It all started after my mother graduated from college in 1979. With a teaching degree in hand, a student loan to pay off, and a family to support, she began shopping at thrift stores.
We had fun those Saturday mornings, going through our community’s small thrift stores. Over time we bought everything we needed: clothes, shoes, towels, dishes, and small appliances. Now as an adult, I continue to shop at thrift stores for my family and myself. Why? Thrift shopping is a great way to make your dollar stretch too. In time, you will discover you love hunting for your needed items and all you can get for a little money. For instance, my lightly used Levi’s 540 jeans were $5.50 a pair at my local second-hand shop. Online – even at an incredible deal – they cost $39.50 for two pairs.
When looking for clothes while second hand shopping, it’s wise to keep a few things in mind including that it takes persistence, time and a sharp eye:
Second-hand stores are a great way to get name brand clothing
This is especially if your teenager is into labels. In addition, brand name clothing can usually be counted on to provide quality fabric and closures, thus increasing the bargain.
check the clothing’s stress points
If clothes are going to give out too soon, it’s likely going to be at the stress points — knees, elbows, underarms, etc. — to make sure they can withstand another wearing
Run zippers up and down to ensure they work
Check to make sure buttons are intact and snaps work. If you have the skill and time to replace zippers, buttons and snaps, feel free to take the defective garment home. Perhaps you’ll get a discount on the item. Ask and see.
Try the clothing on
It’s no bargain if you get it home and it doesn’t fit.
Strive for a timeless fashion look when shopping for professional clothing
Straight skirts and pants, medium-width lapels, and simple blouses or shirts are easy to find and will look great.
Children’s clothing is a true bargain
Nice school clothes can be found for a few dollars — as well as clothes for the growth spurt later in the school year. If you see something you like for your child, but it’s the next size up, take it! You can store these clothes for later.
There is usually a no-return policy
Most second hand stores won’t have a return policy, and if they do, it’s going to be a very limited one. Be sure you know the store’s policy before you purchase. If you’re not sure you’re in love with an item, leave it at the store.
Most second-hand stores rotate their stock as the seasons change
Halloween and autumn items are at the stores around here, and the second-hand shops followed accordingly by offering sweaters, warm pants and light jackets. Shorts and tank tops are in short supply.
Second-hand stores are the best place to shop for a Halloween costume
You can be creative or find a ready-made costume.
Make a foot outline
When shopping for shoes without your child or spouse, draw an outline of his/her feet (with socks on, if that’s how the shoe will be worn) and use that drawing to size the shoe.
It’s always a great idea to run the clothes through the laundry before adding them to your closets. While the clothes that you buy should be clean, it never hurts to be on the safe side.
Finally, you should be proud of the bargains you’ve netted in your second-hand shopping endeavors. You’ll find other people visit second-hand shops too, and soon you’ll be comparing stores and the great bargains you’ve found.
(Image courtesy of prone_to_wander)