I always enjoy thrift store adventures! Last Monday, my friends and I went to 2nd Ave. Value Store in Stemmers Run Road in Baltimore. My friends are great thrift store hunters. I consider me and hubby pros in thrift store diving, but JR and Joann are experts! They can find the best deals and the best time to buy them. They would show us their finds and I’d be amazed on how they were able to score it.
I have been asked a couple of times why I patronize secondhand stores. Don’t I get “iffy” using an unknown person’s things? My answer is,
- I buy from them because it’s cheaper than buying the same thing brand new. There are just some things that you can get by without buying them first hand. That seems a good money-saving act, right?
- Second, soap and detergents are cheap – you wash these items clean before you use them just like you’d wash your own personal things.
- Third, buying them prevents them from being a part of the already great dumpster problem we have on earth. I’ve gone and found rare Department 56 porcelain villages, slightly used but perfectly working kitchen appliances, valuable portuguese Bordallo plates, decorative mirrors, beautiful curtains, excellent religious statues, rare books, etc. How can you not love thrift stores?
- Of course there are some things that I will not even touch – underwear, socks, lingerie, hair accessories, hats and anything of a more personal nature. But other than these, everything else is fair game.
So that Monday, after dinner, JR and Joanne took me to 2nd Ave. Value Store. The place looks decent and clean and ODORLESS. This is when I get “iffy” – going to unclean and unkept thrift stores or thrift stores that smell. I turn away from those and never go back. (Yes, I have my standards.) The items at 2nd Ave. are all neatly grouped together. Of course, they’re not lined up like those in a department store but the arrangement of the items are still pleasant to look at. Their clothes are categorized by sizes and by type. That’s a plus. The day we went they were having a sale. Depending on the tags, you either get a 30% or a 50% off.
I had fun. I saw a collection of vintage Corning Ware Blue Cornflower stovetop casserole dishes that looked so cute. They’re coming back, do you know that? It could definitely replace some of my kitchen wares. But I resisted buying them knowing we won’t have space anywhere right now with all the plans we have for the house. What I caved in for though was 3 brand new Simply Vera by Vera Wang skirts. This is Vera Wang. And they still have their manufacturer tags on. They’re almost brand new!
Why the excitement? A little background on the delight emotion. Vera Wang is THE multi-awarded New York designer behind those beautiful wedding and evening gowns worn by numerous celebrities. I had since admired her designs back when she first started. They always had a touch of elegance in them. My heart’s wish has always been to own a Vera Wang gown. But of course, champagne taste on a beer bottle budget, right?
So enter Simply Vera. In 2006, she tied up with Kohl’s Department Store to come up with a more affordable clothing line. There are mixed reviews on her Simply Vera collection but the ones that I’ve seen in Kohl’s are quite sophisticated enough. I’ve bought a couple of items from this line before. But as it is, the nearest Kohl’s is a bit of a drive to where we are. So, I’ve never been doing much retail on the brand. Now is the excitement justified? I know, some people, including my husband, cannot understand the logic.). But I am what I am.
These 3 skirts I’ve gotten were retailing for $40 each. They were tagged at $9.99 but with the sale going on, it was sold for $6.66. Not bad, right? I also got 2 Banana Republic skirts – one denim and one black. I’ve already gotten rid of some of my black skirts because they’re now faded and a little loose around the waist. (Yay for me!). There was also this black and white blouse that screams White House Black Market line but isn’t. I got it, too.
All in all, I spent less than $33. Not bad considering that 1 Simply Vera skirt retailed for $40. And I have 3 of those! Plus 2 more skirts and 1 blouse.
So now you understand the rhythmics of thrift store diving? So let me give you some tips on how we do it.
- You might get excited thinking that all the clothes are cheap. But be aware also of how much they are in a regular department or consignment (Ross, Marshall’s, TJ Maxx) stores. Because of previous slides in the economy, more people are now shopping at thrift stores and that brought their prices up. (The wonders of commercialism) So just be aware of how much you’re paying for your articles.
- Refrain from buying underwear, socks, lingerie, hair accessories, hats and anything more personal than regular clothings, or anything that has touched other people’s orifices. I know, nasty right? But they’re out there.
- Check on wears and tears, fades and stains. Can you fix it, will you fix it? Will you make something out of it? Then the imperfections won’t matter?
- Do wash them before you use them. Like I said, soap and detergents are not that expensive.
- Thrift stores are good sources for kids clothes. Your little ones grow up too fast, clothes just pass on in a blink of an eye.
- Do watch out for their sale and discount days. That adds up to the savings.
So there you go. You have just concluded your thrift store 101 lesson. Now, arm yourself and sale away to your nearest thrift store!! Till next time, my dearies…
The once named “godmother of the Philippine Blogosphere”, Gigi Manaloto-Refugia, known by her pen name “Ate Sienna” has been blogging since 2002 in her old pansitan.net community where she housed famous bloggers. She now writes about being 50-something and shares her tips on fashion, makeup, skincare, travel, food and thrift-store diving.
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