Thursday, July 4, 2013

the thrifting game

If you asked me, "Bethany, what are you good at?" I'd probably have a self-deprecating moment of "well, I'm not very good at anything.." and then a smile would cross my face and I'd correct my previous statement. "Actually, I'm really good at thrifting." 

I was raised by a mother who loves a good thrift store, who never met a yard sale she didn't like. I was raised to wonder 'why pay full price?' Let someone else do that, wear it/use it a few times, and then I'll take it off their hands for a fraction of what they paid. Some people get the heebie-jeebies at the thought of wearing someone else's cast offs- not me! 
I say "reduce, reuse, recycle" and I love every minute of it. 

Thrifting has turned into a hobby, a game, for me. But you have to learn the rules of the game to win. I feel the thrill of a win when someone compliments my outfit and I get to tell them that I rescued it from various Goodwill stores {and for less than $7.50 too!}. 

I'm not the least bit ashamed- those are some of my proudest moments! And it's just as fun for me to share my secret locations and tricks-of-the-trade with friends- so I thought that's what I'd do today! 

{My biggest thrifting win so far- a pair of new with-the-tags Banana Republic jeans in just my size. Original price: $89.90, I got them for $3.50}

The top 4 rules to my thrifting game:

1. Patience.
My advice is to go thrifting when you have time to spare. I can't handle walking into a thrift store just to be rushed through the experience. I need time to look through every rack to feel satisfied. Finding treasures is so hit or miss that you really need to see what they have. That being said, I've learned to move fast! No need to linger, you can usually tell by the fabric if it's something you'd be interested in or not. 

2. Be picky (but not too picky).
Rule of thumb: be very careful when buying anything white (especially shirts). Yucky yellow stains are inevitable. 

Don't feel trapped by the size you think you wear. Remember, these clothes have already been worn and washed so it's likely that they wont fit like new. Older clothes {or vintage} were probably made in different sizes too. So if you like it, hold it up, try it on, and go from there.  

Remember it's only $3.50 so live a little! Buy that pair of bright yellow skinny jeans that you might only wear once in a blue moon {see below}! It's okay!!

3. Make good choices. 
If you don't need pants, don't let yourself look at that rack of pants no matter how loudly they're calling your name. On the other hand, if you really need shirts- focus there and you will be rewarded!

If you're not sold on something, don't buy it! There will always be more. 

TRY IT ON!! You really never know if you don't try it on! I promise it's worth it! I get a cart {yes, I'm one of those people}, fill it up with all of my maybes, and then head to the dressing room once. Fun fact about me: I loathe multiple trips, so I do it all in one attempt. Just remember, it seriously never hurts to try! It helps me weed through my mistakes and walk away with only the real winners. 

Current favorites: 
*Charlottesville Goodwill {off Exit 124 on Pantops Rd.}
*Fredericksburg Goodwill Superstore {yes, apparently they have those}
*Staunton Goodwill

**Interesting fact: prices depend on where you are {aka the Waynesboro Goodwill is so much cheaper than Fredericksburg and Richmond} so keep that in mind when traveling.**

I can't wait to hear about all of your finds and thrifting wins! Please, please share them so I can celebrate with you! If you ever need a shopping buddy you know who to call! 

Happy thrifting, friends!


  1. A kindred Anne of Green Gables would say..I hope you get to spend lots of time thrifting without my sweet husband. He is more of a get in, shoot the blouse, bag it and leave the store, kind of a guy. Aaron must take his love of thrifting from me :). Great post!

  2. Bethany, you are a wonderful thrifter and an even more wonderful daughter!