Monday, August 1, 2011

Cheap Thrills

blackwhitescarfredbootsI love finding something awesome at a second-hand store and trying to figure out why someone would give it away. Did it shrink in the wash? Was it just a crappy gift? Was it taking up valuable shelf space? Any of these are valid reasons to donate the item to a company that can sell it with good intentions.

Most thrift stores run on donations, think Goodwill and the Salvation Army. Because their stock is free, or almost free (they also buy what major stores can't sell super cheap, and sell it in their stores), they can sell items at super-low prices. They tend to do a lot for their communities including providing jobs and giving to worthwhile charities.


Unless you live in a pathetically tiny town in the middle of nowhere, you can probably find a decent thrift store near by. The Thrift Shopper is a great site for finding thrift stores in any city in the U.S.

What isn't always listed on this site is "Resell Stores" and "Consignment Stores". Resell stores involve employees sorting through stores like Goodwill, buying the best things, and then reselling them in their store for a higher price. It's nice if you like vintage clothes, but hate sorting through a ton of junk. Though you probably end up paying more than something is really worth.

Consignment stores are slightly different. Say you have a dress you never wear anymore, that's in good condition. You can bring it into a consignment shop and they will sell it for you. They usually give you something like 10% of the profit earned or sometimes a bit more in store credit. What the stores sell are usually the best of the best. Very good brands, and high prices. Once, I did find a pair of Miu Miu shoes for about $150. They were in very good condition, and probably would have originally sold for $500ish. If you crave designer brands and don't mind the last-seasons rejected by rich fashionistas, consignment stores are for you. Consignment stores also tend to be a lot cleaner and nicer looking than Goodwill, a plus if you have reactions to dust.


It's a hit or miss when you give a consignment store clothes to sell. I've only tried this once. I brought in about ten items and the employee rejected them all, saying they had rips and stains. They did not. Later that day, Goodwill got ten very nice donations from a frustrated sixteen-year-old girl.

I've been buying a large percentage of my clothes and accessories from thrift stores lately because I find it easier to stand out with a pair of bright red lace up boots and black beaded vest then the standard teenage girl dress and flip flops.

The bag below was my best find ever. It's Salvatoré Ferragamo, and was $5. Retail, they aren't exactly the cheapest bags in the world (proof). However, it was in good condition, I carry it all the time, and a great color. I'm doubting it's fake, because it seems to be pretty well made. Lining has a few scuff marks, and ink stains but overall, good. 

If you really hate shopping, thrift stores aren't for you. It will take more searching, planning, thinking and also luck. I love shopping, and challenges. Thrift store shopping is definitely for me.


Domenico Maceri said...

Did you get a bargain in the the dog?

Lucia said...

@Domenico: Old dogs are cheap to adopt, but they have expensive medical bills. He was second hand though.