Top 5 Items to Thrift

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Love thrifting? I know I do! But some people are still turned off by the idea of buying items that were once used by others. I get it – you imagine someone sweating all over a shirt – it’s wet, stinky and so not okay – you couldn’t possibly wear it after all that. BUT what if that shirt was an Anthropology blouse valued at $65, and you get swoop it up for a mere $4.99, throw it in the wash and have a new-to-you top – would you reconsider? Think about this, when you stay in a hotel room – and I would think most of us have – you are sleeping on sheets that hundreds, maybe even thousands (ick!), of other people have slept in. And sleep is not all that’s happening on these sheets, people – I’ll let your imagination do the wandering. However, these sheets are stripped from countless numbers of beds to be washed and reused by the next poor soul – and the cycle continues. Sorry – did I just ruin hotels for you? This strange example is how I convinced my husband to at least take a peek at the men’s clothes at our local Goodwill – and what do you know, he went home with a J. Crew t-shirt (so PROUD!), a summer tank and a very nice patterned button-up shirt for work, all for around $15 – #winning! (is that still a thing?). The same goes for dishes, utensils, rugs, blankets and pretty much everything else – I draw the line at intimates and bathing suits… just… no. Not only does a thrifty lifestyle save you a bunch of time and money (I say time because you can usually get all goods at one thrift store *cue angelic choir*), but you are also helping to lessen your footprint on our Mother Earth. So many items are manufactured and sold every day only to later be tossed aside or, in the best cases, donated to your local thrift stores. You are literally helping to save the Earth one thrift trip at a time – it doesn’t get better than that!

AND SO – for my first post, I am going to give you my top 5 items to purchase at a thrift store and why. For those of you that are also located in Sacramento, I’ll even include where I think some of the best thrift stores are for specific items AND throw in some note-worthy sale info. Keep reading to learn how you too can get the best for less, while also earning a grown-up sustainability badge that can make anyone feel better about buying more stuff.

#1 Clothing

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Ah clothes – sweet, sweet clothes. You fill my closet, make me happy, and give me endless options for all of the events and happenings in my crazy life. You also cost way too much in most stores, and since my style is frequently changing and evolving, the keep-forever-yet-never-wear spending plan just doesn’t work me. I mean, if I spend $90 on a pair of jeans, I’m never getting rid of them, I don’t care if they fit or not – those babies were expensive! However, thanks to Goodwill, EcoThrift, Salvation Army and all of my other local thrift stores, I can try out new styles, buy new(to-me) clothes and even donate my old clothing guilt free – well mostly guilt-free depending on what I’m spending that day (let’s be real, I feel no guilt). Clothes are my #1 go-to purchase item from thrift stores. I find the best way to snag deals is to look through all the racks no matter what size you are – sometimes things get mislabeled, vintage items are almost always smaller than the tag size and sometimes those XXL sweaters look good as slouchy tops! So get out there and start digging! I literally will spend hours sometimes looking at clothes, but that’s how I find the best deals (more clothing posts to follow! yay!). I should also note, for the smaller people like me (sizes 0-2), also check the little girls sections – I recently found a pair of size 25 Hudson jeans for $5 – super duper score! Always check the items you find thoroughly for stains (although sometimes they can be washed out if the price is right), snags, small holes or imperfections before committing to take your new friends home. There’s nothing more sad than finding your new favorite top only to realize a giant armpit stain once you get it home. Goodwill in Fair Oaks always has amazing clothing as well as their infamous 50% sales during most holidays – the next one is July 4th!

