View Full Version : First real trip to the thrift store

7-14-11, 6:20pm
Okay, I did it. An ADVENTURE. Went to our local St. Vennies, I have given them TONS of stuff over the years.

Shopping to get something to hold our kitchen scraps before I take them to the compost pile.

St. Vinnies had a huge book section - all sorted by subject just like the book store. Mental note to go back before our vacation to find a "new book".

Didn't really find a container for my needs, but found two "summer shirts" I was looking for a couple lightweight ss shirts. Found two like new, just like I was looking for, $ 3.34 each. Such a deal. I took by big find to the front and BINGO 1/2 price day - $ 1.67 EACH whoo hoo. I went home just as proud as if I had been to MACY's. DW was in the bedroom and I told her all about my exciting trip to the thrift store. I pulled my big find out of the bags. She said, Hmm, haven't heard of that brand before, "had I tried them on"? Ahh NO, didn't even think of that, but it was my size (XL). Shirt #1. TIGHT, but not bad, I could suck in my pride and wear it. Shirt #2, REALLY TIGHT, psssssssssssssssst (air going out of my excitment).

Crap and I was so excited about my big cheapo purchase. Apparently not all XL's are the same...DW worked in Polo section at Macy's and said many big brands cut them bigger to make you feel better.

So today, I had to go to DMV for work, right next to a BIG Goodwill. I learned not all thrift stores are the same - all the men's clothes were well worn.

I can see how this would be an adventure. Even my dd (whose best friend's mother is a big thrift store person), got excited about going to look. This is a stark change from "a store full of creepers" on her first visit...my wife had taken her last year to look for "pioneer blouses" before girls camp.

7-14-11, 7:31pm
welcome to this fabulous world. Just start adventuring and you will hardly ever pay retail again.

7-14-11, 8:24pm
I just presented my beloved with a like-new cherry red LL Bean chamois shirt, a royal blue long-sleeved tee with tags intact, and another long-sleeved pullover in a vaguely ethnic stripe, all courtesy of my local Value Village. Congratulations on a semi-successful first foray!

7-14-11, 8:53pm
Right on Greg!! Thrift stores and garage sales are the best!

7-14-11, 9:17pm
http://www.smileyshut.com/Signs/pfff-0020.gif http://www.smileyshut.com/Signs/muhahaha-0021.gif http://serve.mysmiley.net/sign/sign0157.gif
There's hope for you yet Greg44! Welcome to the Royal Order! http://serve.mysmiley.net/sign/sign0173.gif

7-14-11, 9:43pm
I'm truly amazed you've never done this before! But, yes, it is an adventure and you never know what you will find. And you right, not all thrift stores are the same.

7-14-11, 10:08pm
my 24 yr old daughter bought 3 summer dresses for work and church which were just like new. It helps that she wears a tiny size 4. I know she paid less than $20 total. I also know from experience if you wear a more common size, you need to visit much more often to find something. It is an adventure, glad you enjoyed!

7-14-11, 10:21pm
Greg.....next time, wear a lightweight T-shirt, which will allow you to slip on any prospective shirt purchases, even if there are no fitting rooms at that thrift store.

One thing about thrift stores....while sometimes you can walk in and the Universe will present you with exactly what you've been looking for, more likely is that you have to have an open mind about what you could use, and might need in the near future, and scan offerings with that in mind.

It also helps, with stuff like pants, to carry a fabric tape measure in your pocket, so you can whip it out to check waist measurements, etc. Alternatively, if you're not overweight, you can kind of wrap the waist of the pants (while zipped up and buttoned) around your neck, as most necks are about half the waist measurement, plus some ease in the pants.

Congratulations on your first foray......once you make that first BIG FIND, you'll be hooked, and thrift stores and yard sales will never be the same, and always on your radar, wherever you go. And the money you will save will be tremendous.........

between thrift stores, yard sales and Craigslist, we live quite a wealthy life on a modest dividends and interest income. YAY secondhand stuff. It saves in so many ways. Not just in money, but environmentally and good for the earth, in resources not wasted, landfills not filled so quickly, good stuff allowed to live out its lifespan, just a great deal all the way around.

You'll quickly get smarter about what brands to look for, how to estimate if something will fit, what to wear when thrift store shopping to allow for quick try-ons, etc. It's a skill, like anything else. At first you make mistakes, but the learning curve is quick, and there are great things out there waiting for you, trust me.

My "new" pocketbook is a lovely, just like brand new LeSportsac, gotten at a local thrift store for one dollar.....I checked the LeSportsac website, and there was my pocketbook, for SEVENTY-EIGHT BUCKS.......it's beautiful........(thank you anonymous clotheshorse donor with either a big paycheck, rich husband or lots of credit card debt)...... ;-)

iris lily
7-15-11, 12:58am
That is excellent, Greg! Yes, the stores vary a lot.

