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Posts Tagged ‘thrift store’

I love thrift stores. Lately I’ve been visiting them a lot more frequently. Maybe it’s the economy, or maybe I just love the idea of finding a great deal.

A few weeks ago I hit up a new thrift store in my home town. It’s small, but seems to have high quality items. I was getting ready to leave when I spotted the shoe section. I’ve never bought shoes from a thrift store—I’m not at all opposed, I just don’t tend to buy shoes very often in general and thrift stores obviously don’t always have the size I need.

Case in point, a pair of hiking shoes I narrowed in on were a size too big for me. But I decided to try them on anyway because it immediately became apparent that they were in great shape and were probably a fairly expensive shoe new. And I love to hike.  Here’s a photo of them:

hiking-shoes

The price tag was $5. I thought that seemed like a very good price for new-looking hiking shoes with awesome gripping soles. Then the store owner noticed me trying them on and informed me that all shoes were 25% off. At $3.75, how could I pass up that deal? The problem was, I was having trouble making a decision.

Here are some of the thoughts that were going through my mind:

These shoes are a size too big. They fit even with just one pair of socks, but are not a perfect size.

I already have a few pairs of hiking boots (did I mention I like to hike?), so I don’t really have any pressing need for another pair. At the same time, I only have high-top hiking boots, not hiking shoes.

I don’t want to clutter my closet with too many shoes. Shoe clutter is annoying.

What if someone else in the community really needs these shoes?

Is there someone I know who I could buy these for?

Come on, these shoes are only $3.75!!!!

I bought them. And I’ve worn them several times since buying them.  To be honest, my deciding factor came down to the amazing price on a high-quality pair of shoes.  But I still wonder if I made the best decision. For example, what should be more important: price, need, clutter control, or whether I’m preventing someone else from buying a great pair of shoes?  And that’s where you come in:

What would you have done in my shoes? (pun intended)

After voting in the poll, feel free to explain why you voted as you did in the comments section below.

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We’re now on the fourth day of the Organize My Wardrobe series and hopefully you’ve got some useful clothes organizing tips under your belt so far (pun intended). Today I want to switch gears slightly and offer you a few money-saving ideas when it comes time for you to buy new clothes. Maybe you need to buy new clothes, or maybe you just want to buy new clothes. No matter your reason, you shouldn’t burn a hole in your wallet doing it! While there are many creative ways to save money shopping, I’m going to focus on three practices in particular that I use regularly:

Find clearance racks

It goes without saying that you should always try to buy clothes on sale. However, to be a truly savvy shopper means you should be wary of the store that claims something is on sale, when in fact it really isn’t—technically speaking. Let me explain. I’ve been to stores where the same clothes are ALWAYS listed as being on sale. So are they truly ever on sale, then? Perhaps not.

Stores can inflate ‘list’ prices, offer you a reduced ‘sale’ price, and all of a sudden you feel like you are getting a deal. Wow that $350 jacket is 50% off! What a deal! Um, ya, since when is $175 a deal? Now, I’m not trying to be cynical, because sales most certainly can be legitimate (and maybe that jacket was imported leather or something). Just be careful not to be fooled by carefully crafted language like ‘now on sale’ or ‘50% off’ and then automatically assume you are getting a good price.

One of the better ways to ensure that you are getting a good price is to shop clearance racks. Unfortunately clearance racks can often be heavily picked over, disorganized, and full of all the wrong sizes. But they can also be gold mines. Usually in some far back corner of the store, these racks are full of clothes marked down from not only their regular price, but also their supposed ‘sale’ price. Be patient, take time to look through the mess, and you just might find a super deal.

Buy shorts in winter

Winter is cold where you live, you say? I’m not suggesting you wear shorts in winter, just that you buy them in winter. Why? Because stores need to push their inventory out season to season. At the end of each season (and often well before), stores are hurrying to move on to the next season. So when fall starts, summer clothes get pushed to clearance racks and eventually disappear. When spring arrives, winter clothes are packed away until next year.

A savvy shopper would plan ahead and try to buy winter clothes at the beginning of summer and summer clothes at the beginning of winter. It sounds backwards, but it can be a real money saver. For example, this past spring, my husband and I discovered a rack of $150 heavy-duty winter jackets marked down to $15 (that’s 90% off!). We each bought one, but had to be patient and store them for the summer. We finally pulled them out last week and recalled our amazing deal.

Stores know that most customers usually don’t buy clothes in the off-season, but they still want to clean out their inventory. Hence, they offer super clearance deals. To take advantage of this phenomenon, you just have to plan ahead and have patience—but it’s worth it!

Shop thrift stores

Leave behind those major retail chain stores or boutiques for a moment and consider a second-hand store, often lovingly called a thrift store. Now not all thrift stores are created equal…some are just plain awesome, but others can be over-priced, or worse, downright junky. If you discover a great thrift store, you’ll know it, and you’ll want to keep going back over and over. Why? Because of the prices!

If you have an issue with wearing other people’s clothes, then it’s time to get over it. When you buy clothes at a thrift store, you take them home and run them through the laundry. Now they belong to you. It’s not weird! Furthermore, I’ve often found clothes in thrift stores that still have the tags on them…that means they are brand new. Finally, we as a society need to lose this mentality that shopping at a thrift store is somehow ‘below’ us or something. There’s a Goodwill commercial on TV now where two women are ashamed to admit they shop there, but when no one is looking, they buy all sorts of things! The point is, thrift stores save you money, recycle clothing, and are good for the community as a whole.

