So, lately I’ve been really into getting my finances in order. I know, I know. I long miss the days where I could swipe my credit card and clothes would magically appear in my closet, full price, and then in a few months I would decide I didn’t like them anymore and they’d be sent away to Goodwill.

I cycle through clothes like some girls cycle through boyfriends or car insurance providers. Lately though, as a product of losing 25 pounds, instead of buying a whole new wardrobe, I’ve taken to not just dropping clothes off but shopping at thrift stores and places like Goodwill.

It all started on Pinterest. (doesn’t it always?) I had been eyeing the cute new colored jeans but didn’t want to pay $70+ on a trend that will surely go away in a year or two. I started scouring the local thrift stores until I found a perfect pair of magenta straight-leg jeans (Bullhead brand) for only $6. But, the day I went the colored tag was 50%! I swear, finding a deal like that is a high I have never experienced before in my life. Only $3, and I’ve gotten so many compliments on them.

There’s a little bit of an art to thrifting, I’ve realized. I’m by no means an expert – but something that I realized is you have to be ready for the chase. There could be days where you look through every single hanger and find nothing, and there could be times where you find so many great deals you can’t fit them in your car to take home. You have to be in the right mood to be committed to finding what you want and compromising. Not every piece that works is going to be exactly like it is in the magazines.

On the home decoration side, I’ve always been a big fan of garage sales. When I was little, my mom and I would go on Saturday mornings and I would always want to buy a board game with my money even though there was no way in the world all the pieces would be there. My parents would have to buy me the game brand new anyway.

Since I’ve been going practically my whole life there are some tips and tricks that I’ve picked up, especially in the past year or so.
  • The earlier the better. Now, I’m not hardcore because I’ve never gone out on a Friday morning because my work schedule would never allow it. But I do wake up around 7 and head out around 8. It gets so hot so quickly and you’re probably done by 10:30.
  • The older the homeowner, the better. That means that you’re not going to be looking at baby clothes and nokia brick cell phones. Generally, if it’s a young family there’s not going to be that great of stuff. You want an old couple, probably a set of grandparents or older that have really cool old items. That’s where I’ve found most of the vintage stuff that I’ve bought – old records, silver, those vintage cameras. Even if you don’t buy anything from the older people, it’s really neat to see all the crap they’ve collected over the years.
  • Don’t be afraid to haggle. If the people aren’t crazy (which some of them think they’re going to make a serious profit from selling baby clothes OUT OF THEIR GARAGES), then what they’re essentially doing is trying to get rid of the crap. There will usually be a price on whatever you’re wanting, and I try to go as low as possible whenever I haggle. That way if they go lower than the original asking price, but not my price, I know I have a deal. If they won’t budge, just walk away. Usually they will give you what you want because they’re just trying to get rid of the crap.
  • Estate Sales – those are different. Usually they are held because someone died, so it’s kinda weird looking through their house, their clothes, and all of their stuff knowing that that person is dead. It’s a little bit more tense than when you go to a garage sale and talk to the person about all the Fear Street books they have for sale. I don’t go to a lot of estate sales because they generally price everything pretty high. I’ve never had good luck with them.
  • Don’t feel bad if you don’t buy anything. I usually talk to the people when I come up and that’s where I get the best tips. I was talking to a young couple telling them I needed furniture and they pointed me to the neighborhood where I bought that TV stand. I always ask how they’re doing and then thank them when I leave.
  • Drive-bys are generally telling if there’s good stuff or not, but you never know what’s going to be there when you park your car and get out. If the garage looks bare, I just go on to the next one.
  • Rich neighborhoods are sometimes great – but mostly the stuff doesn’t have as much character as an older neighborhood.
  • May is the best month for garage sales. By July, neighborhoods have generally already had their “Garage Sale Weekend.”

I try to make little impact with my living. Plus, my fashion taste and my income don’t really mesh all that well. Saving now will help me in the future. And when it comes to trends, they come and go for weeks at a time.

Are any of you all thrifters or garage sale experts? Let me know in the comments!

Mal xoxo

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3 Responses to One Girl’s Trash…

  1. Teri Centner Teri Centner says:

    I used to work in an office where we went to garage sales together. We called it “Junkin’” but we came away with some really good deals. The best one I remember was my boss buying an old-fashioned coke machine for a mere $5.

  2. Billie says:

    I absolutely love thrifting, and know what you mean about that high! I recently found a barely used Michael Kors purse at a local Goodwill for $3.99! It’s definitely a chase and you don’t always find such steals, but when you do it is so worth it!

  3. Courtney Hannah Courtney Hannah says:

    I love thrifting. Anyone know of any good websites that will let me know what is local?

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