I am not your typical female shopper. I don’t love shopping for clothes – I’m just not a fan. (There’s probably a whole other post on why, but we’ll save that for another day.) When it comes to clothes shopping my motto is -shop often and shop clearance. Don’t judge me…I think I have pretty good taste. But, I almost never pay full price for anything! Full retail kills me. I just think of how much more that money could have bought if I found it on sale.
Now take me to a thrift store or flea market and I’m in HEAVEN! Garage sales used to be my treasure, when the kids were younger. I loved a free Saturday morning. I would stake out all the community garage sales and work my way around the neighborhood. The kids got into it too, maybe because they could take a few dollars and make some choices themselves about how to spend it. There were some great lessons learned on those Saturday mornings.
Somewhere along the way I discovered Goodwill. I think it was while searching for the perfect components to create Halloween Costumes. We found some great pieces that I turned in to awesome costumes. There was the scarecrow made from women’s Capri’s with raffia sewn on the hem and a sweatshirt with patches and raffia sewn on. There was also the costume that could only be called the pimp – a great pleather trench coat. But my favorite has to be Elvis. I started with a woman’s blouse and Capri’s. I found a gold stretch tank top and pants that I cut up to add a little gold flair to the legs. Add a great gold belt and chain and he looked awesome! I love Goodwill! But, not all Goodwill stores are created equal. I know this because I’ve shopped at a lot of them. The quality of their goods match the neighborhood the store is in. South Johnson County has better junk than Shawnee:). They have China galore down there! If only I needed another set of dishes (Hubby thinks the 5 sets I currently have is quite enough). Your best bet really depends on what your searching for; Halloween components, home decor, furniture.
Shopping second hand is a unique experience. And it’s not for everyone. But if you get a thrill from a surprise find and love a bargain, second hand is where its at! I love the anticipation of what I might find on any trip. Its fun to scope out what’s there and see something you think might be the item for you. For me it’s always about seeing the potential and envisioning what it could become. It’s rare that I buy something at a garage sale, thrift shop or flea market and use as is. Its all about making it over – I guess its called upcycling. Who knew I was so ahead of my time – I’ve been doing that for years!
Finding the really good bargains takes patience, tenacity and a good eye. You have to shop often to find the bargains, and you have to know you may walk away with nothing on any shopping trip. And another day you hit the mother load. Here are my top tips for second hand shopping.
- Go with an open mind – if you go looking for a particular item, you’ll probably be disappointed, better to have a long mental list. Which leads to number 2
- Keep a mental list of things you’re shopping for – then you have lots of options when you hit the store. Think about the different rooms you are working on, craft ideas you’ve seen, the accent piece you need.
- Take your time – really look at the items in front of you. We are so used to doing things quickly its easy to scan the shelf and miss things. Look at the shape and form of things – colors and finishes can be changed really easily.
- Don’t be afraid to try something out – if you end up not using the item consider it a donation and pass it on to a garage sale or thrift store.
As I look around my family room while I’m writing I can’t believe how many of the things in this room are second hand! What image does that give you of my family room? Its not early American garage sale. You’ll just have to trust me on that. There are two things in the room that we bought new – the keyboard and a bar table and stools. BUT, both of them were on SALE. I really like the room and I love thinking about where I found each item. I hope you catch the bug! Second hand shopping is such an adventure!
I’ll post some pics of my favorite second hand finds over here on my photo blog later today….or maybe tomorrow:).