Hello, everyone! Welcome to the first of my "Thrifty Thursday" posts. Today, I thought I'd share my top tips for shopping at thrift stores. :)
As you guys most likely know by now, my favorite local thrift store is Goodwill, so some of these tips will apply specifically to what I've found there. That being said, these tips should work at any thrift store. :)
Tip #1: Be Persistent
Persistence is key for successful thrifting. Going back to the store multiple times a week, and even multiple times a day (if you're up for it) will bring you the best results. I tend to go on Tuesdays and Thursdays before my gym classes. My mom usually goes on Sundays after church and our traditional Panda Express lunch. :) Find a time that works for you, but change it up every once in a while. Most stores have different times of day that they put out new products. Sometimes, first thing in the morning is the best time to find things, but sometimes an afternoon or evening is more successful. You never know what will happen, so keep going back, even if you've had a series of disappointing visits. :)
Tip #2: Be Thorough
I'd probably find a lot more things at Goodwill if I followed this rule. Of course, a lot depends on how much time and effort you want to devote to thrifting. Since I do it mainly for fun at this point, and since I'm running out of room, I'm not quite as concerned about being thorough these days.
There are three main places I search for toys and dolls at my local Goodwill.
1. The Toy Aisle:
2. The Toy Table:
Which can look like this...
...or like this, depending on the day. ;)
3. The Product Carts:
I don't know if this is their official title, but at Goodwill, newly priced donated items are brought out in these big carts before they're added to the shelves. Customers are allowed to paw through the carts before things are shelved. Honestly, I still feel a little weird doing this, but my mom has found some GREAT stuff this way. More on that later. ;)
Overwhelmed yet? ;) I usually start glazing over by about halfway through the toy aisle, so don't feel bad. If you take things slow and are willing to dig, though, you'll have more success as a thrifter than someone who just skims the surface.
The Toy Table can hold countless treasures, but you'll find more if you sift through everything. I've been known to dig through the whole table from one side, and then go to the other side and start all over again. It's amazing how much you can miss just because of your angle.
I spy a McDonald's Shopkin! :)
Here are a few things I discovered at the Toy Table today.
Since I am trying to cut back on stuff, I put almost all of back on the table. In fact, the only thing I ended up coming home with was the Merida figure on the right. It was fun to unearth all of these ponies and fast food toys, though. :)
Here she is, all cleaned up. She's plastic and appears to be a cake topper of some sort.
Some of you may remember that I wasn't a big fan of Brave when it came out. It's still not my favorite movie. But Oldest Gal got to see it for the first time this past year and really enjoyed it, so I thought I'd surprise her with this little 49 cent figure. :)
Don't be afraid to dig through things to find those treasures. But I'd strongly advise keeping a supply of antibacterial wipes or hand sanitizer in your car for afterwards. I can always feel the grime on my hands after I've touched that many old toys. :}
Tip #3: Be Patient
This kind of goes along with #1. There are times when I'll visit Goodwill for weeks and never find anything significant. Which is probably good, because my house would be way too full if I found something spectacular every time. ;) It would be easy to give up and decide that it wasn't worth going anymore. But you never know when you'll find something. The stock changes every day and throughout the day. Don't give up just because you've struck out multiple times. Without fail, I'll always have a success after a string of failures. It may not always be a huge, earth-shattering find, but there's usually something to celebrate. :)
Tip #4: Have Fun!
On the flip side, try to keep thrifting fun. Going into a thrift store is like going on a scavenger hunt. You never know what you'll discover. However, if you have a slightly obsessive personality like mine, it's easy to live at the thrift store (especially if you have time on your hands). You can drive yourself crazy thinking about the possible finds you're missing. I know that sounds a little over the top, but I've actually found myself thinking that way before. Some of the local regulars do spend entire days at Goodwill, waiting for the new product to come out. (My mom and I have been known to go multiple times during the day, if we're being perfectly honest.) ;) I'm not condemning people who want to thrift that way, because everyone is different. For someone buying and reselling as a business, that may be the way they have to shop in order to make enough of a profit. But personally, I don't want to thrift like that. If I did, I think I would feel enslaved to the store and this hobby, instead of enjoying it as a fun and casual pastime.
Whatever way you decide to thrift, keep it fun. When it starts becoming overwhelming or stressful, it's time to back off for a bit. :)
I've already shared some of my more amazing finds in earlier posts, which you can see on my Thrift Store Finds page HERE, but I thought I'd share a few more recent finds on today's post. It wasn't as exciting of a week for me, but I still found a few fun things.
I've been keeping my eye out for a copy of Iron Man on DVD for a while. I didn't want to spend a lot, but I wanted to watch it again, especially since Oldest Gal and I had our recent Marvel marathon last month. ;) This is one I didn't have. I can still remember watching this in theaters, back before we knew how huge the whole Marvel thing would become. This was the one that started it all. And while Iron Man isn't my favorite Avenger (and his films usually have a little more inappropriate content than the others in the series), I still enjoyed the story. This was $3.99.
I'm always on the lookout for these books. For Women Only and For Men Only by Jeff and Shaunti Feldhahn are excellent books for any married couple. Hubby and I read them several years ago and both wished we'd had them when we were first married. We love giving them as gifts or letting other couples borrow them. So whenever I find a copy, I snag it. (Note to my single readers: these do go into the physical aspects of marriage as well, so I'd recommend this for engaged or married couples. Shaunti has also written a book called For Young Women Only, but I haven't had the chance to read it yet. Sorry, guys, there doesn't appear to be a "For Young Men Only.") :)
I found this cute Cherished Teddies figurine in the breakables section for $5.19. Oldest Gal collects these, so I'm putting it away for a Christmas gift. :)
For 99 cents, I got this doll-sized edition of Aesop's Fables. :)
The illustration on the back.
So, last week, when I first decided I wanted to do this post, my mom had a very convenient and AMAZING thrift store find. I thought it would be the perfect way to wrap up this post. :)
She found a white body Pleasant Company Kirsten doll numbered and signed by Pleasant Rowland herself, dated 1986. :D She was sitting in one of those product carts we talked about earlier, waiting to be shelved. Her price? $5.99.
For those of you who are not aware, Pleasant Rowland was the founder of the American Girl company back in 1986. The earliest AG dolls had white bodies instead of flesh-colored ones, and apparently the first 100 of them were personally signed by Pleasant.
She does have a couple of flaws, like this bit of ink in an unfortunate location...
...and some frazzled bangs that will be difficult to repair.
However, her limbs are amazingly tight and she has no silver eye or any other issues. Most of her rub marks are minor and should clean up quite nicely.
She came in Samantha's School Dress...
...which is marked West Germany on the tag (meaning it was one of the original dresses, which were manufactured in Germany instead of China as they are nowadays).
And this is one of those examples of patience and persistence paying off. Our local Goodwill first opened in 2012. In that time, we have only found two American Girl dolls (my mom has actually been the one to find both of them). This is not counting the Molly I found, since she was in a Nevada Goodwill. ;) We assume that most of them are set aside for Goodwill's online auction site. However, mom thinks that because the white-bodied dolls are not tagged, this one slipped through the radar.
I almost hesitate to post this. If anyone from Goodwill reads this, we may not ever find a white-bodied doll again. ;) But I just wanted to show you how this sort of "right place at the right time" thing can happen at a thrift store, and you never know when. I think that's the most exciting thing about it. :)
I hope this post has encouraged you and inspired you to try some thrifting of your own. Have any of you found something amazing at a thrift store? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below. :)
Have a wonderful day, everyone, and Happy Thrifting! :)