Garage sale browsing

I didn’t wake up Friday morning planning to go thrifting, but when an opportunity arose … I snatched it. It all started when my dad returned from walking the dog. “Hey Amy, a house on the next block is getting rid of a sectional couch for free. Might be good for your new apartment.” I’ll be moving out of my parents’ house and into my first solo apartment in October, so I’m in the process of rounding up furniture and other necessities. And a couch, especially a FREE couch, was definitely on my list.

My mom and I quickly visited the next street to take a gander but were disappointed with what we found. This couch was a mess. Stains and bird poop (it was settled under a tree) covered this cream-colored leather sectional. “You can do better Amy. Plus, you don’t have to have a couch the day you move in.” I knew she was right, so we moved on. She’d mentioned earlier that our neighborhood was having some garage sales, so we did a quick lap and visited five of them.

“Even though I didn’t plan to go garage sale hunting, that doesn’t mean I’m not happy it spontaneously happened.”

We each scored treasures. My collection included two shirts (each $1), a skirt ($1), a collared shirt for my boyfriend ($1), a flower painting (for my apartment – $2) and a Royals World Series signature frame (birthday present for my Dad – $4). I spent $10 in total. Simply amazing.

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Big score on Labor Day

You all know how much I love 50% off sales at thrift stores. Clothing and accessories that are already inexpensive are marked down even more. It’s incredible what you end up spending. Last time I was at City Thrift I signed up for their scheduled text alerts. Now every time there’s an upcoming sale there, my phone beeps. They hosted a Labor Day 50% off everything sale on September 1st and 2nd.

After I got off work on Friday, Sept. 1st, I went there to see what I could find. The parking lot was packed when I got there around 2 p.m. The store’s exterior was decorated with balloons and banners to draw in customers. When I walked in I saw people everywhere! This worried me because the aisles in City Thrift are very narrow, which makes it difficult for more than one person to occupy an aisle simultaneously. However, I was already there and I wasn’t leaving empty-handed. I strategized when to visit each section based on how other customers shifted.

“As great as thrift store 50% off sales are, there’s one downside: competing with dozens of other customers. However, if you’re patient and strategic, you can still strike gold.”

Despite the crowds, I never had to wait in line for the dressing rooms (and there are only three stalls in total). As I moved from aisle to aisle, I filled my cart an assortment of items: blouses, skirts, dresses, capris, and shoes. After two visits to the dressing room, I finalized my options. Before I visited the register, I calculated my total cost plus a 50% off discount. After over an hour of searching and finding new treasures, I was eager to leave. Crowded thrift stores always get on my nerves, especially in a store where getting past people in narrow aisles is difficult and annoying.

I finally walked out of there a little before 4 p.m. feeling amazing. I snagged four shirts, one pair of khaki capris, two skirts, one pair of shoes, a DVD, one sweater, a dress and a belt. This purchase cost me only $30 after tax. A very worthwhile visit.

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Save for what you want

Since I started my full-time job two months ago, I’ve been watching what I spend on non-essential items and activities like clothes, accessories and eating out. This has cut down on my thrift store visits. It’s been really hard to ignore the 50% sale emails I get from Savers and City Thrift. Being a hardcore thrifty fashionista comes with responsibility and a need for strong discipline. It’s difficult to keep myself in check when cute $4 tops and $6 jeans surround me in every aisle of my favorite stores, so it’s better not to go at all.

“Do not save what you have left after spending, but spend what is left after saving.” – Warren Buffet

However, saving is worth it when I know what I’m saving for: my dream apartment. After sealing the deal last night, I’m now in waiting mode until October 7 when I pick up my keys at 10 a.m. and start moving in. Even though waiting for two months is tough, I’m glad I have extra time. I’ll have the chance to figure out how I want to furnish and decorate. Right now, I’m sleeping on a pullout couch in my parents’ basement. I have some kitchenware saved from my last apartment but am lacking in the furniture department.

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Since my grandma passed away back in March, my grandpa has been living in their house by himself. There is more stuff than you could imagine. I’ve already talked to him about taking one of the guest bedroom beds off his hands. Best part, it’s FREE. Hopefully, he will have more furniture pieces he’s ready to part with so I can avoid spending more than I need to transform this 618-sq./ft. apartment into my home.

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After accepting donations from family and friends, I will be turning to thrift stores – one in particular: Blessings Abound. This Christian, volunteer-run store is mainly comprised of furniture, which is why I haven’t bought very much from them. Normally, I wouldn’t trust buying a used-couch, but my mom said she’s seen items that look brand new, so who knows what I’ll find. The most important thing is to use thrift stores as a last resort. First I need to see what all I can gather together that doesn’t cost me a dime.

Searching, searching … found

Have you ever needed something, and after searching multiple stores, you’re left empty-handed? You know exactly what you’re looking for. The picture in your head captures every detail, from color to size, but everywhere you look you can’t find the real thing. It’s agonizing, isn’t it? All you want to do is summon all the magic in the universe and snap your fingers and have it appear in your eager hands.

My item of desire was a large, professional black bag. While job-hunting I was trying to find one to bring to interviews. Of course, I wasn’t going to immediately cave and spend 50+ dollars. I could’ve walked into a department store and found what I wanted in a heartbeat, but a true thrifty fashionista doesn’t give up. I’d already looked through the purse racks at several thrift stores with no success. I was forced me to attend my interviews bag-less.

Once I landed a job, I had two weeks before my start date. I’d lost hope in finding my dream bag. Then a week before I started, I wanted to buy new khakis. I chose a thrift store I hadn’t visited in a while, City Thrift on Antioch and College Blvd. After adding a couple pairs to my cart, I decided to visit the purse rack.

In less than a minute, I stumbled upon not ONE, but TWO bags. I couldn’t believe it. The first bag was black, medium-sized with a strap that fits over my shoulder. It featured a spacious interior that would fit my wallet, keys, phone and lunch box. The inscription read “COVERGIRL” – a fantastic brand! The second bag wasn’t black, but it was one of my favorite colors – purple. The straps were attached with silver hoops. I couldn’t let this bag go to someone else. By getting both I’d have a color-coordinating opportunity.

For a thrift store, these bags were a tad pricey. Each one was around $9, but when you compare that to a department store, I lucked out! I left the store with two pairs of khakis and two bags – for only $37. When it came down to the wire, a thrift store had my back. I walked in on my first day with my dream bag slung over my shoulder. Thanks, City Thrift!

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