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Thrifting Tips

So you want to start thrifting more, but aren't sure where to start. Maybe you get easily overwhelmed when you step into the shop, or don't know what key words to type into FB marketplace, whatever it is, I am here to help (and I'm proud of you for starting to think second hand vs always new)! Below you can find some of my top tips when it comes to starting out as a new thrifter.

When thrifting IRL:
  • Make a mood board: If you have specific items or a specific vibe in mind, making a mood board or vision board can be really helpful to guide your thrift tip. There will be so many things at the shop, but if you go in having an idea for what you’re looking for it will likely stand out quicker amongst the chaos that can be second hand shops haha. It doesn’t mean it will be there, but if it is there, you’ll spot it (or something similar) quicker.

  • Leave it behind: Just because somethings cool or pretty or a good deal doesn’t mean it needs to become yours, it’s ok to leave good stuff at the shop and stick to your mood board. Someone else will enjoy the find. The point of your trip is to find what you need, not pick up clutter.

  • Make your rounds: Go when you have time to browse, don’t rush the trip. I like to make a few rounds around the shops. First round: getting a feel for the shop, especially if it’s a new one to me. Second round: looking for items on my list. Third round: scanning for anything I didn’t see the first time. 

  • Sometimes we have to take an L: Know that you’re not always gonna find what you’re looking for and that you’re not always gonna find a good haul. That’s ok! Don’t get discouraged. Try again another week. You see thrift hauls online (maybe you've seen some of mine), but that’s because we’re sharing when we score, we don’t make videos when we walk out without anything to share, but it most definitely happens!

  • Make a day adventure out of it: If the thought of thrifting feels like a chore (or even if it doesn't), try turning it into a whole adventure day to make it more fun. Maybe you drive an hour out of town to visit a new thrift store, and also try a fun place for lunch or go on a new hike. Maybe the thrift shop is local, but there's a gallery down the street that you always drive past and have never gone into so you tack that on to your day adventure. Find 2-3 other things besides the thrift shop to make it a full fun adventure day.

  • Big items, small person: If you ventured out alone and you found a big piece of furniture that you want to buy but don't know how to get it home or don't have a car that will fit it, ask the shop if they'll deliver. They will usually charge a fee for delivery, but if they don't offer delivery you can always hire a Task Rabbit or person on Thumbtack/etc. If you know someone personally who will help you, but they're not with you that day, just ask the shop to keep it on hold and go back another day to pick it up. They will usually only keep it on hold for a day or two, so make sure you can go back to the shop in a timely manner.

When thrifting on online marketplaces:
  • Using and finding keywords: When you’re looking for a specific style on online marketplaces, but aren’t sure how to find what you’re looking for because you aren’t sure what the style is called or what key words to use, try finding a piece similar to what you want on another website. Once you found the item you like, click on the product and scroll down to the “description” section of the product. There will usually be a few sentences that describe the piece and you can choose a few words from that to add into your marketplace search. For example these chairs on Serena and Lily, have the description "Design chameleon. A Parsons shape. Rattan woven over mahogany. Resplendent texture. Brass caps. A showpiece of tonal nuance." So what I would pull from that might be "Parsons shape" and "Rattan woven," I think pulling any more might get too specific for searching second hand. My final marketplace search might look like "Parsons shape rattan woven dining chairs" and if nothing shows up, I could even simplify to "rattan dining chairs" to see if that opens up more options.

  • Negotiate a good deal for yourself: If you love thrifting, you probably love a good deal. If you're talking to someone about picking something up see if they can lower the price a bit. No need to lowball them, but they might knock off a percentage of the price especially if they need it gone asap.

  • Safety: If someone is picking something up from me, I don't give my personal address out. I will give them cross streets near me and meet them there. The exception being if it's an extremely large piece of furniture, then I will have a friend on the phone with me when they arrive or I'll let a friend/family member know someone is coming to pick something up and when I'll check in. Similarly, if you're picking something up just shoot a friend or family member a text saying you're picking something up and you'll text them when you're done. I always ask the person I'm picking up from to meet outside, do not go into their house, especially if you're alone. Along the same lines, I would recommend not giving your phone number out and just sticking to the online chat, as well as keeping pick ups to daylight hours. Last tip here is to check in the day of pick up, sometimes people bail and it sucks. To avoid making a drive out to pick something up and then finding out they've bailed, double check the day of the pick up that they're still on for the meet up.

  • Big items, small person: If you live alone and you found a big piece of furniture that you want to buy but don't know how to get it home or don't have a car that will fit it, ask the person you're buying from if they'll deliver. Sometimes they say they'll be in the area so it's no issue, sometimes they'll charge a fee, other times they just can't. If they can't, and you don't have a friend that can help, you can always hire someone on Task Rabbit or Thumbtack/etc to help you out.

  • This should be obvious, but make sure to give your finds a good clean. If it's machine washable that's a major win, but if it's not, give it a good wipe down and if you can/if needed let it sit outside in the sun for a bit to get rid of any musk (or leftover energy from the previous owners).

  • If it's small enough, you can put it in a plastic bag and let it sit in the freezer for a few days. I do this with books to kill off any possibility of book lice.

  • Generally if it's a clean shop, the items will be cleaner too. If you're diggin in bins though, I would give things an extra wipe down.

Hopefully this was helpful and if you have any questions, please leave a comment or shoot me a message! If you go on a thrift adventure, or use any of these tips, do let me know or better yet if you make a post about it, tag me in your video so I can see your finds!

Until next time,

xx Rose


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