Monday, September 3, 2012

Thrifting Tips 101

This past weekend I met with one of my lovely fellow blogger friends in Ithaca for lunch.  Jessica is a fashion and lifestyle blogger over at The State Street Edit.  She is a fantastically talented writer and photographer, and is just as wonderful in real life!  She's the one who supported me during my very nerve-wracking decision to upgrade my camera, and reading her blog has inspired me to tackle fashion and jewelry-related projects more often.

After lunch we also scoped out a second-hand store (FOUND--totally worth the stop if you're in the area), which has inspired me to throw together some of my best thrifting tips.  A while ago I compiled some Craigslist tips, so be sure to check those out too.

1. Get acquainted with the second-hand and thrift stores in your area.  I've typically found that each store "specializes" in specific things.  For example, one store may always have a great selection of furniture, whereas another one has a huge selection of belts and scarves, and a third might have a killer collection of kitchenware and lamps.  By knowing what each one has to offer up front, you can cut down on your search time.

2.  Don't discount antique stores.  Antique stores are also a great source for finds, especially if you're looking for something specific.  Their prices are going to be higher than thrift stores, but most of them are willing to work with you.  Which brings me to #3...

3. Ask if they are flexible with the price.  This is especially true of antique stores and dealers.  I think that a lot of them build in a flex-factor into their prices specifically for this purpose--so just ask!  Jessica picked up a sweet vintage camera the other day and got $10 off the price just because she asked what they could do for her.  Soooo worth it!

4. Check out garage and estate sales.  By far, the absolute best deals that I've ever found have been at garage and estate sales.  People post garage sales on Craigslist (and I'm sure that there are other sites too).  If there is one in your area--stop by!  All it takes is 2 minutes to check it out.  Estate sales are better than garage sales because they are selling off the entire contents of a house, rather than trying to get rid of select stuff that they don't want anymore.  Older people have better stuff than younger people because they are usually trying to downsize...young people usually don't want to get rid of their "best" stuff (I know that I don't!).  Old neighborhoods are better than housing developments because  younger families tend to living in the housing developments.  On the flip-side, if you're looking for kiddie stuff, you should definitely go to the younger neighborhoods!

5. Browse browse browse!  By shopping around (both in store and online) you will get a good idea of what's a deal and what's not.  I got two brand new round cake pans for $1 each last month--they go for at least $8+ each in stores.  I also scored three of these lovely old light fixtures for $10 total, and all they needed was a quick paint with some of Krylon's "brushed nickel".  Even the cheapest dome lights go for $20-30 in stores these days, and aren't nearly attractive as these guys!

6. Keep a mental list of what you're looking for.  This will help you cut down on random purchases. Things that I'm always looking for are: mid century modern furniture, vintage linens, unique picture frames, cool glassware (like Pyrex), and any fun costume jewelry.  Anything truly unique and functional is also fair game.

7. Keep an open mind about things.  That $2 mini trashcan may be an absolutely awful brass color, but that's nothing that a can of spray paint can't fix!  Those suckers go for $20 in stores these days, so it's totally worth it.  A vintage tablecloth that's got a stain in the middle of it can be cut up into smaller pieces and hemmed around the edges to make some sweet hand towels.  And those cute little flower bowls will be great organizers in my drawers for jewelry and beads.  (well, the biggest one could also work as an ice cream bowl!)

So now you know all of my tips and tricks.  I hope that they encourage you to go out and thrift some deals sometime soon!

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad we got to meet up! And Found was amazing - I'm definitely headed back there now that I know there's something behind Wegmans :)