I remember, at fourteen, running full tilt in between our van and the front door of the Goodwill, lest anyone from my private school should spot me and know from whence most of my wardrobe came. Now, sixteen years later, I couldn’t care less who knows that I’m a thrift store shopper. This morning, I set my alarm for 6 a.m., which is what I usually set it for, but I don’t usually bolt out of bed like I did today.
50% OFF SATURDAY!
I arrived five minutes after Goodwill opened their doors, but the place was already teeming with customers. Though my goal was baby clothes, I couldn’t resist checking out the women’s shoes first, scoring a pair of Franco Sarto black leather sandals for $3 (sorry, Baby Girl; you might be nekked for the first year of your life, but Mom’s gonna be stylin’!).
There are a few things you should know before you join me in the bargain hunt:
I am an aggressive shopper. Thrift stores aren’t always filled with the most mannerly (or clean) people, and I’ve decided that if I can’t beat ’em, I’ll join ’em. Therefore, the Jolina you see at a Goodwill’s 50% off Saturday is not the same
Jolina you might see at a book signing. I have been known to turn my cart parallel to the rack of clothing I’m interested in perusing, since people will get right up in your grill to check out whatever blouse you’re ogling.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Last night, I asked my sister-in-law if she wanted picked up on my way into town, since she was going to look for summer clothes for her kids, too. She gave me a wry smile and said, “You like to stay a little longer than I do.” It’s true. I was at Goodwill at 7:05 (one of my favorite coffee shops is on the way), and I didn’t leave until 9:50. I was sorting through clothing that entire time. By the end, my cart was heaped with Children’s Place, Gymboree, Gap, The Limited (now vintage, since they closed their stores in January), Carter’s, Old Navy, Ann Taylor Loft and countless other brands for about $1 or $2 each. But, be warned, you’ve got to dig past the junk, and you’re going to want to bathe yourself in hand sanitizer by the time you leave.
No bargain left behind! My book club and I once met at Goodwill for the 50% off Saturday. My girlfriends just watched in mock horror as I barreled my cart up and down the aisles, pulling sweaters off racks and dumping them in my cart, but in their carts, too. My favorite pair of WhiteHouseBlackMarket heels came from that trip (I have worn them to many different book signings), but I doubt my girlfriends still have the items I made them buy. Hey, bargains like those couldn’t be left behind! 😉
Bargain shopping is in my genes. My grandmother Charlotte had nine children, and money was always tight, so she purchased most of their clothing at thrift sales. My mom still talks about how Grandma Charlotte would wash and starch the items, making them look like new before her children wore the outfits to church. Most of my clothing, growing up, came
from thrift stores as well, and my mom slowly but surely taught me the art of the hunt. We still enjoy thrift store shopping together, but I’ve made a rule that if something comes home, something must leave. When I returned from town today, I went to my closet and culled about a dozen items from the rack. Which I’m going to give to Goodwill. Seems like they’ve got quite the system going on there, doesn’t it? 😉
Are you a bargain shopper, or are you a minimalist who pays full price for a few essential items you really like?