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Thrifting 101: Tips and Tricks

Thrifting 101: Tips and Tricks

First off, what is thrifting? According to Wikipedia, it is the act of shopping at a thrift store, garage sale, flea market, or charitable organization, with the intent of discovering interesting items at a cheap price. Thrifting can also be a past-time hobby that is both rewarding and energizing. Each piece of attire is unique, and each one bought is helping to save the environment. Some thrift for profit, others thrift for personal style, and yet even others thrift just for the sake of it. Whatever the case, it’s always a win-win situation.

Here are some tips and tricks accumulated over the years as a self-proclaimed amateur professional thrifter.

1. Go with a goal, but don’t limit yourself.

You may have 20 black shirts, or perhaps 50 pairs of leather boots, or countless designer bags. Is it a good idea to continue adding to that collection? You decide! For every thrifting trip, it is always a good idea to come in with a vague list of items in mind (e.g. autumn scarves, sweaters, and cardigans). However, it is more than possible that you may come across a magnificent piece that doesn’t fit into the list, such as a gorgeous pair of sunglasses. Does that mean you shouldn’t make the purchase? Absolutely not! In fact, most off-season attire are priced competitively in order to sell them during the off-peak seasons — leading to additional savings.

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In short, go with a mental list, but be open-minded to unique, random items that may spark your interest.

2. Thrifting gear is a must!

No, not a helmet or steel-toed boots — no one’s going to be injured. Thrifting gear is essential, as you simply cannot foresee how busy the store will get on a certain day (and definitely have this handy for those sale days!). It consists of form-fitting, comfortable clothing that can easily have additional clothing worn over it, so that you don’t have to spend extra time waiting for change rooms. Don’t go sockless; instead, wear relatively thin socks (or better yet, bring an extra pair), so when trying on footwear, sanitary issues can be reduced.

3. Bring Cash

“That’s a cute shirt! Only four dollars? What a steal!” Before you know it, you’ll be crossing your pre-existing budget in no time. Since the items in a thrift store are (for the most part) very reasonably priced, it is easy to assume that each item won’t make too much a difference in the final total. However, like dollar stores, this gives a deceptive illusion of frugality, when in reality, the numbers add up quickly. To avoid feeling guilty of overspending (happening often with bank cards), take it from Macklemore and just bring the bills:

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“I’m gonna pop some tags, only got twenty dollars in my pocket…”

4. Familiarize!

Every thrift store is different: from items in stock, to hours, to stock days. Don’t be shy, and be sure to politely inquire a sales associate concerning how the store is run and when its inventory is being replenished; ask about sale days and if any membership discounts exist. Once a relationship is established with the employees at the store, communication becomes much easier, and sometimes, they will let you know of special upcoming sales that aren’t available to the general public.

Talk about customer loyalty perks!

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5. Enjoy the moment.

It sounds cliche, but it is true. It may be of great pleasure to get caught up in the potential number of dollars saved and the feeling of fabulous frugality, but the best thing about thrifting is the happiness and unpredictability of the treasure hunt. Take in your surroundings. Look at the splashes of surrounding color. Feel the various textures of the fabrics. Listen to the ambient chatter of fellow thrifters. Even if you come back with an empty bag at the end of the day, the experience would have still been fulfilling nevertheless.

Relax. Thrifting is a journey, not a battle.

It’s time to start the search!

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Featured photo credit: The BlueGrass Situation via bluegrass-assets.s3.amazonaws.com

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Lily Yuan

Full-Time Student

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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