11/5/09



Hi! This is Mandi from Here's Lookin' at Me, Kid. I'm so happy to be guest blogging for my kindred spirit and fellow thrifty maven. Whenever I unpack my suitcase or give tours of my home, someone inevitably says, "How do you have such luck at the thrift stores? I never find anything!" My friends all want to witness the magical powers that appear on my thrifting adventures which cause glorious vintage treasures to materialize on the store shelves. But the truth is, I don't have any magical powers, just learned skills! And I'm willing to share my 8 rules for becoming a thrifty maven.

Here are the rules, plus inspiration from other thrifty mavens. (All images found on flickr groups Thrift Store Decor and 100% Thrifted. Click images for links.)


Haven't you heard? The early bird gets the mint condition 1950s wiggle dress in the perfect size. That's why I typically assign three hours for thrifting one day a week and show up as the shop doors are being unlocked. Each week I go to a different area than the week before, so the thrift stores have time to replenish themselves, kind of like crop rotation.


The name thrift implies a small dollar sign, but when you're walking out of each store with bags full of goods, the dollar signs quickly grow. My local Salvation Army stores have 50% off family days on Wednesdays, so I can fill my cart without apprehension. Also, I am currently on Goodwill's mailing list so that I know when a customer appreciation day is coming. Just be warned- this technique isn't a secret, and the hard core thrifters come out in droves- so make sure to show up early and have a game plan!



I'm convinced that costume influences behavior. So if you want to choose something fabulous, wear something fabulous! What kind of clothes will you be inspired to buy if you shop in sweat pants? I usually like to wear comfortable shoes and a loose fitting dress in a modest length (all the better to reach with, my dear!). Just whatever you do, don't wear anything too fabulous... you don't want to attract undesired attention from the menfolk (or womenfolk) completing their community service hours at your favorite creepy thrift store.



If you have some spare time in between appointments, spend it at the thrift store! Make sure you know where all of your local thrift stores are (and thrift stores in neighboring cities, if you're hardcore like me) so you don't get lost and end up late to your afternoon appointment. Spontaneous thrifting is how I've stumbled upon some of my favorite furniture items in my home. Buying furniture on a whim? But of course! That's the attitude of a true thrifty maven. And don't worry- they usually let you come back within a few days to pick up your purchase(s).



You might be thinking... "Isn't it kind of gross to buy upholstery from a thrift store?" Well, I don't know about that. There is usually a certificate of sanitation on the furniture I buy, and I'm more than happy to take their word for it. If you're not, you can surely have it professionally cleaned (I usually use a Hoover steamvac on my thrifted furniture.).



I have certainly been on thrifting adventures with a particular something in mind. But more often than not, I don't find what I came looking for. Usually I find something else entirely that I didn't exactly need. But this is how you find objects that become your treasures. If you love it, buy it! Yes- even if you don't need it. And that leads to rule number seven...



Just like mom never said, if in doubt- do! Unless, of course it's a huge doubt or an equally huge price tag. Chances are, if you're interested in something on the shelf, the cosmic forces have drawn you to it, and if you pass on it in the moment only to return for it later, someone else will have snatched it up. This "buy now, think later" practice can lead to quite the stash of thrifted goods, but that's what basements are for, right? And, you can always purge your stash once a year and give back to the charity shops. There's nothing like good thrifting karma to enrich your shopping experiences!

37 comments:

erica said...

LOVE these tips!! thanks so much for sharing. :) thrifting makes me feel so accomplished!

RachelDenbow said...

LOVE IT ALL. Now I need to go thrifting. Great post, Mandi!

Vanessa said...

love love love this post! lucky to have witnessed these tips live and in person!

and if you have a scary thrift shop...bring a friend!

sonya audrey said...

I love these tips!! :)

megan said...

very helpful thrifting advice.
rachel, i am thinking of you as you wait for your sweet ruby! peace to you

Katherine said...

