Secondhand Shopping- The Bonus Features

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Now, I'm assuming you read my last post about secondhand shopping, went right out, and had complete success! Right?!?


Well, in the spirit of baby steps, I intentionally left out some lil' tidbits that are for the fierce secondhand shopper, so as not to overwhelm the newbie with too much information upfront. But that's not you, you like aaaaaall of the info. before conquering a new venture. So I bring you:

Secondhand Shopping: Bonus Features

1. Save even more money! It's not being cheap, it's just plain ol' money savvy

There are actually three ways to save money at places like The Salvation Army and Value Village, they are as follows:

a) Bring a donation and receive a coupon for money or a percentage off of your next purchase

Whether you bring one item or a huge box full of donations, The Salvation Army will give you a coupon for $10 off your next purchase of $25 or more. Check the store website before venturing out to see their policies surrounding donations.

b) Ask the manager for a reduced price if you feel like the ticked price is too high

There really is no rhyme or reason to the pricing scheme at secondhand stores. If the pricing guy in the back room recognizes the brand, it's going to be far more expensive than if he/she has no idea of the value. I've seen used Tommy Hilfiger pants for $19.99 and a Betsey Johnson for $3.99. Which meeeeeans, there's some killer designer stuff for dirt cheap- treasure hunting, I'm tellin' ya!

c) Sign up for the store's promotional e-mails

Each store will inform you when their sales are going on, just make sure you get there early before it's been picked over. I recently did some shopping for a friend and found her a Banana Republic blazer on sale for $2. I had noted the same blazer the week before for $12.99. Score!

2. Don't give up on the ordinary because you're looking for brilliance

There are some seriously well made clothes out there that go unnoticed because some of us are passing them by in search of the holy grail of used clothing (perfectly preserved vintage wear, of course...). If you can keep an eye out for quality fabrics, you can find under-the-radar everyday staples made of 100% merino wool, cashmere, or linen, to name a few. Keep your eyes peeled, as my mom would say (eeew, right?!).

3. Don't be afraid to be creative

Re-envisioning used goods.This is a thrift store advanced skill. Maybe you find a killer cardigan that has a missing button, put it back? Nope! Ask for a discount and then take it home and buy new buttons. Done.What about a perfectly preserved vintage wool coat that is starting to disintegrate at the seams? Leave 'er behind? Nope again! Take it to your local seamstress and have them rebuild the seam work. Investing in used clothing requires the buyer to have an eye for potential as well as the knowledge of whether or not your investment in the garment is going to be worth the time and hassle. Like I said, an advanced skill.

And finally...!

3. Live a bug free life

Alright, bedbugs freak me out. Like, really freak me out. Nasty yes, but also incredibly hard to get rid of... So, isn't secondhand shopping risky?!?

The answer is yes and no. Lemme explain.

It's common sense for someone NOT to donate their clothing, bedding, or furniture while they are infested with bed-bugs, but that's not to say that someone wouldn't. So here's what I do to get around the issue:

I tie the plastic bag up tightly when I purchase clothes and immediately put them in the washer and dryer when I get home. It's the high-heat that kills off the little bastards, so wash and dry on hot. For items that cannot be put in the dryer, I've purchased a handheld steam cleaner ($45 at Sears) and I steam all clothes thoroughly the day they come into the house. I won't lie to you, I am super reluctant to purchase furniture, toss cushions, or bedding, it just seems unwise. And when I feel extra paranoid, I remind myself that the used clothing business is a huge industry, if bedbugs were a big deal and causing large scale grief, we would've heard about it.

On that happy and crawly note, I set you adrift in the vast and mighty ocean of used clothing. If you happen to get stuck knee deep in the sweat pants aisle, send out an S.O.S and I'll lovingly tow you back to the knit wear where you belong.



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