We buy most of DH's work clothes at thrift stores. I can always get DH button shirts because he's between a Med & Large so Large always fits. So, he'll send me to the thrift store with an order to pick up 4 winter shirts or 4 summer shirts and it is astonishing how many nice ones are in stock. But I've had no luck getting blue jeans for him because 90% of jeans are for women. Now, Value Village which is a for profit thrift store (with prices a little higher, and a little higher standards) will sort jeans by gender and size so I've found more men's products there, but finding DH's 34" x 30" jeans are hard.

7-15-11, 1:06am
There seems to be a lot of competition in the thrift stores in our area - Especially between Goodwill and St. Vincient de Paul, with a Value Village not that far away - all within lunch time searching ;)

7-15-11, 4:36am
Welcome to the thrift store fan club. One of the highlights of our trips back to Seattle is always a run to Value Village!


7-15-11, 8:28am
Yes, variety not only in stores but also in sizing. It cracks me up that I can wear a Wal-Mart blazer in size 16, and a Jones New York blazer in a size 8, and they'll fit me just the same! I never understood why women were saying "I dieted and now I fit into a Size 1," when I could see that they had virtually the same body stats as me! Have fun...thrift stores can be SO useful. I used to use them only for clothes, and then I figured out that they can also come in handy for kitchen/dining supplies, office supplies, luggage and furniture!

7-15-11, 9:23am
Our home is furnished with Goodwill finds - most of it very well made vintage. My clothes, dishes, cookware, etc., nearly all from GW, etc. Know your style, brands, and definitely try things on. I find Eileen Fisher garments all the time, as well as cashmere sweaters, which I LOVE. EF silk pants that retails for $230, for $6. SOmetimes I spend another $15 to take something to the dry cleaners if I cannot wash it - wool jackets, etc.

It's so worth the hunt.

7-15-11, 3:13pm
I prefer yard sales because prices seem to be better, but thrift stores can be wonderful places. Many of my clothes are from such stores. There is a wonderful one not that far from here, and I stop often to see what they have. They draw their donations from more affluent areas, so much of their stuff is better. Unfortunately they have had a change in managers a year or so ago, so their prices went up, and 'specials' are less good. But, they are still well worth shopping.

I know many people would never consider wearing clothes that a stranger has worn before.... and I am thankful lots of these people exist - it cuts down on competition for the 'good stuff'. ;)

7-15-11, 4:48pm
Good for you for sharing your excitement with us! Oh wonderful adventures await you..clothes, books, kitchen gear...the list marches on...our little town is rich with thrift stores to support various non-profits and with careful sleuthing, it's easy enough to pick up top designer labels lightly or sometimes never worn...my clothes closet bulges--time to recycle and return some of my finds...I donate my non-keeper books to the Friends of the Library for their book sales...

7-15-11, 6:49pm
I scoped out the local Value Village on my lunch. I think that clothes and books will probably be my main interest. Being a minimalist at heart, I will continue to be primarily a thrift store "supplier"!

I don't mind the idea of used clothing...that is what fills my closet, my used clothes! I like the idea of taking a measuring tape. I need a better CD holder, but it has to fit in a cabinet, so I need to measure the space.

Do thrift stores have "better days" for shopping, certain days they get shippments?

7-16-11, 5:35pm
Originally posted by Greg44.
Do thrift stores have "better days" for shopping, certain days they get shippments? Yes, they absolutely do. You'll have to get to know your own thrift store for that, as to whittlling down the best times to stop by, but one thing I will say is, the next time you're visiting the thrift store, drop in to see the ladies in the back (who organize, clean, and set out all the goods) and just smile at them, the same smile as shown in your pic! You'll be in like flynn! :) They'll let you in on when the best times to drop by are. (I'm serious).

7-16-11, 6:21pm
Yes, they absolutely do. You'll have to get to know your own thrift store for that, as to whittlling down the best times to stop by, but one thing I will say is, the next time you're visiting the thrift store, drop in to see the ladies in the back (who organize, clean, and set out all the goods) and just smile at them, the same smile as shown in your pic! You'll be in like flynn! :) They'll let you in on when the best times to drop by are. (I'm serious).

...good idea! Thanks for the tip!

iris lily
7-16-11, 7:38pm
I don't know about when they get shipments ( I would guess that they put new product out daily) but they all have their sales.

One thrift store I heard about does color sale sales, so on Red Day all red items are half off, on Blue Day blue items are half off, etc.They are liberal in interpreting colors.

early morning
7-17-11, 9:01am
My fav thrifts here are 25% off on Mondays, and 50% off on all holidays (Columbus Day, MLK Day, Presidents Day, etc. They are closed on Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas, but open other holidays. A real madhouse, but fun!