Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Thrift shop guide

Q: Do you know of any guides to thrift shopping? How do you know *what* to buy:

A: First, I should say that if you don't know what an item is, you probably don't need it. However, it's always nice to choose the best quality available when you make a purchase. As far as I know, there's no one definitive book to recommend. Here are a few links and resources I have written or enjoyed:

Learning how to spot designer labels is key. Study catalogs--I bought a Zojirushi bread machine because I recognized the name from the Urban Homemaker catalog.

For used clothing in general, I like a memoir called Alligators, Old Mink and New Money. Another comprehensive book is Secondhand Chic by Christa Weil.

Here's an article I wrote that lists a few hallmarks of quality.

My library had an older Ebay video series by Lynn Dralle, the Queen of Auctions. Though I think the Ebay profit machine has slowed since the series was written, her general tips about finding things are good. In fact, I was shocked at the number of new Ebay guides that popped up in our card catalog. Browse through a few, even if you're not reselling items, because you'll develop an eye to what holds value. If you are unsure of a thrift shop item, go home and look it up on Ebay before buying.


Anonymous said...

I'd like to add a note to this comment:

"If you are unsure of a thrift shop item, go home and look it up on Ebay before buying."

This makes great sense, but there's an exception to the rule: If you have an inexpensive thrift shop with FAST turnover. [We do.]

In that case, it's often worthwhile to risk the money because otherwise, your treasure will be gone. Of course, that means that, sometimes, you end up with a mistake.

But you'll probably come out ahead: my $1 apiece pants stretchers offset the mistake from when I spent $4 on a Rowenta iron with a missing plastic button cover.


Elizabeth said...

I took your advice and went to our thrift store here in Plano, TX. They have a great selection of books and lots of stuff from Target. I was so excited!

bonnie: said...

oh, Plano. Feel blessed to live there. Life is so different now in Tucson!

Betty Jo said...

I've truly enjoyed reading through your blog. You've got some super posts. I'm going to link you to my blog, hope that is ok. xoxo

Stephanie Appleton said...

I think I might dive into the thrift to resell game this year. My husband has internet on his phone. I should take it with me to look up prices on EBay!