Thrift Shopping Newbie

03/27/2010

Aside from Hallowe’en costumes, I haven’t explored the thrift shops, yet.

I previously thought that only old, ratty clothes that no one wanted was there, and did not see the point of shopping or perusing in thrift shop for my own wardrobe.

After reading so many different blogs and posts on the many benefits of thrift shopping, I decided to give it a go a couple of weeks ago.

I have recently started training for a half marathon (more on this later!), and haven’t bought running gear.  I didn’t want to go too crazy, but I did want a light jacket that was warmed than a windbreaker and breathable (my sweatshirts were getting soaked and making me cold when I ran outside).

Since spring is approaching, and I am not sure if I want to or will be training the coming winter (too far away to tell!), I didn’t want to buy a new jacket.  These things are expensive and all the ones I have seen are upwards of $100.  So, I decided to look for one at the local Value Village.

Looking through the items was not too fun.  Thrift shopping (like normal shopping) definitely takes a lot of time and patience.  And even though most of the things are item that I would not buy or think is a good quality purchase, I was able to find my diamond in the rough.

Lo and behold!  I found a used green running jacket.  It was made of light weight insulation and meant for running.

There was a bit of black staining on the back, and the size wasn’t perfect (I’m a small and this was a medium), but I didn’t really care.  Because for $11.50 (including tax), I had a running jacket that will keep me warm for the rest of this season.  Then, I can take my time to decide and evaluate if this is good enough, or if I want to spend the money on a nicer/better jacket.

Thrift Shopping Conclusion:

There are hidden gems in thrift shopping, but they do take digging and patience to find.  It’s probably best if you go in with something in mind to find, wandering around aimlessly looking at too many items (especially when a lot of it is not in the best shape) can be tiring, overwhelming and boring.

What are your experiences in thrift shopping?  What items are best found at thrift shops?  Any tips for us newbies?

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15 Responses to “Thrift Shopping Newbie”


  1. My first experience with thrift stores was last year at a consignment shop nearby. It was a small place but they had quite a bit of very nice stuff! I found a very cute pair of rain boots that I needed and a silk top from French Connection. =)


    • That’s great! I was hoping to find some nice stuff, too! I was hoping to find the stuff that wealthy people toss after only a wear or two, but I guess this was OK for a first time 🙂


  2. Cogratats on finding what you were looking for! It’s almost impossible for me to find my size at thrift stores, thus eBay is my best friend.


    • Yea, I had trouble finding S and XS.

      I would have preferred to have a nice fit on my jacket, and look oh-so-chic on my runs, but for that, I might have to look at Lululemon. 😛 I love their stuff, but the price tags hurt.


  3. OMG, 11.50? DEAL! I haven’t been to a thrift shop ever. They seem to come to me thanks to family and friends. I guess I need to seek them out. But good job on finding a good and cheap coat!

  4. Revanche Says:

    Oof, Lululemon even hurts from afar. Even just thinking about spending more than $100 for yoga pants is painful.

    I’m on the hunt for good thrift shops in the area, we didn’t have anything where I used to live but I have high hopes for the new place.

  5. simplelifeinfrance Says:

    I would say that it’s easier to find basics in thrift shops–I found jeans to be among the easy things to find. AND I’d go to consignment shops or designer retail shops for work clothes–they were great. A little more pricey than thrift shops, but worth it. Here in France, I have yet to find my bearings though.

  6. Annie Says:

    I enjoy the occasional visit to thrift stores, but don’t have the patience to shop them regularly.

    I do go there to locate soft oversized sweaters on the cheap when my current ones get worn (I’m a sucker for comfort over fashionable fit). Those and long floral skirts for summer are my favorite finds!

    My daughter LOVES them for everything–and is a trifle dangerous in them as a result! Typical kid she loves to accumulate stuff, but she is great about thinning out a couple times a year (we make it a game).

    A lot of my clothes are handed down from my more consumerist friends and family, but the balance comes from thrift shops. My blender (an old style Oster with metal gears instead of the plastic) was found for $3, a deep-fryer for $2 once, I’ve found nice sheet sets and everything…

    Look around for different shops in your area. The ones that cater to the wealthy have some really sweet stuff, but you can find some really nice surprises in the Goodwill-types as well. Once I found a brand new leather jacket complete with the tag for $15–Course, it was too small!

    Thanks for reading my blog! I love reading about fellow minimalists!


  7. I was browsing your blog and found this post. I just posted on Second Hand shops today! I get a lot of my clothes from them, mostly just because it pains me to spend a lot of money on clothes when I could be spending the money on books or family trips instead. 🙂

    I’m planning to hit the consignment shop this week, and you would love it because they seem to have a lot of cute clothes in small sizes.

    Second hand shops are really great for kids’ clothes!


  8. @Annie:
    I’m on a search for a used pasta maker now 🙂 I’m hoping that I can find a nice antique-y looking one at the thrift shop or a yard sale! I’ll have to look into the different shops – especially those that cater to the wealthy. I just need to also accumulate a bit more patience before visiting another one! 🙂

    @GoodEnoughWoman:
    My parents got a lot of my sisters’ and my clothes second hand when we were growing up from friends who kids’ have outgrown them. Kids grow up so fast that I can’t imagine they would be too worn by the time they reach the thrift shop! It’s a win-win situation, except for the person who bought it new 😛

  9. Heather Says:

    Clothing for my son. I found a great winter coat for $8 and I get 10% off for being a student and/or military. I have been replacing all the plastic in my home, so I found some nice baskets for storage for around $2-$3 each. I also love picture frames and I can find bigger sizes for less than $4 each. Also, kids books. I am shocked at how much they cost at retail prices.


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