How to shop at a thrift store: HAVE FUN!

Thrift store shopping is more than just a way to save money, it is also a way to have fun! You’ll often find the obscure and unique sitting next to the common and mundane. The adventure is easily half the reason to go thrifting. Where else can you find a wall mounted moose head on the shelf next next to Christian Louboutin shoes? They might not be the same price but it would certainly make for a unique picture. If you’re the type that enjoys treasure hunts, then it’s time to give thrift store shopping a chance. Here are some tips to get started on your thrifting adventure.

Have a plan but don’t stick to it.

You can easily get distracted with all the amazing stuff in a thrift store so take a list of the things you need but stay open to other possibilities as well. Perhaps your kids need back to school clothes or that third book in their favourite trilogy. Keep an eye out for those items, however, don’t stick to your thrift list so closely that you miss some unique and wonderful discoveries. Part of the enjoyment of thrift store shopping is the thrill of the hunt and the treasures you can find with every visit.

Don’t Buy Stuff Just Because it’s a Good Deal.

Just like in a regular store, even the best deal on your favourite brand isn’t a good deal if the item will just stay in the closet. Yes, it can be hard to say no to huge savings, but think about if you will truly use the item or if it will be sold at your next garage sale. Be open to things you could use or would like, but don’t get caught up in a bargain shopping frenzy. Thrift store shopping in Calgary shouldn’t be painful!

Buy artwork.

Odd, yes, since often art in thrift stores can be extremely dated or tacky but what often stands the test of time is the frames that the artwork comes in. That Creepy Clown picture or dogs playing poker poster can be replaced by a family portrait for a fraction of the price! And you never know what lurks behind that prancing man pony…you may just uncover a gem…or a secret treasure map. Ever seen Goonies?

Get new stuff.

That’s right, not everything at thrift stores is used. At Urban Thrift we often have items donated that are brand spanking new with the tags still on and or no tags but possibly never worn. People donate new items for a number of reasons; they lose (or gain) weight, buy impulsively, or receive items as gifts that just doesn’t suit their taste. They pass these items along to us knowing that they will find a good home and help those in need at the same time.

Think “potential.”

Upcycling is the next phenomenon to hit the interwebs so before you write off that t-shirt of your favourite band as too big, think of all the potential that t-shirt has to offer! A quick sew along the bottom and snip of the sleeves and it has become your next grocery bag. Or you can turn that same t-shirt into a cute workout shirt with a few strategic cuts. Or that ugly old night stand is a quick sanding and coat of paint away from the most fashionable items in your house. Pinterest is a great way to find these upcycle craft ideas. Check out Urban Thrift’s Pinterest Boards for inspiration!

Get your kids into it.

What a great way to teach your kids the value of money than to bring your kids thrifting with you and give them a few dollars. Then give them the same amount in a conventional retail store so they can see the difference of how far their money goes. Encourage them to find unusual, funky clothes and to mix and match to find their unique style. You might end up with a teenager who puts together insanely fashionable outfits from a thrift store rather than one who insists on shopping for the status quo at expensive mall stores.

Have fun.

Thrift store shopping doesn’t have to be just about saving money, it’s an adventure! Spend a few moments browsing the oddities peppering the shelves at Urban Thrift and you’ll see what I mean. I’m not saying you should purchase the gaping fish mouth butter plate or giant lion head mantelpiece, but explore your imagination for just a moment and make up the stories behind these objects. Find the extraordinary in the everyday object and use your noodle to come up with some new uses for common goods. I think you’ll find you love thrifting as much as we do.

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