Thursday, January 6, 2011

Thrift Store Junkies Series - TheThriftShopper.Com & Tips

We know a lot of our fellow Thrifters are always on the lookout for sweet thrift store finds, so we thought we’d dedicate a posts to some thrift store helps for gently (or not so gently) used home furnishings and decor. Goodwill & Salvation Army have their fair share of Goodwill and Salvation Army stores but we’ve also have purchased furniture or home accessories from other independent thrift stores in our area. So we’re here to share the goods on how we find our thrift shops. And hopefully this thrift store tour will inspire you to test the thrifting waters and ask your friends about their favorite thrifting haunts- or even make a girls or couples weekend dedicated to hitting up a bunch of thrift stores that you find or your very own favorite haunts. Happy thrifting…

We’ve must dedicate this first thrifting post to our absolute favorite guide: TheThriftShopper.Com. Oh yeahhhhhh….

TheThriftShopper.Com has been a huge help to us locating all the thrift shops within our area. We try to find some that are not as popular in hopes that we will find a goodie with great prices. Pricing has become an issue as some Goodwill locations (they are not regulated by corporate Goodwill) have started to, shall I say, get greedy? We have written previously about this here and sent a call out for comments on what you think. The results? A resounding number of our readers agreed that Goodwill is getting pricy at some locations.

Anyway, back to TheThriftShopper.Com…It’s got several worthwhile featuresa Thrift Store Directory, a really great links section, The Thrift Shopper Forum (our personal fav), and TheThriftShopper.Com’s Thrift Industry Forum. I happened upon TheThriftShopper.Com once when I Googled thrift shops and we’ve been hooked ever since. For you novices reading this and starting into thrifting, it bears mentioning that not everything is a treasure. Sometimes one man’s trash is another man’s trash too. And definitely be prepared to dig around a little and get dirty. Consider it a treasure hunt.

Peruse the Thrift Shopper Forum and you will find wealth of information from other experienced thrifters. From overpricing to Pyrex addictions (appropriately called Pyrexia), there is some great information. Searching the forums myself, I discovered they have another site called Thrift Shop O Rama – a venue for sellers and buyers. Check out this beauty of a Vera Bradley bag. It’s way cute and it could be the perfect compliment to an outfit. As I have no knowledge of Vera Bradley bags, I am unaware if the price ($25) is good or not. Now, this is a new site and, I believe, there is only one individual selling at this time. But given the astronomical fees on ebay, I see the potential for more sellers.

As you start thrifting, you may want to consider my tips:

  1. I keep a notebook that lists projects I’d like to do and items I am looking for while thrifting. That’s not to say my eyes aren’t open for other potential deals. Believe me, I am always on the lookout.
  2. Take a camera. You may not be sure if a piece will work with what you have in mind and taking a photo helps. Keep in mind, though, it may be gone when you finally do make up your mind and go back.
  3. Take a tape measure. Again, you may have something in mind but may need to know if it will fit. For example, we are looking for a dresser to convert to a bath vanity. Since this is an existing bathroom, we have to work within the proportions of said bathroom.  Figuring out where something will go in your home is a good idea before you get to the checkout to purchase yet another table that you have no place for.
  4. Haggling is okay at most stores. I always haggle. If you do happen to fall for something that seems a bit pricey, we’ve had extremely good luck haggling for a better deal here (as in, they’ve never said no but it still may not be where you want it to be). If you’re like Dave, you’ll haggle even if something’s already a steal. He once haggled a deal on 2 stools that were $20 and got it down to $5… that’s my man! I've even been known to be sneaky about my haggling. We have a thrift shop we go to and there is a sign up saying the prices are already low so do not try to haggle. Like any thrift shop, for the most part that is true. In this case the item I wanted was way overpriced. $20 for a used jacket. As we were at the checkout (remember the sign, no haggling), I start to talk to hubs about how I really love that jacket but will not pay that. Of course the cashier overhears and asks how much. After I tell her, she says $10. SOLD.
  5. I have a small binder filled with my print of the current thrift locations found from TheThriftShopper.Com (be sure to update this periodically) and keep one in our vehicle so it’s ready when we are.

So that’s our quick profile of TheThriftShopper.Com, one of favorite thrifting helps. Stay tuned for more thrift helps in the future. And we’d love to hear what you guys think about thrifting, your favorite haunts, favorite finds, whatever you want to share. Do tell

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