POSTS BY Rashon Carraway

  • Tell Your Friends

While I sometimes enjoy thrifting alone, going with a friend can be a whole lot better.

'i <3 thrifting" day 2011

Shopping with a buddy gives you an opportunity to get a second opinion right on the spot about an item.

What’s I Heart Thrifting Day?

Of course, this will only work if you value that person’s opinion, so make sure your friend is one you trust. You need someone who can even be truthful and let you know when you don’t need something, too.

"i <3 thrifting" day 2011

Small groups are an excellent way to cover more ground a a very large flea market. Put together a list of what everyone is seeking and you can easily text or send a quick picture if you find something on the list.

"i <3 thrifting" day 2011

How great is it to smile with a friend about one of your awesome scores or share thoughts on the seller whose prices were sky high?

So what are your perks for having a thrifting buddy or group?

  • Tell Your Friends

When I first started thrifting for my apartment, I filled my shopping cart with everything that caught my eye. Too many times, I’d leave an item behind to give myself time to consider it, only to come back to find that someone else had bought it.

Thrifters Gotta Have Patience

But the real trick isn’t throwing everything in your cart just to keep someone else from picking it up. It’s editing before the item even goes in your cart.

Vintage BowlYes, this vintage bowl is gorgeous. But do you really need it?

The first thing is to ask, “Do I really want this? Where will I place it?” If you say yes to the first question and give a quick response to the second, I would say it’s a keeper. However, if you don’t have a place for it, and/or it doesn’t give you the happy feeling, let it go.

I admit to having way too many dishes. I used to buy inexpensive pieces because they were my style. Many of those pieces are still sitting in the bag the cashier placed them in. If you don’t entertain regularly, or display dishes as soon as you get home, chances are you won’t ever use them. So edit your cart and take out those pretties. Heartbreaking, I know. However, it’s for the better.

How to Display Dishes if You Just Can’t Part With Them

Double check what’s in your cart to make sure you don’t already have something similar. Unless you collect canisters, ask yourself whether it’s necessary to have two sets.

Do you edit while you shop? What are some of your tips.

  • Tell Your Friends

It has been said many times that patience is a virtue. Unfortunately, neither patience nor virtue can be bought in stores. If you have it, then you should put it to good use when thrifting.

design star thrifting

HGTV Design Star contestant Mark Diaz thrift shopping.

Thrift stores in general don’t have an overstock of items, that once gone are replenished. The inventory is updated as often as things are brought onto the floor. A moment of patience can change your life in a thrift store.

Many people go into a thrift store and see nothing they want in the first five minutes and say, “There’s nothing here for me.” However, the moment they leave could very well be the moment the exact item they desire comes from the back room.

True story: I was shopping for a client’s room and was about to walk out the door. As I walked down one aisle, I saw an easel. This easel had not been there while I was shopping moments earlier. I immediately inquired and bought it.

Another true story: I was again shopping for a client and saw a mirror that had just come onto the floor. I told one of my assistants to inquire about a price. Unfortunately they didn’t. It was already sold by the time I could ask for the price myself; just that quick.

It’s not a race to see who can snag the best deal, it’s about being patient and not being in such a rush to leave. There is no set time when inventory is brought out. There is no planogram for the new and incoming items.

If you are leisurely shopping, I say giver yourself an hour to just watch the store. See if the associates are bringing anything out. I am not by any means suggesting you stay there all day (although I know some people who do spend that long). I am simply encouraging you to be available to what may be “The Find” for you.

So tell me. Do you leave a thrift store if you don’t see anything that catches your eye upon arrival?

  • Tell Your Friends

When most people consider thrift stores they often think of used items. But sometimes a major thrift store will collaborate with a major department store, offering many of the same items. So the question is, should you buy a new item from a thrift store? Well….

When a thrift store in my area had its grand opening, I went. When I walked in the store was like a rock concert, people everywhere. I had no intention of buying anything until I spotted a box of cherry-wood suit hangers.

Wooden Hangers

I really needed some good-quality hangers and these were less than half of what they would be in the department store. And they had two boxes of them in the thrift store. Even better, the store is still stocking the same hangers!

