Whether you're looking for housewares, new clothes, or even shoes, the thrift store is often the most eco-friendly option. Why spend the energy and money on something brand new from a big box store when there are perfectly good, gently-used products out there?
The trick with thrifting is that those beautiful gems are usually buried amid horrible capri pants, mumus, and other undesirable items. Never fear! With a few tricks up your sleeve, you can really take thrifting to a new level and come home with some awesome scores.
Don't be afraid to travel.
In-town thrift stores are often not even worth the visit. They're normally picked over by savvy shoppers looking for the same types of hip items that are on your list. If you can, hit up thrift stores out in the suburbs. Those shops are much lower traffic, and your odds of scoring something amazing are much better.
If you can't hop a bus or train to those more remote shops, why not pile into the car with some friends and make a day of it? I bet they could use some thrifty goodies too, and it's much more fun to stumble upon a gold sequined pantsuit if there's someone around to laugh with.
Think outside the box.
Sometimes the best finds are diamonds in the rough. Remember that mumu I knocked a few paragraphs up? Raise the hem, add a wide belt, and you might just have a new favorite dress!
Depending on your sewing skills, you can really get a lot of mileage out of thrift store finds that aren't quite right. A hem here, a pin tuck there, and you've got something new, cute, and 100% unique.
If you're not much of a seamstress, you can still make some less than perfect finds work. Maybe that dress looks frumpy when it falls mid-calf, but you could hem it up with some stitch witchery and turn it into a sassy number.
The housewares section is usually full of items with kitschy cuteness or crafty potential. Could you glue that candlestick to this cute saucer to make a cupcake stand? Maybe that odd gravy boat would look cool with some succulents planted inside!
Thrifting ain't easy. Sometimes it takes a bit of digging to come up with good finds. This is an area where having friends along can make all the difference. Take your time, and have fun! Before you know it, you'll have a basket full of thrifty scores.
It might take a few tries to find your favorite thrift store, but once you do, you'll want to visit frequently. Most shops restock on a weekly basis, so there's always something new. You might even want to get bold and ask when their shipments come in and try to hit the store that day for the best scores.
Do you have a favorite thrifty score? Mine right now is a slim, 1940s dress with big buttons on the fronts of the shoulders. It cost $4, and I've already worn it to two weddings!
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by gnosis