Like a moth to a flame, I love sales and deals of any kind. From bargain fruit to last chance book bins, I can’t say no. The euphoria I experience from scoring that perfect find at a great price is unlike anything, and the best places to find deals are in flea markets and thrift stores. But, navigating through the packed-out bargain stores can be a daunting task. Especially when the only thing between you and that prized piece means delving into piles and piles of recycled goods. Through research and experience, I have found easy ways to uncover that hidden gem you’ve been looking for.
Know What You’re Looking For – Going to a thrift store and hoping for the best, doesn’t always garner the best results. I like to have an idea of what I’m looking for and then browse the isle keeping those items in mind. Books, dishes, and clothing items all become easier to comb through when you know what you want. Most of the time, it keeps me from frivolous purchases and I can cut my browsing time in half.
Location, Location, Location – You’re not always going to hit it out of the park at the first stop, so don’t be afraid to put in the mileage to get what you want. Have a list of the best thrift stores in your area and hit all three in the same day. Start at your favorite location or the closest location to you, and then move out from there. You never know what one location might be holding that you didn’t find at another.
Fully Charged – Make sure your phone has a high battery charge. I know this may seem like a weird one, but your phone will come in handy more than you might think. You might want to have examples on hand to look at while you browse. You might also need to snap a few pictures of the items and send them to friends for a second opinion.
The Lone Wolf vs. The Buddy System – It is important to know your shopping style. Are you better at finding deals on your own, or do you score that killer piece with a group of your best girlfriends? I, personally, love to do all of my serious thriftng alone. I’m more focused, I feel more free to take my time, and I generally trust myself to make a good decision concerning a certain piece I’m on the fence about.
Don’t Sweat It – We all have made a thrift store purchase that we’ve regretted. My advise? Don’t sweat it. If it wasn’t that big of a purchase, you can always donate it back to the store or give it out as a gift to someone you know. If it’s a bigger-ticket item, you could fix it up (if it’s needed) and then sell it to make a little money on an honest mistake.