I started out thrift shopping because I love clothes. A new item of clothing (new to me) can lift my day from dull and sad to upbeat and happy. Yes, I probably have self-image issues if it can make that much difference, but it does. Over the years of searching, I have learned about quality brands that wear well and launder well. By quality I do not necessarily mean price. Some high end brands are so focused on current styles that their long term care and wear ability are not that great, for instance, in my opinion, Michael Kors. Other brands such as Eddie Bauer are not that expensive but wear like iron.
As a shopper, owner, and volunteer, I have learned a lot about how to find high quality, fashionable clothing, housewares, and collectibles at great prices. I’ve become a more savvy thrift shop consumer and learned a few things to avoid. Through this blog, I hope to share what I’ve learned with you. This being my first blog post for ECA, I would be especially grateful for any feedback you provide on this post, as well as related questions, which might inspire future posts.
Behind the scenes
* Checking for defects (stains, holes/tears, missing buttons, zippers that don’t work)
* Checking for excessive wear or age
* Checking for odor
* Steaming to remove wrinkles
I have learned over time that some stores do these things consistently, and others don’t. It will be well worth your time to zoom in on the ones that do. You’ll not only get better merchandise for your money, but you’ll be much more likely to happily wear what you buy.
A real life comparison
I confess I am probably a bit (!) biased about our all-volunteer thrift shop, but…the green shirt from ECA sure looks like a superior value even at its full price of $7.00. Do we at ECA ever miss something? Of course. But the key thing is that behind the scenes we are consistently doing our best to ensure quality.
The moral of the story
When I first started out thrift shopping, I was willing to go to any thrift shop, no matter how many stained and hopelessly unwearable items were on the racks, and I spent lots of time searching those racks in the hope of finding an item that was in good shape. As I grew more experienced, I found shops that weed out the less desirable items and sell only the good stuff. Those shops are now my favorite places, and I return to them frequently to check what's new. I rarely shop the thrift stores that seem to put out just about anything. I like shops like Seattle Children's Hospital Bargain Boutiques, Mercer Island Thrift Shop, and of course, our Eastside Community Aid Thrift Shop (ECA).
Heads up on a pricing "gimmick"
Thanks for reading my first ECA blog post. I would love to hear from you. Until next time…