I think my hubby supports my habit because it's environmentally friendly (keeps stuff out of the land-fills), and he likes the retro stuff that I find. Plus, it keeps me out of retail stores, which is a much more expensive habit.
If you like vintage stuff enough to want to own it, then thrift shops, estate sales and yard sales are part of your life. Here are some thrifting tips and tricks (none of this is new, but I thought I'd pass it along):
Estate and Yard Sales:
- Craigslist is a good resource for finding estate and yard sales. I like to use keywords (such as vintage, mid-century, pyrex to narrow down the list). I like it even better if pictures are included in the listing.
- You have to be careful about "estate sales." True estate sales are the liquidation of the contents of an entire house and garage. I've gone to a few so-called estate sales which are really yard sales where the seller has purchased items from estate sales, and is now re-selling them for a profit. Usually, the prices at this type are higher than at true estate sales.
- If you're looking for vintage pyrex and kitchenware, the best time to show up is right at the beginning of the sale. These items sell quickly.
- The same can be said of vintage sewing and knitting paraphernalia.
- If you like something but are not sure you want it, pick it up anyway. You can always put it down at the final tally. But if you don't pick it up and then go back for it, chances are it won't be there.
- Generally, the more you pick up, the better the deal. If you have a price in mind for what you've selected, don't be afraid to ask the seller if they'll take that amount for your lot. Especially if it's towards the end of the day.
- Always bring small bills. It's a faux-pas to bargain down a price, then whip out a big bill for which the seller will have to make change.
- Consult yelp.com to find which are the better thrift shops in your area. It helps to read the reviews about a particular shop, as yelpers usually point out the strengths and weaknesses of a location they are reviewing, and which shops to avoid at all costs.
- Be prepared to look at a lot of junk before finding your treasure. On some days, you may walk away empty-handed. The fun is in the search.
- Know your limit- you aren't really thrifting if you're paying more than you wanted to for an item. In either case, pat yourself on the back for keeping it out of the land-fill.
- Find out what the sale days are for that particular shop. Some shops have a discount on a certain department depending on the day of the week, or may have a certain day of the month when everything is 1/2 off.
- If you're buying clothes and are going to try on at the store, wear something like a t-shirt and leggings so you can try-on over your clothes, or a t-shirt and a loose skirt so you can try-on under your clothes. Donated clothes are not always pre-washed!
- Familiarize yourself with labels. I've seen Target merchandise priced upwards of $7.99, but labels sold at Anthropologie tagged at $3.99 (and yes, I jumped at the Anthropologie merch).
- If you find an independently-run thrift shop that you like, donate your cast-offs regularly. It never hurts to build a rapport with the owner or manager. And by keeping them in business, you get to keep indulging in your guilty pleasure.