Thrift store shopping…cause its to cold for Flea markets!

==*Afternoon all! Well it’s the time of year when I start to get stir crazy being stuck inside because of the cold, and I better get creative or else. Or Else what you might ask? Let’s just say when Its been too cold for too long…I get a little tiny, itsy bitsy, Grouchy. So quite asking me stupid questions before I throw my TV remote at you.
In any case, without my trips to the flea market, and yard sales….well my need for items to recycle (and just my general need for bargain hunting) could go without satisfaction! Well, we can’t have that.
So let’s talk Thrift Stores.
Now, I know not all of you are fans of the thrift store.
I know it can be scary (think 2am trip to Walmart, but with more smelly couchs) but like all really awesome bargain hunting adventures, it can be totally worth it!!!!
So here my dear snowbound friends, are practical tips for the thrift store.

1.First things first…..find some. Go to the Google my friends…its easy. Hunt around…read reviews. Or you could just ask around.
Goodwill is always a pretty easy way to start…fairly clean, mostly organized, not too scary. Salvation army is good too.
Sometimes thrift stores in really nice neighborhoods are a great way to start! More high end items. Always worth checking. I can tell you this…here’s how you get hooked= you walk into the thrift store and for some odd “beginner luck” reason, the first trip out you might find an awesome leather jacket….for $7. Or maybe you glance a cute purse, only to see that awesome designer tag (for me it was Dooney and Burk!) and than see a $8 price tag. Hooked. Hooked. Hooked. Now…those are rare finds…most times you will have to look through lots of crap….but those couple fantastic finds will keep you coming back.

2.Have hand sanitizer with you…cause every once in a while…eww.

3.Bring a friend… spotters for eachother…it really helps! Make sure you both know what the other is looking for and be sure that you actually HELP eachother. Don’t steal finds from your fellow bargain hunter..its really bad bargain hunter karma. Let her have that great vintage side table…..if it was ment to be yours…it will come back to you. Like, she will get tired of it, or it won’t fit her space…and she might give it back to you! Another possiblity is that you pass up that one thing….something else awesome will find its way to you. I’m not kidding!! Bargain hunter Karma!! Don’t mess with shit like that……serious business here.
In any case you also need a friend with you cause shoppers at Thrift shores can be competative at best….super gross and scary at the worst!!! It sounds horrible, i know…but It can be HILARIOUS. Mullets abound, full camo outfits are everywhere, and people will walk past you that smell like the floor of a stanky bar. You need someone with you…to guard your shit, be another set of eyes and crack up with you at all the crazy crap you stumble across.

4.The sniff test is an ABSOLUTE MUST!!! Most of the time it’s not really a problem….but the one time you buy something so smelly from smoke or cat wiz that it infects your entire haul for the day is a sad day indeed. So do yourself a solid, SMELL EVERYTHING.

5. Test everything that moves. Zippers. Test it. Drawers…test it…snaps…TEST THEM. Clips, ties, doors….test…test TEST!!! Don’t assume. It just makes an ass out of ume.

6. Be patient. Really look around. I have a system…..I do the walk around first. Takes about 10 minutes. Walk  past the jewelry, formal dresses (cause you know…fun!), housewares, linens (I always hunt for vintage linens), furniture and art. That usually takes me all the way around most stores. Than I let fate take me where it will. If the furniture was cool…than I dig in. Just let you mind wander and consider the possibilities. Would that little dresser work in my sons room if I painted it black? Could that side table work next to my bed if I add casters to the legs so it will sit higher? You get the idea.

7. But aren’t used clothes yucky? The honest answer. Sometimes. But that is what washing machines are for! Don’t buy stuff that’s stained…unless you are SUPER sure you can get the stain out. Unless you want to get crazy with a bleach pen! Cute designer jeans, in your size, for $2  but with a weird stain?? Take a bleach pen or spray bottle with bleach in it…and get creative! Write a poem on it. Draw Sponge Bob. or just spray in funky patterns…get nuts. You only spent $2 right? Get crazy.

In any case because stuff is so cheap you can experiment a little. Here’s the great can get great staples…..plain t shirts, jeans, black on. It’s also wonderful for kids clothes…cause for real…they are going to trash them anyways??!! Whatever they don’t trash, they outgrow in about 2 seconds! Just look things over really well (that goes for everything you buy), test the zippers , you get the idea. Than have you friend look it over too…you know, the whole four eyes are better than 2 thing. Than take all your finds home…and WASH THEM. Don’t assume they have been washed.

8. Housewares are one of the best and easiest finds when your thrift store shopping. Candle sticks abound! Kitchen do dads everywhere!  Plus tons of  x mas decorations, vases, frames, art, and just lots of cool little things that give a house personality.

So here’s a cool project…go look for several really weird figures….funny frogs, weird owls, the ever fantastic black leopards you get the idea….and spray paint them all the same color. White or black is always a good call….but those that know me, know its all about turquoise or metallics . After they dry, group them together somewhere. Bookshelf, mantel, kitchen shelf…..very funky and cool.

In any case, some of my favorite houseware finds are items like Milk Glass (who doesn’t love the stuff?), Books (coffee table books are a favorite of mine), an awesome little metal vase I got last week …..I’m a tad obsessed with it, Big candle sticks, and  copper mixing bowls and pan!

9. Some thrift stores have COUPONS! Yep. Cheap plus cheap equals EXTRA CHEAP. Every time I pull out coupons at Good will I smile like an idiot. Something so rewarding about finding amazing deals and than BAM extra money off. Like beating the system somehow. What can I say…I told you I’m cheap. Most Good Wills I go to will give you a coupon for %20 off when you donate stuff! SO perfect excuse to get ride of some crap….and make room for different crap!! Kidding. Different shit.

In any case ….coupons…just ask them. Worst they can say is no.

So here’s the deal…I know it seems scary or gross….but you would be shocked at all the cool stuff you can find! I’m always a wee bit annoyed when I hear people can’t afford prom dresses for their kid (formal dresses are ALWAYS an amazing deal…and come on..most are only worn one time! Plus if you both to really look you can find all kinds of styles and sizes) , or that a wedding dress is beyond their means (because most Thrift stores carry those too……and some of them are AMAZING and also CHEAP….like $20 cheap).

So to all my lovely dedicated cheapos…..get out of the house, brave the yucky snow and cold…and hit the thrift store. Bring your friend, keep an open mind , don’t forget your hand sanitizer…and remember to sniff test! Have fun. Be cheap.