Treasure Hunting a.k.a Secondhand Shopping

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Second-hand shopping to someone like me, is the equivalent of treasure hunting to a pirate. Digging for gold... beautiful, beautiful, nuggets of gold.

It's funny to think that there is a stigma associated with buying 'used' goods, like, what? You're too good for it?!? Bah ha ha!

Brrrring me your used Kenneth Cole shirt, your new(ish) Steve Madden boots, and your Links of London silver bracelet, I'll take it! Take it all! Aaaaaand, I might even consider reselling some of it(!).

As a seasoned second-hand shopper, I have found that there are some general rules and guidelines to follow in finding success and not epically wasting your time. Seeing as though we are the best of friends, I thought I'd pass them along.

Here they are:

Char's Rules For Not Wasting Your Time Or Frying a Microchip While Trying to Second-Hand Shop! 


C.R.F.N.W.Y.T.O.F.A.M.W.T.T.S.H.S. (for short)

                                                   (photo credit: Ryan McGuire)

1. Figure out how much time you have to spend looking and then prioritize your search

This is key to not getting overwhelmed by rack after rack of old clothing. If you have an hour, target the items you know you need. Like: jeans and work shirts, or Blazers and kids clothes. Pick two to three things you know you need and then go directly to those sections. Be a ninja shopper; go in for jeans, look at the jeans, walk out with jeans.

2.  Boldly put items in your cart to try on

Seriously, be bold!!! I think a lot of people go off the tracks when they hum & haw over a shirt or a dress; uuuuummm do I like it? Will it fit or look weird?? Is this purple or plum... hmmmm??? Ya. Just try it on. Zero to loose, everything to gain. Aisle contemplations are a huge time waster and you're denying yourself the absolute pleasure of a massive clothing failure. The next best thing to finding a total second-hand score, is trying on a colossal failure.

3. Try to stay focused on quality materials

This is harder than it sounds. When faced with row upon row of miscellaneous clothing gathered from decades of wear, there's bound to be some serious duds. Glittery and bedazzled fuzzy sweaters from the 80's, endless polyester pant suits, slinky and elastic-y 90's street wear, all piled high for your viewing pleasure; it's hard to stay focused on your shopping objective. Hell, I find myself pulling out some real treats thinking, "whaaaaaaat is this?!?". It's distracting and it pulls your attention away from the clothes that you would actually find interesting. And no, you will not wear the Alpaca-fur sweater with pearls tenderly sown onto the front in little star bursts, you just won't, so put back and find something awesome.

4. If you're easily intimidated while shopping try looking at the scarves, bags, coats, and shoes

Hop in the kiddie pool! These items are all very easy to navigate, unlike the densely packed jersey t-shirt aisle. Plus: coats, bags, and shoes are big ticket items, so you will feel extra warm and fuzzy when you nab a score. Scarves on the flip side, are the second-hand no brainer- easy to rifle through, cheap, and instantly upgrade an outfit.

5. If it doesn't look fresh in the store, you sure as hell won't wear it at home

Take a close look at the clothes you're buying when you're in the store. Are they nubly from too many washes? Are there pulls or tears in the fabric (that can't be easily fixed)? Does it smell weird (yes, when in doubt, I'm totally a garment sniffer)? Even if you find the most be-a-u-t-iful designer garment, if it's on the old looking side or smells like someone else's B.O, you're not going to wear it dude, leave it there. 

So friend, relax! Grab a latte and a good friend and cruise for some clothes. And don't forget to tell me about all about it!


Have you ever scored big second-hand shopping? Tell me about it! 

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