If you've read my blog at all, you've probably noticed that I thift, a lot.
A good ninety percent of my wardrobe has been thrifted, and that's not exaggerating even a little bit. Most of our furniture and kitchen wares were thrifted too. These days when I find myself wanting to buy something brand new, I usually just tell myself to wait it out because I know that sooner or later I will probably find it in a thrift store. I also thrift to stock my shop, Fox&Vintage, but today I'm just going to talk about personal thrifting.
Me and my sister would go to thrift stores every once and a while when we were little teeny-boppers and she had first got her license, and by the time I was old enough to get mine, I was full on addicted to thrifting. The community college I used to go to was conveniently surrounded by tons of thrift stores so whenever I had time in between classes, you could count on finding me in one of those shops. Now a days, I thrift at least once a week and have been in almost every thrift store in the Southern New Jersey/Philadelphia area.
The most important thing you can do when thrifting is plain and simple: Take your time.
I know, not brain surgery. I've gone thrifting with friends before who have begged me to take them, assuming that the good stuff literally jumps off the shelf for me, but it doesn't. Quickly, they get impatient and are ready to walk out. I'm not kidding when I say I walk every isle and touch pretty much everything in the store. I certainly don't spend ten minutes looking at every shirt, but I quickly scan through every rack, moving back and touching all of the clothes, because the good stuff is always burried! I also try to never go thrifting when I'm in a hurry, rarely do I find anything when I'm busy thinking about wherever I'm running to next.
Something I hear a lot of is that people wish they had thrift stores like mine where they're from, or they want me to give them a list of all the stores I go to. The truth is that it really comes down to what I said above, taking your time, and a whole lot of patience. I spend, on average, a good hour to two hours in most larger thrift stores. You certainly don't have to spend that much time, but if you're consistently leaving with nothing, maybe you should do a few more "laps" around the store!
As far as finding "good stores" goes, I have a few rules. Generally, I don't go thrifting in cities, high-income areas, or really almost any areas that are really busy. The stores in these places tend to have caught on to the idea of thrifting being "hip" and so the prices tend to be a little bit outrageous, in my oppinion. That doesn't mean I don't give them a try, and occasionally stop in now and then, it just means that I focus the majority of my thrifting time on small-town thrift stores. These tend to be my favorites! They're prices are usually good and most of the population in those areas aren't actually looking for vintage (unlike in cities, where vintage is huge). Not to mention, a lot of "small town-ers" don't know high fashion labels either. I once snagged a Diane Von Furstenberg dress for $5 and resold it on ebay for $150! That's definitely rare, but I know if that dress had been in a thrift store in a different area someone might have caught that.
The best thing to do is just keep your eyes out when your driving around. A lot of thrift stores tend to be hidden, so if you come across one, stop and check it out if you have time, or jot down the adress so you can come back later. I always give a store at least one chance, the main thing that can turn me off from a store is if their prices are too high, then I'm outta there!
One of my favorite things about thrifting is collecting things. It's like a game, trying to find one specific item in a store full of a million different ones! It seems silly, but it actually is really good practice, especially if you're just getting into thrifting. It really does help to "train your eye" to look past all the junk and focus on the stuff you do want. Vintage thermoses are one of the first things I started collecting years and years ago, and my family makes fun of me because I can walk into a store and somehow find the one thermos in that entire store! What you collect doesn't have to be big, but I definitely reccomend collecting something, you'll be amazed how it helps you focus when you're shopping!
Really, in the end, it's all about patience and persistance. I go thrifting at least once a week and sometimes I come back with nothing and sometimes I come back with the car completely full. Take your time, and most importantly, enjoy yourself !