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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Finding the Good Stuff Isn't a Race so Shop at your own Pace.

I received this email a few days ago.

Hi gals! 

This was my first week of thrift shopping to resell.  I got to Savers at opening and found a line of 30 people!  When the doors opened, there was a mad rush to all different racks.  I wasn't sure where to start so I went to ladies coats, then tried plus jeans.  I felt really tense though- like I needed to move quick before all the good deals were picked over.

My question is this - what is your average sale day experience?  Do you get there early to have first picks of a rack?  What section do you start in? Do you hit up multiple stores?  Do you bother with rack people have already picked through?



Reading this email made me laugh at my own experiences.  I know what it’s like to do this for a living, so I understand the pressure you’re feeling to get there early and find the good stuff before anyone else.  
Sometimes it feels like a race to the racks, a dash to the furniture and a rush to home decor.
What’s a girl to do?
Don’t fret.  
There’s plenty of trash for everyone and I’ve got the proof.
Since having my 5th child, I’m not out the door a quarter-hour to opening.  I’m lucky if I’m out the door at all.  On a good day, I get to the store and back home before the older kids return from school in the afternoon. 
Even on garage sale Saturdays, I have to wait for Little Sis to finish up her cookie 
or round the boys up from off the trampoline (and you know how much time that takes) before I can leave.  
Most of the time, I’m out around 10:00am, sometimes later.
Looking in the children's rack late in the afternoon on Dollar day at Goodwill, I was surprised to find this Juicy Couture Large Burgundy Velvet Hoodie Jacket Coat.  Maybe no one found it because it wasn't racked in the right place.  Maybe it didn't sell because it was still almost 100 degrees outside.  Either way I got it and it sold on eBay for $9.99.
I’ve done this long enough to know it’s not just luck or coincidence it's just the name of the game.  Even late in the afternoon, I can still find great stuff, like this Women's Old Navy Size 10 Denim Jean Knee Length Dress
I was at a garage sale last week late in the morning and the homeowner told me I could fill a grocery bag of clothes for $1.00.  
Can you believe that?  
I must have fit at least 10 clothing items, including the Old Navy dress.  It sold this week for $8.50.  There’s always good stuff to find.
Even at the Frasier Field Swap, my friend Rachel was the last in line to swap.
She was #50 out of 50 excited pumped-up swapers and did she stress?
She was thrilled to get this vintage yellow lamp.  It was exactly what she wanted.
On date night last Saturday night, the counselor and I stopped at Goodwill before going to dinner.  
He needs a small rug for the entrance of his office.  We didn't find a rug, but we did find Little Sis this great vintage dress for $1.50.
That's what I'm talking about, right little girl.
Let the crowds grip, but don't you.  Know that if it's meant to be, it will end up in your cart.
It sold on eBay for $14.99.
The more I do this, I know which stores I like best.  I know which items sell best, I pick up sweaters in July and shorts in December.   I buy unconventional items, like this 11x14 area rug.  
I paid $20.00 for it at a garage sale.  The homeowner told me it was $600.00 new.  I hope to sell it this week on Craig's List for $100.00.  It's in perfect condition; plush and stylish.
Even though they don't have $dollar days, I still shop at Mesa Thrift, Desert Industries and others. Goodwill, Savers and garage sales are icing on the cake.
Candace, I hope this answers your question.  Do not be intimidated by big crowds.  Check the return racks by the dressing rooms.  Hit multiple stores, even later in the day and always remember to be gracious.  It will always come back to you, not always in the shape of a huge area rug, but you will be profitable.
You can always email us at


  1. Oh I have always loved your finds. They are great. my eues are still on denim dress and little miss sunflower!!


  2. Hi!

    Although I don't shop for a living, I sometimes feel the same way--pressured to get there and looking through racks before everyone else!

    Wouldn't you say, Laura, that some days you find all kinds of good things and some days nothing? Just part of the thrill of the hunt.


  3. I've noticed that at my Goodwill it's mostly young guys that work there. This means that it is extremely common to find beautiful tube tops within the skirts, mini dresses along the blouses and high-brand jeans marked cheaper than they should be. Because --bless their hearts-- they don't really know the difference, and I love it! It keeps me motivated to look everywhere, and I get that exciting little jolt of surprise when I find something awesome where it shouldn't have been.
    -- Caro

  4. Thanks for the response! I am into my second week and feeling much more confident!

  5. Hi girls! It was so fun meeting you at the swap! I am posting my pictures tomorrow (just now getting around to it!) and I would love to post the picture of us together if you don't mind. Let me know if that is not ok and I can take it down.
    Keep in touch-