Tuesday, January 1

10 tips for successful thrift shopping

I grew up learning you don't have to be poor or cheap to go thrift shopping. What it does mean is that you are concious about what you are spending and maybe even about the environment. Or maybe it just means you love vintage!

The expensive holiday season is over now, so what better time to have some budget friendly shopping fun?

Here are 10 tips for successful thrift shopping:

1. Find out what thrift shops are near your home. You might be surprised, thrift shops are often located in unexpected spots. I have been to quite some good ones located in industrial areas.

2. Never go to a thrift shop for a quick visit, take your time to really browse the shop. There are much more individual items to see than in a general shop, so you kind of need an eye for detail.

3. A thrift shop is not a vintage shop. Vintage shops have carefully selected items, while thrift shops sell almost anything as long as it is in reasonable condition. If you like bargain hunting, go to the thrift shops and only visit the vintage shops to enjoy the eye candy and maybe buy a few really special things that you really couldn't resist.

4. Find out which flea markets are organised in your area and make sure you keep informed. You can check your local weekly newspaper or special websites like meukisleuk.nl for the Netherlands.

5. Most flea markets are organised in spring, so do some spring cleaning yourself and make room for some new treasures!

6. Do check the time a flea market begins. If you want to have first choice you'll have to arrive before it begins, but you will probably have to stand in line and it can be very crowded around the stands. Some flea markets I have visited were actually better near the end. That is when the prices drop (even further!) and you have clear view of what is offered because the crowds are thinning.

7. Check who organised the flea market. The best ones in my opinion are the annual ones organised by scouts, music groups etc. for fundraising. The fact that you're helping these organisations is a nice extra.

8. If you own a sewing machine, don't skip the clothing section. Some stuff that may look frumpy at first glance, can be changed into a favourite vintage item with a few simple changes. Just have a look at this revamped vintage dress.

9. Don't reject stuff automatically because it is not vintage. Of course it is nice to look at the cute vintage stuff that makes it all so interesting (like bags, cameras, vases, jewelry, fabric, small furniture, kitsch art etc) but finding a brand new carrybag for your rollerskates for only 50 cents is also a very good find.

10. Last but not least, you have to clean up and give some stuff away once in a while too, otherwise you will end up a hoarder... :)

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