Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Junction Tuesdays: Tough thrifting decisions

(Our apologies that Junction Tuesday has once again become Junction Wednesday. We had some technical difficulties yesterday. Oops.)

I hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend!  I’ve been home in Massachusetts soaking in the last bit of New England sun and surf over the past week, missing my usual Monday and Thursday thrift trips.  Needless to say, I’m having thrift withdrawals and am in need of some serious bargain hunting.
This week's blog is dedicated to my step by step process in thrift decision making.  Many people think thrifting is like any other form of shopping - you see something you like, toss it in your cart and buy it.  But in fact, if you plan on making big trips or thrifting on a regular basis like I do, its helpful to follow a systematic process. 
When deciding on a purchase, I never make a final decision right off the bat:

1.   Whether its price, style or size that’s in question, I‘ll put the item in my cart for further consideration. 
2.   Once I’ve collected a bunch of things, I’ll find a spot next to a rack and mirror where I can filter through and try them on.
3.   Next, I’ll hang everything up so I can better see what I have.  (If you do this, make sure to watch your items closely so no one takes them).
4.   Then I organize my buys by “definites,“ “maybes” and “pricey buys," looking over them closely for stains, tears, broken zippers and loose hems. 
5.   The definites go back into the cart and the maybes get a closer look.  Is the price worth it?  Do I like it enough?  I’ll usually try on these items even if they aren’t my size, just to get a feel for the shape and style.
6.   The final pieces I reconsider are the “pricey buys“.  Did I nix a lot of the maybe’s?  Can I resell a pricey piece for a large profit?  Are any of them must haves? 
7.   You may think that’s the end of it.  But you never know what you’re going to find on your way out.  So my very last quick decisions are made while unloading my finds at the cashier. 
And that’s it.  Although it seems like a lot of hassle, I think you’ll find it’s worth it in the long run.  (Especially after you realize the $40 80s wedding dress you thought would make a sweet summer frock is actually not that sweet and can’t be returned.) 

-Shannan Fales is the owner of Junction at 1510 U Street NW. She shares her expertise in vintage and thrift each Tuesday.


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