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Thrifting 101: Tips and Tricks

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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

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Last Updated on November 22, 2021

Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

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Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

Thanksgiving, a day of pure gluttony, football, and possible uncomfortable situations with family members that you may or may not like. Oh, yeah, and the whole “know and reflect on what it is to be thankful and grateful.”

During the holiday season many people forget what this time of year is bout and are too worried about getting the “early-bird” deals on Black Friday and making sure that they have the perfect gifts for their loved ones. I am sort of a “Grinch” when it comes to the holiday season, mostly because of that mentality by many of the poeple around me.

But instead of being grinch-like this holiday season, I decided to simplify things and get back to what this time of year is actually is about; being thankful for what I have and what I can give.

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Simplify

I’m not a “minimalist” in any real sense, but in the last few months the talks of Patrick Rhone and others have got me to rethink my stance. Can you really have too much stuff?

Absolutely.

And with all that stuff comes the burden and the weight of it on your back.

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If you feel that the things around you are out of control, maybe it’s time to simplify and be thankful and grateful for what you have and use. Here are a few things that you can do to simplify:

  • You know those gadgets in the drawer that you said you were going to sell? Well, time to get the listing on eBay and sell them. Or, send them to a place like Gazelle. Even if they are old and won’t get money, you can at least recycle them.
  • Get rid of things you don’t need. Like old books, clothes, tools, etc. Have something that’s been laying around forever with no use? Donate it to a charity or church. If you aren’t using it, someone else could be.
  • Find your productivity tools and stick with them. Use tools and gadgets that serve multiple purposes so you can simplify your tool set.

Be Mindful

You don’t have to be a master Buddhist or meditator to be mindful (although, it can definitely help). Being mindful comes down to being cognizant of the present and not keeping yourself in the past or future. It’s about living in the moment and being aware of yourself and everything around you. It’s just being.

Without getting too “California” on you, it is super important to be mindful during the holiday rush. Rather than worrying about the things that you forgot at your house on the way to relatives or thinking about the next stop in your endless holiday travels, just breath and think about what you are currently doing.

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Spend the time with your family and friends and don’t crush the moment. Try not to concentrate so hard on getting the perfect photo of the “awesome moment” of the day and actually miss the awesome moment.

Being mindful over the holidays will help you be with your families, friends, and yourself allowing you to enjoy your time.

Reflect

As the year is coming to a close (yes, it really is that close!) it’s a great time to start reflecting on what you have accomplished and what you haven’t. Within the next few weeks we will have a more throrough reflection article here at Lifehack.org, but reflecting every now and then over your holiday break is a great way to see where you have been doing well in your life and where you need to improve.

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Reflection shouldn’t be used to “get down” on yourself. Reflection should be used to take an honset inventory of what you have accomplished, how you handeled situations, and what you can do better. If you journal everyday (a daily form of reflection) it may be a good time to start going over some of the things that you have written and start to put together a year’s end journal entry. I mean, how else will you write your autobiography?

But, seriously, reflecting on yourself makes you aware of your successes and faults and helps you plan and make goals for the coming year. It makes you a better person.

So, while you are stuffing your face with bird, stuffing, and mashed taters’, remember that the holidays are much more than the superficial things. Use this holiday to become a better person.

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Featured photo credit: Libby Penner via unsplash.com

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