Disclaimer: I partnered with America’s Thrift Stores for this post, but all opinions are my own.
Now that I’ve shown you the amazing deals I scored from America’s Thrift Stores, let’s talk about how I found the goods!
Here are SEVEN things I learned from my recent outing:
Enter with an open mind, yet critical eye. In Part I, I mentioned this was my approach. Be open to looking at something you didn’t initially expect to consider. For me, it was used shoes–the thought kinda grossed me out, but the right ankle strap was enough to change my mind! Also, make sure you are really thinking about the potential purchase–does it have stains? holes? fading? pilling? Am I really getting a good deal? Am I really going to wear this, or am I just getting it because it’s a great deal?
- Dress accordingly. I had no idea until I walked in the store, but it had NO FITTING ROOMS! Say what?! I know, right?! So, if you don’t call ahead to find out about fitting rooms, be prepared to try something on in the middle of the store. I recommend wearing a long button-down shirt, layered over a tank/cami. Pair it with leggings and a slip-on shoe. This uniform will be helpful regardless of fitting room availability. You can always take off the button-down and slip things on/off over your tank top/cami as well as pull skirts and pants on over leggings. No, it might not be an exact fit, but it will definitely help you avoid scenes like the ones below! I had a heck of a time trying on dresses over my lightweight sweater and jeans! It was seriously comical watching me wiggle in and out of things!
- Learn the sale days. Just when you thought you couldn’t get a better deal…there’s a sale! Yes, even thrift stores will give you additional discounts on certain merchandise or on certain days. At America’s Thrift, different tag colors equate to additional discounts. Percentages off can change from week to week. Ask an employee for the sale scoop. Better yet, sign up for your favorite thrift store emails. America’s Thrift offers a 20% coupon for signing up! Some people also recommend learning when new inventory is about to hit the floor. America’s Thrift is constantly stocking the floor on a daily basis, so there is no need to wait for a certain day to visit here!
- Stay cost conscious. Like I mentioned in my previous post, it can be easy to get a little reckless in a thrift store. I was able to quickly fill up a shopping cart. But when I broke out the calculator, I learned how easy it is to go over budget…even in a thrift store! Also, don’t forget to factor in cleaning expenses. Is it really that good of a deal if your dry cleaning or tailoring bills will make it the same price as a first hand retailer?
- Know your brands/prices. Some thrift stores, including America’s Thrift Stores, factor in brands/labels/designers and condition of garment when pricing. It’s best to shop brands you already know so you can make accurate judgments on the value. Take the Gap dress I got. I know Gap brands like the back of my hand. So, I was pretty sure $7.99 was a tad pricey for a second-hand T-shirt dress. I think it should’ve been $5 at the most. But it wasn’t outrageous, so I decided to keep it. Plus, I really scored in other ways because I was familiar with most of the brands. If there’s any doubt about something’s value, just ask good ol’ Google! One of the worst feelings you can get from buying second-hand merchandise is realizing you paid too much. I still can’t get over that $10 Target blazer I bought from another thrift store last year! What was I thinking?!
- Devote some time. If you’re looking for something specific–that’s great, but you’re more likely to find a real treasure if you are willing to take the time to browse. I spent about two hours in the store, quickly sifting through racks. I didn’t waste time looking at any colors, fabrics, old styles or silhouettes that didn’t appeal to me. Pants that fit are very hard to find for my longer frame, so I didn’t devote much time to those either. Outerwear, dresses and skirts got most of my attention.
- Consider where the money goes. One great thing about thrifting, is people in need will often benefit from the proceeds. Here is a link to the partners of America’s Thrift. I would lean toward supporting the thrift store that supports the causes you are passionate about.
I can definitely say this thrifting experience was my best one ever and it really opened my eyes to the amazing finds that are available if you just give it a chance! If you’re in the Birmingham area and want to know which location I visited, it’s the one in the Huffman area. But I was told the one in Alabaster is actually the “big one.” Rest assured, I’ll be paying a visit to that one sooner rather than later. If you’re interested in seeing my next scores, let me know! I’ll definitely be posting them on Facebook and Instagram, but I’ll do another blog post if you want!
As always, thanks so much for reading!