#2 Books

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Books are one of those things that I love to have, but can’t bring myself to spend big bookstore prices – and let’s be real, they can get pricey, especially if you prefer hardbacks or series. Any thrift store I’ve ever been in has an expansive selection of books ranging from vintage to modern-day, and all at rock-bottom prices. Seriously, I just bought a hardback copy of White Oleander for $2 – only $2!!! Another favorite reason of mine to buy used books over new, is sometimes you’ll get to see other people’s notes in the margins or discover old bookmarks tucked away inside from the last person who read the book. Also can I just say that nothing smells better than an old book – take that Kindle! If you have time, peruse all the sections to make sure something didn’t get misplaced, or if you’re looking for something specific, Goodwill offers books for sale online at http://www.goodwillbooks.com (where they also sell movies, music and videogames) where you can enter what you’re looking for into their online search.

#3 Dishes

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Thrift stores are a magical place when it comes to buying dishes. Stacks upon stacks of matching plates, bowls, cups, etc. OR if you can handle it, go crazy and mix it up, because most places will let you split those sets up. Are you a fan of witty coffee mugs? Decorative bowls? Fancy dinner plates? Look no further than your local thrift store. Not only can you find all of these things for a fraction of the cost, they typically have vintage glassware that has since been discontinued that is more beautiful to eat off of than anything they sell at Target (I still love you Target, please don’t be mad at me). My favorite part of the thrifty dish scene are the bar glasses. And since the trend of bar carts doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon, there’s no better place to get those fancy pinky-out high ball glasses you’ve been eyeing. One of the best thrift stores I’ve found for vintage dishes is EcoThrift in Citrus Heights. They always seems to have full sets of the cutest glass you’ve ever seen for reasonable prices – especially when the tag matches the color of the day, where you can get up 75% off certain colors.

#4 Kitchen Essentials

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Now, this may seem redundant, but I promise it isn’t. Kitchen essentials are those crazy things you don’t really think about buying until you need them – wooden spoons, cutting boards, that weird size pot with the lid that you really need to cook that one thing in but don’t have. You know, those things. I bought all of my pots and pans for our camper trailer from Goodwill for under $10, and most recently even found a can opener for $.60 – yes, that’s right, LESS than a dollar. I also found an entire matching set of silverware (6 table settings) for $2 – that’s impossible to do in the big stores. The one tough part I will say about shopping for these items is the dig – you’ve really gotta get into the piles on this, because alot of the time the utensils are all thrown together into a big mess of a shelf. But trust me, if you’re looking for that cherry pitter that your grandma used to have you use, or that weird potato peeler that you used as a kid that was so good you almost sliced your finger off, you’ll be happy you dug. I find most of my kitchen gadgets at Goodwill – Fair Oaks, Folsom and Citrus Heights alike. And nothing is better than stocking up for a camping trip, helping a sibling move out for the first time, or replacing that oh so cute vintage Pyrex dish your husband broke for less than $10.

#5 Furniture

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Furniture is one of those things that typically the older it is the better quality it is. I can hear my dad saying it now – “They don’t make things like they used to” and I can’t argue with him. With big box stores such as Target and Ikea offering more and more boxed put-it-together-yourself furniture, it has become easy to go in and buy a relatively cheap bookcase or dresser in a pinch. But these items have a tendency to fall apart quickly, especially if you move homes, or have the habit of changing your layout frequently. You can find used furniture at most thrift stores and most can be brought back to life with a fresh coat of paint or a quick reupholster. The great part about it, is it’s usually even cheaper than the new boxed furniture and will last you much longer than if you would’ve tried to put it together yourself. I’ve heard that the best place in Sacramento to get furniture is the Goodwill Outlet, and while I haven’t been there yet myself, there are countless videos on Youtube showcasing the many deals that can be scored if you’re willing to put in a little elbow grease.

I hope that this post has gotten your thrifty wheels turning. These are only 5 examples of the types of items that can be purchased, which doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the multitude of other things your local thrift store carries (ie. luggage, pet items, bedspreads, picture frames, yard art, etc.). I find that each shopper has their own top items that they like to buy when they’re out thrifting, but these are a good place to start for thrifty beginners in my mind. The best part is that you can buy these things for relatively little money, and if they don’t work out, you can always send them back to the store to be loved by someone else later on. Happy thrifting!

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