Thrifting: When Not to Buy

Rule #1: Buy a new item in a thrift store is when the price is significantly less that what it would be in a department store.

Just because an item is brand new in a thrift store, doesn’t mean it’s currently being sold in regular retail store. It can simply mean someone donated a product that has never been used and still in the box.

Cari Cucksey’s Flea Market Shopping Tips (video)

For example, I picked up these Ralph Lauren sterling silver wine chillers earlier this year.

Ralph Lauren wine chillers

The $135 price tag from the original store was still on them. I knew I’d use them for years to come so I bought them.

Rule #2: If the item is brand new but not currently in circulation, and the price is right, buy it.


Emily Henderson: Round-Up From the Round Top Antiques Fair

What happens if you see an item in the thrift store, but you also know regular stores carry it? While it is good to patronize thrift stores that have a good mission to donate and give back, don’t pay more for an item that you can find elsewhere cheaper. For example, purchase small items like batteries or pencils from a traditional retail store.

Rule #3: Don’t check your price-checking skills at the door. Buy only the real bargains.

Do keep in mind that thrift stores return policies do vary.

So have you purchased a brand new item from a thrift store? What was it?

  • Tell Your Friends

You’ve been there. You see an item in a thrift store and immediately think, “Ooh, I’ve got to have this!” When in reality You may not even need it. My small condo is filled with things I should have left behind.

Today I’ll help nudge you past the items you should leave for the next bargain shopper.

Tips on Negotiating at Thrift Stores

I’m the first to admit that if a see a certain label or a stamp that says “Made in…”, I’m intrigued and want to buy it. However, the place where a piece of furniture, garment or tchotchke is made should not be the major reason you buy it. I’ll admit, certain items automatically exude quality or exclusivity, such as this tissue box, which was stamped “Made in Italy.”

I didn’t need it. Yet I bought it because, well, it said “Made in Italy.”

So you’ve got a garage full of I-will-paint-that-soon projects? That means the vintage Heritage sideboard for $60 may not be a wise purchase. I know it’s tempting to buy all of the amazing finds that are reasonably priced. However, to keep from being on the next episode of Hoarders, only buy pieces of furniture you need and that you can use immediately.

How to Find the Best Thrift Stores

Walk on by that complete plushy mattress set in the furniture section. Regardless of the low price, mattresses are not items I would suggest buying from a thrift or secondhand store.

One of the best feelings in the world is to walk into a thrift store and spy the perfect piece to complete a room. But this is only a good thing if you’re not driving a two-door sports car. Is it really a bargain if you have to rent a utility vehicle to get it home?

And don’t even consider buying it if you’re traveling. When the cost to transport an item significantly outweighs the cost of the actual item, leave it in the store.

Don’t worry, though. Something better always comes along. It’s the magic of thrifting!

So tell me, when do you leave something in the store?

  • Tell Your Friends

Negotiating. It’s the moment you either love or dread. For you newbies and dreaders, here are a few tips on how to negotiate while shopping thrift or visiting a yard sale.

The first rule is always be pleasant. It seems obvious, but if you’re kind and courteous to the sales associates at a thrift store, they’re more likely to remember you. After you’ve flashed that great smile and put on a little charm, it’s time to starting dealing. It’s important to note that every store has its own policy regarding discounts, so don’t expect the store to bend its policy just for you.

How to Find the Best Thrift Stores

Here’s a story. I was in a well-known chain thrift store. I saw 10 cups that were individually priced, but priced rather high. I asked the sales associate if the sticker price was the best price. She informed me that the prices were fixed and could not be changed. My next step was to ask for the manager.

silver cups from thrift store

Look at my find! Gorgeous silver cups.

When the manager came out I started talking about how amazing the product was. I slowly leaned in and made a proposition: “What is the best deal I can get if I buy all of them?” She gave them to me for half price. Which was great. Especially seeing that the associate had previously told me a deal could not be made.

design-happens-thrifting-bed

Another great find.

If you are visiting a yard sale, I would encourage you to have a firm price in mind when looking at a piece. For example, if you know you won’t pay more than $500 for a bed, offer $300. Perhaps they will come in at $400. If that’s the case then you technically saved $100. The worst case scenario is that they say no.