Now I mentioned great prices. Yes, you can find some GREAT prices at thrift stores. I have another fun story to share. There’s a really nice second-hand store in my husband’s home town that I always hit up whenever we visit. A few months ago I discovered they were holding a bag sale. Never having encountered such an event, I excitedly asked the cashier how it worked. She told me to take a paper grocery bag and fill it with as many clothes items I could fit…all for just $10. Now I’ve heard of bag sales being even cheaper, but come on, $10! I victoriously rounded up 6 skirts, 6 blouses, 2 dresses, and a pair of capris, all in like-new condition (and one brand new!). If that’s not a deal, I don’t know what is.

Reader Reflection

These are just three money-saving shopping tips from among many more. Where do you find your best clothes deals?

What’s next?

Tomorrow is the last day of this special series! I’ll wrap up what we’ve learned, offer some long-term wardrobe management tips, and provide some useful links to further resources.

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Yesterday I outlined some steps you could take to do a lot of sorting and decision-making regarding controlling clutter in your clothes collection (now that’s some alliteration!). Hopefully you were able to be honest with yourself and let go of a few garments while also freeing up some closet space! Today I’m going to suggest some creative ways you can part with the clothes you decided to get rid of. No, they aren’t destined for the trash! On the other hand, they aren’t destined to get stored indefinitely in your garage or basement, either. But what can you do with them? Below is a list of creative options that range from various money-making solutions to interesting ways you can give your clothes away.

Make money selling your clothes

Why not try to make a few bucks so you can use that money to buy new clothes? Um, ya, I’m joking. But seriously though, you spent hard-earned money on the clothes that you’ve decided to part ways with, so it’s not such a bad idea to try to sell them to someone else if they are still in good condition. Here are four possible money-making solutions:

  • Sell your clothes at a rummage sale. Hold your own rummage sale or ask a friend if you can join their sale. Rummage sales are not only good outlets for selling your clothing, they are also great ways to meet new people in your neighborhood. But be sure to recognize that rummage sales, while fun, can also be a lot of work.
  • Sell your clothes on eBay. Do you have an expensive winter jacket you don’t wear anymore because you moved to a warmer climate? Do you have a bridesmaid dress that no longer fits you? Consider trying to sell it on eBay. While eBay might not immediately jump out at you as the ideal place to sell clothes, it definitely has potential. Selling on eBay comes with its downsides, like having to create auctions, paying small fees, and dealing with shipping. However, it also has its benefits. You will probably be able to get more money than you would at a rummage sale (where people expect real bargains) and you will have a much wider audience (the whole world!).
  • Sell your clothes on Craigslist. With Craigslist you’ll reach a wider audience than your rummage sale, but perhaps not quite as wide as on eBay. However, Craigslist is quite popular, very easy to use, and totally free! People in your area who might not have come by your house to your rummage sale perhaps would find you instead on the internet.
  • Sell your clothes at a consignment store. Consignment stores are second-hand stores that give you a cut of the money for the items you donate. Clothing consignment stores, as differentiated from basic thrift stores, usually only accept higher quality clothing (like new) and sometimes they might require that the clothes be modern (i.e. made within the last few years). But the beauty of this method is that you simply bring in your clothes and they do the rest of the work! You get paid when they sell your stuff.

Donate your clothes for a good cause

In addition to trying to find ways to make money getting rid of your clothes, you should also consider donation. Giving your clothes away to someone else who needs them will not only benefit the recipient, it will also benefit you! It feels good to do good, doesn’t it?! Here are five ways you can donate your clothing:

  • Consider the hand-me-down potential of your clothes. Before you even get your clothes out the door, you should consider whether what you are getting rid of might be able to be worn by someone else in your household. This method works best for kids clothes. There’s no need to keep buying your children all new clothes over and over. Kids go through clothes so quickly that doing the hand-me-down thing is really the best solution. As far as adults go, I for one will be the first to say that when I was a teenager it was a fun day when my mom would clean out her closets: new clothes for me!
  • Give your clothes away to extended family or friends. Does your brother have younger children that could wear your children’s old clothes? Do you have a best friend who would just love your jacket? Ask around. You never know who might be interested.
  • Look for a freecycle program in your community. Freecycle is an internet organization fairly similar to Craigslist where people can list items online that they want to give away for free. Go to freecycle’s homepage to see if you have a program in your local community. If you have a bin full of winter garments or a box of baby clothes you are trying to get rid of for example, freecycle may be a great option.
  • Donate your clothes to a thrift store. Different from a consignment store, plain thrift stores accept donated clothes but do not give you a cut of the sale. But in turn they are able to offer clothes at a very low price to people in the community who are looking for deals or who may not be able to afford new clothes at full retail price. Additionally, any clothes you donate can be written off your taxes!
  • Donate your clothes to a charitable organization. Does your church accept clothes donations? How about local shelters? Also, certain charity organizations love to get donated clothes that they can then send on to disaster-stricken areas or poor third-world countries. Investigate local organizations or contact missionaries to find out how you can help.

Reader Reflection

These are only some of the ways you can creatively get rid of your clothes clutter. Have you found any interesting options you’d like to share here?

What’s next?

So far you’ve made decisions about clothes you don’t need anymore and now you are equipped with several ideas regarding how to get rid of them. Tomorrow we’ll return to your closet, see what’s left, and get it organized!

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