I stuffed two bags full of wonderful clothes for $15 a bag! (Tomorrow is buy one bag, get one free, but the things I wanted would be gone by then, I'm sure! Plus, this supports our Christian homeless center so it's like donating to charity, right?!) :) I found four beautiful blazers, which is the way I prefer to dress. They look so classy and yet casual enough with jeans. I guess this is a preference developed from my news anchor days, where I wore a suit jacket each day. They make me feel good! And just because we're home all day with our kids doesn't mean we have to look like it!
While blazers are bulky rolled up and these bags are little (the plastic ones from the grocery store), I stuffed much more into my bag! I found a fleece Cabela's nightgown in my favorite color (sage green), at least four very pretty and fashionable blouses, some high-end dressy summer shirts, a skirt, three sweaters, some ribbed turtlenecks, a pair of dress pants for my son, and a black dress and some pretty silk scarves inspired by Jen. (I'll try to get some pictures edited in later today).
A few quick tips about thrift store shopping:
- I happen to know that a local high-end consignment store donates items that don't sell within four weeks to the thrift store I went to today. A lot of people in our area know this and shop there for great quality clothing at an even greater value. You could call consignment stores in your area and ask nicely if they donate unsold items, and where. (Or ask the thrift stores if they get things from consignment stores and when).
- Our thrift store groups items by style and color (blouses one rack, sweaters and blazers another, jeans, skirts, dresses, etc). You can get a pretty good idea as you run your hand down the rack what is worth taking a closer look at, and what you should pass on. Feel for textures and design features. Without having to pull each piece of clothing out for a closer look, you can spot the difference between really worn items that have been washed too many times and those of almost-new quality.
- Shop frequently. The selection always changes. I would go every day if I could, but I can't (thrift store clothing racks and three little people who like to hide in such racks is too stressful for me to manage). So sometimes I run down on Saturdays when my husband can watch the boys, and I can take a closer look.
- Don't just look at the clothing! I found a Cuisinart grind-and-brew coffeepot that I had wanted for a long time for $5! It was featured in the Macy's ad once on sale for $149. My husband is wonderful at cleaning up electronics; and after a little "degunking work," it works great! I just bought a filing cabinet I desperately needed for $5. I frequently find almost-new, brand-name shoes for my boys for $1 (and shoes for me too). Spray them with Lysol, and they're good to go!
- When you have a need, check the thrift store first! If you have the time, you'll save lots of money. If you don't have the time, you'll have to make up for it by spending more money. It's a trade-off.
- Remember you won't be able to snatch up every deal, and that's ok! I'm sure if I browsed the thrift store each day, I'd find a bunch of things I could use--maybe even need--and would save a bunch of money. But I can't get there everyday, and that's ok! When I stay home, I don't know what I'm missing. Finding great quality clothes like I did today is a wonderful blessing. But there will be more great clothes (and other housewares/electronics/furniture/etc.) tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that. Trust that God will provide for your needs, and then remember as you look around your closest and house, you probably have everything you need anyway.