Saturday, November 21, 2009

Some Structure for Thrifting

I am just getting into the hang of regular thrifting-- a true pleasure, since there is a large and inexpensive thrift store up the street. However, as with all shopping, it has been important for me to follow some rules-- going to a thrift store can easily devolve from a way to save money into meaningless consumerism.

I will admit that one thing I like about going to a thrift store is that I can splurge a bit and not break the bank. It's not too bad to come home with a few extra treats when those treats cost a total of 5 bucks. However, it's easy to walk into a thrift store and forget entirely what you need. So, over the last couple of weeks, I have come up with a few rules that I follow when going to a thrift store:

1. Go with a list. This is a no-brainer with regular shopping, but somehow took me a long time to recognize as necessary with thrifting. It's especially helpful for keeping items that may be difficult to find at the front of your mind.

For example, my current list is:

wooden toys (not blocks!)
a basket for holding mail
a nativity set

2. Only buy an item if you're sure that you would buy such an item for more money at a real store. I often pick things up just because I feel like they're a great deal, only to take them home and never use them. The key is to get things that you truly love, need, and will value, but at a bargain.

3. When you come home, immediately clean up items (wash cloth items, scrub down wood or hard surfaces), and integrate them into your household. I've found that the longer items linger, the less likely I am to put them to good use.

Having followed these rules this morning, I came home feeling accomplished, clear-headed and thrifty. And I knocked out a couple of Christmas presents (don't tell Zosia about this wooden car I found!), a set of curtains we've been needing for quite a while (currently in the dryer) and a lovely Christmas decoration.

Any tips for thrifting from the more experienced shoppers out there?

1 comment:

Once Upon a Parent said...

Going on a regular basis is the key to finding great stuff. I truly love thrifting, but have fallen out of the habit. You are inspiring me to start again.