ETIQUETTE,  FASHION

My Thrift Shopping Strategy & Etiquette

Some thrift shops can be relaxing but they can also be like Black Friday.

Thrift shopping is often what I refer to as “combat shopping”. People are there to get deals and sometimes they are not going to give you space or be polite about it!

They may step into your “zone” and start going through things right next to you when they see you have grabbed a lot of good items. They are not concerned with saying “excuse me” or “sorry”. I have had people take items off of my shopping cart when my back is turned to it! I have had people stare at items in my hand as if they will snatch it right out of my grip!

I have been thrift shopping for decades and can report that it can be a lot more relaxing than retail shopping but sometimes it is a lot more competitive! People who thrift want the good stuff and they want that deal!! There are not multiples of items so people want that random gem.

So rule number one when thrifting for me is to be prepared for rude shoppers and be surrendered to The Lord to not be rude back, to remain peaceful and polite. I started praying before I go in and ask The Lord to give me wisdom and discernment for my purchases and to also realize that He will give me what is for me and I don’t have to be on edge about making sure I get everything I want.

I pray to navigate shopping with grace.

When someone is getting impolitely too close and honing in on my area near me, I will step aside and say “pardon me” or “Sorry, am I in your way?” and I make the effort to pull my cart out of their way. I don’t say it to be passive aggressive, I say it with sincerity. If I can not say it with sincerity, if I am too annoyed at their encroachment, I will walk away and come back later when they are gone. Many times people will reply “Oh you’re fine” and many times it promotes an awareness of polite space for both of us to look at items.

The fact that I have acknowledged The Lord about my responses to these situations before I go in keeps me from being huffy and rude back to someone about their behavior. I prepare myself for this scenario and I prayed for kindness and wisdom for it.

Then there is the scenario where someone is overtly barging into my territory, maybe not just getting too close but practically trying to look at the same items I am looking at, at the same time. It’s one thing if someone is just a bit too close, it’s another if someone is putting their hand on the hanger right in front of my face which is clearly right where I am reaching and looking. I employ the above polite strategies but the other one I sometimes do is simply stand in my place and not let them bully me to move and rush. I give people the space that I would like to be given so I don’t always let someone steal that from me. Sometimes I just stand my ground and ignore their rude behavior and let them act out of line while remaining peaceful and looking at my spot. Many times that kind of person will just leave the area once they realize they can’t pressure you to get out of their way.

This is just shopping etiquette 101! Always give people their shopping zone. To me, that zone is the area in front of someone and about a foot on either side of them. Give a person their fair space where they are standing and looking.

Onto thrifting strategy. I know what racks have what items and I do a sweep through the area for the good items that stand out. This is not necessarily possible in tightly packed racks but in certain shops especially ones I frequent, I can see when new items are added and the material like a bulky wool sweater or the color like a royal blue will stand out to me right away. The goal is to do the initial sweep of the racks for those newly set out items and get them in my cart before someone else does! The good stuff goes that fast!

Next, I do the more in depth phase of thrifting. I visit the racks that have the least traffic and I do my piece by piece filtering going through each hanger but I do it very quickly. If anything is even a “maybe”, it goes in my cart. Then I move on to the next rack that is not busy and just make my way around to all the racks that are not currently occupied.

I never compete with other people. Often times people will see that I am getting good items and will try to compete with me. But my goal is to shop away from other shoppers.

My strategy for showing up at the right times for getting the good items just set out, is just knowing that particular shop. Some shops stock new items the morning before they open. If you show up right when they open you have a chance at the items that were set out that morning before they opened. But some shops start stocking after they open. If you wait an hour after they open to show up, they have had an hour of setting out new items. So it just depends on what you observe your shop doing. If you notice they tend to stock the store before they open go first thing. But if they tend to set things out later at a certain time of day, try to go around that time.

Don’t be shy to frequent thrift shops if you are needing items. I needed winter clothes this year so lately I go two days a week. Thrifting is hit and miss so you can’t do all your shopping at once it’s about collecting items here and there.

Be friendly with the shop employees. The workers like meeting and getting to know regulars. They will often try to point out merchandise they think you would like. They may even tell you what times are better to show up based on when they are stocking the store. Treat the shop workers as you would a friend and they will try to help you. They may even cut you deals!

Thrifting amazes me because there are always valuable items that someone else is giving away and I can get the things I need for so little money.

I launder thrifted clothing and clean whatever other items right away. I never want to bring home mites or any filth! If I can not launder or clean items right away I store them in trash bags tied up until I can. Nothing is invited into my home without it being thoroughly cleaned. It is a risk to bring all sorts of items from a thrift shop into your home so have your plan of cleaning in place to integrate items safely.

Thrifting is a way to enrich your home and family by your diligence to spend less and still get the items you need! We have the amazing job of building our homes and filling them with every good thing.

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"Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise think about these things." Philippians 4:8

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