I love picking up some second hand clothes, furniture and kitchen utensils. There is just nothing better than going home knowing you paid pennies on the dollar for an item or that someone's mistake is your gain.
Anyway, there are a few things I have learned from thrift / second hand shopping. Of course if you have anything to add, let us know in the comments below.
Be Aware – Know store policy for returns (if there are any), sales and what tag colors may mean. At a local Goodwill store – red tags mean the item came from Target. Bring as little as you can and keep it safe; don’t leave your stuff unattended. The government has put together a checklist for Thrift Store Safety, and don’t forget all the toy recalls as well.
Be Comfy – If you can wear shorts and a t-shirt, do it. This will allow you to try on clothes if there are no dressing rooms or it is full. Also, wear shoes that are easy to slip off and on – so combat boots would not fit that in my opinion.
Be Checking – Test EVERYTHING that you can while shopping; this includes yards sales as well. Inspect the clothes, every seam, button, zipper, snap and buckle. Look for brand name items that have a history of quality.
Be Prepared – This means you go shopping with a list of what sizes you (family) wear and bring along a measuring tape so that you can see if the waist/leg/arm is the right size as some clothes get their tags ripped off. This also includes bringing a stain remover of some sort to check if marks will come off clothes before you bring it home. Bring along batteries as well for testing electronics and toys.
Be Thinking – If furniture is on your list, know how you are going to get it home, and make sure you have the dimensions down on your list since you probably will not get a refund. Consider what kind of budget you will be spending for clothes/furniture/hardware and stick to it.
Be A Good Shopper – Find out when items are placed on the floor. Go to the stores in other towns/counties/neighborhoods for a better selection or price. It is ok to walk out of a store without something in your hand. It is also normal to go to 2-3 stores before you find what you need on your list. Don’t forget that gifts can be bought at second hand places as many of them get ‘new’ items with original stickers still on them. Be kind and courteous at all times, which includes putting away your stuff, employees/volunteers will like you better, especially if you are a regular.
After the Trip – Remember to wash or dry clean it all, even if it LOOKS ok to you, you just never know. If you are the sewing type, make a list of what needs to be altered and how.