Better Life Through Thrifting

Finally, bring an internet-ready device. Many times thrift store associates are not familiar with the value of an item and may often overprice it.

Use your mobile device to send pictures to friends and get their opinion if you aren’t sure what to pay. Visit auction sites like eBay to see what the going rate is. Typing in key words on major search engines may offer valuable information as well.

Keep in mind that all of these are just tips and are not fool-proof. You can be pleasant, speak with the manager and even start off with a great offer, and still get a plain-Jane no. Don’t fret. You tried. If you really want it, buy it. If it costs too much, leave it. Something else is bound to come along.

  • Tell Your Friends

Do you get jealous of seeing all of your friends amazing finds, only to drop by the thrift store to find absolutely nothing? Have you ever wondered where the really good thrift stores are?

Here’s the secret to finding the best thrift store in your area. Come closer. Closer. Whoa too close. LOL. Alright here it is: There is no secret.

Seriously. Thrift stores are amazing in that their inventory changes day to day and even hour to hour. Today you may find a vintage Ralph Lauren blazer and tomorrow you may find a Drexel Heritage sideboard. You may go for another six months and everything else is junk.

Rashon Carraway: Better Life Through Thrifting

While there are no real secrets to finding the better thrift stores, there are few guidelines you can use to scope out those that consistently bring in better donations.

It’s true that the more affluent neighborhoods donate better quality items. Often individuals who live in certain areas do not have time to have a yard sale, so they will simply have their items donated as a quick means of getting rid of them. Many times these items have very little damage and are just discarded because the homeowners no longer want them.

Some of the best items are found at thrift stores that are located a few miles outside of major cities. I was working in a small town about 45 minutes from my home. There was a junk shop that housed a lot of old items. This is also the place where I found an authentic Saarinen Knoll Tulip table and four tulip chairs.

Saarinen Tulip Dining Table + Chairs

Saarinen Tulip Dining Table + Chairs

Photo from Hive Modern

Price? $100. My thoughts exactly.

Small towns are not necessarily on the cusp of design trends. That means many vintage items that have been sitting in homes untouched for years are just waiting to be brought back to life.

My last method for spotting a good thrift store is by simply reading various social networks and online sites to see which ones receive great reviews. Often when people score a great deal, they tweet about it, blog about it and even share pictures. If you see a particular thrift store consistently getting great reviews, it may be time for you to check it out.

Again, there’s no golden rule to finding the best thrift stores. The inventory changes so much. However, if you locate the nearest one in the more affluent community, check out those outside of the city and perhaps take your search online, I’m sure you can find a few that will yield great results.

Happy thrifting!

  • Tell Your Friends

So you think you want to thrift but you just haven’t found the inspiration. Let me tell you why I love it!

Thrifting is an affordable way to find unique home decor and clothing. For example, I started thrifting as a means of finding clothes that none of my friends had, at a price that didn’t break the bank.

Design Happens: What We Love About Rashon

Design styles recycle themselves so you can find things that were once old, but are now new.

Don Draper's Office, The Mid-Century ModernistDon Draper’s Office, The Mid-Century Modernist

If you visit a few church swap meets, I’m sure you’ll find authentic pieces of furniture or accessories that inspired the Mad Men phenomena. You may even get a great story to go along with your treasure!

Repurposed Design: Repurposed and Recycled Decorating Projects

Thrifting is also eco-friendly. When you buy a used chair at a garage sale, you’re keeping it out of the landfill and reducing your carbon footprint. Plus, you can repurpose lots of things you find. How about turning a salvaged sink into a bird bath? While helping to save the environment you can get some stylish pieces – could there be anything better?

So…go in search of that perfect mirror, headboard or sofa. And be sure to tell us what you find.

What are you waiting for…the weekend is almost here!

Latest Pins on Pinterest

  • Superfood Stunner: Sweet Potato Salad

  • Entertaining was high on the list for these homeowners. The

  • Quick tips for organizing laundry rooms.

  • Not everything in your laundry room has to be shiny and new