Have a good understanding of what can be found at the thrift store. It's More than just mustard stained-t-shirts! The more you thrift the better understanding you will have as to what to Keep and what to sweep. Also there are Items that are wise to have on hand in the home when shopping thrift stores.
Successful thrift store shopping involves a routine. Like so many things in life, pay dirt is not usually struck on the first dig. Thrift stores are designed to quickly move inventory and they are very good at it. The trick is to go often.
Visit Goodwill, Association for Retarded Citizens, Disabled American Veterans; Salvation Army; or The Society of St. Vincent de Paul web sites to view store pages. There are other smaller thrift stores run by hospitals that can be found in your area with TheThriftShopper.com. Odds are that several stores will be within the radius of your life. For example, there is a store by: the grocery store I shop; my daughter’s swim practice; my bank; and two are a few blocks from my home. One is by my favorite plant nursery and another by a movie theater we sometimes visit. So, I visit several weekly. Others may see me every other week or once a month.
I highly recommend shopping at charitable stores where the purchase of a repurposed item poetically sends profits to repurpose lives. But, thrift is thrift and whether it be from a non-profit store or a private store. It is a fantastic way to lower one's personal carbon footprint as I wrote for the Christian Science Monitor, Green Shopping, Don't say 'eww' to thrift stores.
When in the vicinity of one, stop in for a 10-minute sweep. You may come out of the store with the mother load. You may come out empty handed. Make it a routine and I promise it will balance out.
As with many things, you may develop a favorite store. That’s fine. But, keep going to all stores in your routine. Treasure can pop up in the most unsuspecting locations and your favorite store may change. Throughout my thrifting adventures, I tried to figure if there is a better day to hit the stores. I can’t say there is. Don’t worry about the day, just go. And, if you're twice in the vicinity of a certain thrift store in a few days, go again. There will be plenty of fresh inventory.
Say there are three stores in the vicinity of your weekly routine. That translates to 30 minutes a week. Now, consider that 30 minutes could save a couple hundred dollars; maybe thousands. Next to spending time with friends and family, thrift store time is valuable. Besides, how many hours does one spend in a mall?
Perhaps you're not in a major metropolitan area with 25 stores. Odds are high that you will visit one. Plan out a thrifting adventure for that adventure. Imagine the treasure that can be found in the Boston/Cambridge area!
There will be times when you grow weary of thrifting. But remember, It's thrift or miss so don't hesitate, just go! Also bring the children, because Children Want Spending Power Too and this will create Fond Memories of Thrift.