GREAT post, mandi!

Kara said...

YAY! Loved this post!

coreymarie said...

Great post. Glad to hear someone else use the phrase "thrifting karma"!

xobellaaimox said...

i have a thrift date on saturday that i am now super excited for!

Carol Anne said...

These are great tips!

Laurie Anne said...

Great post, helpful tips~Thank You!

Vivianna said...

great post!

aninspiredpeace said...

Nice post - thanks for all the tips! I totally agree with the last one - I passed up a really great chair once for $5 because I didn't know what I'd do with it. Thought about it all night and went back the next day and it was gone! Never again will I pass something up.

DaniDannyDanielle said...

rule #7 = my life

Robin said...

great tips!

katie said...

this is so wonderful!!! mandi and rachel together! it's like my two favorite people! lol. now i seriously want to start thrifting again. :)

<3katie

Tammy said...

Love this post! I feel inspired to go thrifting now.

kindsey said...

hah that was great!!
i like the looking fabulous part! :)

Lexi said...

LOVE THIS POST!! Trouble is I live in the same area as 2 exceptionally cool ,thrifty women (Rachel & Elsie!) and am convinced they snap up the good stuff before I have a chance! ;)

RachelDenbow said...

Katie, you're the nicest ever!


Lexi, my thrifting days are on hold for awhile so you can take my place on the thrifting circuit in Springfield! :)

Lexi said...

Rachel--You'll need to let me in on your "thrifting circuit" ;) I'll let you know if I score anything good ;) My consolation prize is that I get to see yours and Elsie's finds via your blog so that definitely makes up for it :D Although I think Goodwill is overpriced..is that wrong to say?? I know it goes for a good cause though! Are you reading these while in labor? ;D

6p00d8358081ff69e2 said...

SUCH a great post!!! seriously.

Vivi said...

Great advice and those images really make me want to go on a thrift hunt now!

Ashley said...

Such a fun post...but I got disqualified at Rule 1. Bummer for me that my four VERY young kids aren't big fans of thrifting early in the morning 3 hours a week. I can dream about that day when I can go more often...dreaming now. Great tips!

Alyssa Johns said...

awesome tips- i'm inspired to get out thrifting.
thanks!

www.reworkedart.blogspot.com

Tim said...

I have a sister that is my "yes definitely, no that makes your legs look like tree trunks" advice giver.
So if I'm thrifting and have a doubt, I just think "now what would Katie say?" as usually my scrooge-instinct kicks in when I don't need it. So "if in doubt - think of what your best buddy with great taste ell you to do:

:) Thanks for the advice!

Bindi

metamorphosis said...

Such a absolutely lovely thrift-shopping-guide!

MyShenanigans said...

Such a great post! Gosh, my grandmother used to take us thrifting soo early when we were little, but she would always come home with the greatest finds. Even things that looked slightly off in the store, she'd find a way to use it. And it always looked great!

Xela Purple said...

I think those are perfect tips and its so well written with all the photos breaking up the text. I love a blog with killer photos.
And if I'm not mistaken those are fat lava vases in the bottom photo!

heyjenrenee said...

AWESOME tips, Mandi and totally gorgeous photos. (Vanessa, you make me laugh!)

Geek+Nerd said...

All excellent tips. Now I need a post for what to do when you are addicted to thrifting, HA !

Geek+Nerd said...

All excellent tips. Now I need a post for what to do when you are addicted to thrifting, HA !

Diana said...

Amazing post. These are great tips I'm going to put into early tomorrow morning!

JessieB said...

LOL! seriously! Probably because I live by these rules myself. girl after my own heart

drew-o-rama.com said...

these are some really great tips! i go at least once a week whether it's a scheduled trip or in between errands.

and thanks for sharing that photo of my apartment with everyone! :-)

Liz said...

I think I spied my living room in this post...

Nicolita Love said...

Great tips! A good thrifting day is one of life's great pleasures.