts out new inventory by looking on the store’s website, reading reviews or perhaps talking to the employees. By going when there’s fresh stuff out, you’ll have first pick.
Making the Final Call
Although thrifting can score you a great wardrobe at bottom dollar, you have to be selective to keep from ending up with a closet full of clothes you never wear. Make sure that things are in good condition by checking whether the fabric is frayed or worn at the edges and seams, and ensuring that the color isn’t faded. Also make sure that what you’re buying fits and is something you can actually see yourself wearing. It’s tempting sometimes to buy something simply because it is a good deal – I ended up with a coat that was very expensive new, but looks like a rug. It hangs unworn in my closet to this day. Resist this urge and be judicious about what you buy.
By scoping out the right spot, making sure that you have first pick of the good stuff and exercising a little good judgment, you’ll be able to build a great wardrobe at a fraction of the original price.