The Art of Thrifting

the art of thrifting

Thrifting used to be all about visiting an actual store, charity shop, car-boot sale or garage sale and having a rummage around all the goods available until you find something you like and then purchasing it after, maybe, a bit of haggling over the price thrown in.  Now with charities such as Oxfam offering on-line shopping, the likes of Gumtree, Ebay and Facebook Marketplace offering places for people to sell their goods, thrifting has become something we can do from our own homes, in our pyjamas if we so wish, and at any time of day or night – whenever the mood takes us.

Unfortunately, with all of these lovely, pre-loved items being available to us at the click of a button it is really easy to purchase and receive the product and have instant buyers regret. There is an art in thrift shopping and coming home (or taking delivery) of items that you love and today on the blog I’m going to share with you the questions I ask myself when thrifting, which help me to make decisions about what I’m thinking of buying.  Hopefully, these questions will help you too!

  1. Do I really need it?  If it is something that you have been needing for a while (whether it is a coat, bag, household or miscellaneous item) then it is worth considering purchasing.
  2. Do I really love it?  If it is an item that you love, then chances are, further down the line you will still love it and it will be a treasure for you to keep.
  3. Does it need altering?  Usually, if an item needs altering then I put it back.  I have a ton of things that already need altering and I really don’t want to add to the pile.  If it needs altering, chances are that it will just sit and gather dust until you just decide to part with it.  But, if it’s something that you need and love and are prepared to take home and alter straight away then, maybe it’s worth purchasing.
  4. Does it need mending?  See above, the same reasons apply to this as the question above.
  5. Does it suit my style?  If an item suits your style then it is worth considering purchasing as you will more than likely use it and look after it.  If something doesn’t fit your style but you love it and really want it, think of ways you could customise it to fit your style.
  6. Can I upcycle it?  Whether it is a piece of furniture, clothing or accessories, if it’s not quite to your taste and style then consider upcycling it –  can you paint it, re-upholster it, deep clean and varnish it, make it into something else then a purchase is worth considering.
  7. Where will I put it/where will it live?  It is worth visualising where an item will be placed in your home.  If you can visualise where it will live then you are already imagining owning it and taking care of it.  There is no point in purchasing something and shoving it away, out of sight, to be forgotten about.  If you can’t visualise a place for it, don’t buy it.
  8. Where will I wear it?  This is similar to the answer above.  If you can visualise yourself wearing it somewhere, or already have in mind somewhere to wear it and you know you will wear it more than once then this is a good thing.  So many times I have bought clothing because it was unique or interestingly cut or made but then it has sat in my wardrobe and never seen the light of day because I have had nowhere to wear it so take this question into consideration before buying.
  9. Do I own something similar already?  If you own something similar already then it is worth considering how much you use the one you own, how long it has lasted you and if you will use the new one the same amount.  If you don’t use the item you already have that much, or can find no reason to own 2 similar items then give this one a miss.
  10. Will I still use it in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years?  If you can see yourself still using the item in years to come or that it is still useful down the line then, after considering the answers to the other questions, it is worth thinking of purchasing.
  11. What is the life-span of the item?  If the item only has a short life-span in terms of function, fashion, style or how it is manufactured then leave it.  However, if the item is well made, to your taste and style and doesn’t have a limited use then it is worth considering.
  12. Can I get a better deal elsewhere?  It is always worth having a look online (particularly on e-bay, though a google search is just as good) to see if you can get the same or similar item cheaper elsewhere.  It is worth noting how much items are worth and how much people sell them for as, what you think is a bargain at the time may not necessarily be the case at all.

Do you have any criteria you stick to when thrifting?


9 thoughts on “The Art of Thrifting

  1. I like how you’ve thought thrifting through so well. My youngest prefers thrift shops over buying new. I always chuckle when she finds something that someone my age has donated (I’m sure, ‘cuz I have/had something just like it) and she upcycles it, yet she won’t go shopping for free in my closet!? Great tips! Happy Shopping to you!

  2. My daughter had a totally homemade wedding, but fortunately didn’t expect me to make her dress – she got that from a charity shop – a branch that specialised in wedding dresses – and it looked great.

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