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Thrifting: Patience Really Is A Virtue

Updated on September 2, 2015

Whether it’s a designer dress or vintage cigar box – either of these desirable items can be found at your local thrift store, but it’s probably gonna take you more than just one shopping trip, or two, or three . . . and a chunk of your time. The reality is that it’s rare that you’ll walk into Goodwill with the objective to find a pair of Salvatore Ferragamo heels or particular Marvel comic and actually find it. Instead, you may walk in and find a Juicy Couture charm or 1960’s Batman figure.

Thrifting is a waiting game that requires patience to play. Essentially, you’re waiting (hoping , wishing, and maybe a lil deal making with the powers that be) for someone to decide to pass on your desired item as a donation or consignment, or for it to be offered for sale by a thrift owner that won it in a storage auction of some sort. And honestly, how fast would you donate an Alice + Olivia cardigan or vintage Lionel Train Set? Yep, you wouldn’t be in a rush to give those away. It’s for this reason (along with others hunting for items as well) you shouldn’t expect to find treasure every time you walk into a thrift store. Give the owners some time to part with these lovey items.

In addition to waiting for the items to be donated, you’re also waiting for inventory to be brought out. Thrift stores are constantly getting new items every day and put these items out for purchase at random times throughout the day. Very few thrift stores have designated times when they bring out merchandise – consider yourself a step ahead of the rest of us if you’re lucky enough to have a shop in your area that does so. With an ever-changing inventory, patience and time are needed to see if an attractive item hits the shelves in the next five minutes or hour. How long you wait is entirely up to you, but do try to keep patient and give yourself a reasonable amount of time to check out the goodies that are received throughout the day.

I think patience is required the most when you are searching through the inventory that is available. Some thrift stores are kinda all over the place when it comes to their inventory and are not always as semi-organized as Goodwill and other major thrift stores. Clothes are often packed in boxes and totes or hung randomly on homemade racks – tons and tons of homemade racks. Housewares and collectibles are shown the same amount of love – ceramic figures are wrapped in old shirts and packed in boxes and totes with toys, jewelry and knickknacks or sometimes cluttered on shelves alongside electronics, candles, and office supplies.

But digging and scavenging puts the thrill in the hunt right? Be patient enough to search, inspect, and make the final decision on what to keep and what to leave behind to ensure great purchases and avoid bad ones. And we’re all guilty of the last minute “I’m gonna buy this so my trip isn’t a waste of time and gas” purchase, just to find flaw after flaw after flaw with the item when we get home. Been there, done that, so over it and lesson learned. I would say that 90% of your time is spent searching and the remaining 10% is spent inspecting and decision making. But it’s such an indescribable victory when you do find your “YES!!!” item that makes you want to message, facebook, tweet, Instagram, pin (am I missing any?) a pic for everyone to see. Or maybe that’s just the adrenaline rush I get? With all this being said, on your next thrifting episode just make sure to bring a Ziploc bag full of patience with your wallet and have fun!


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