It is really amazing the stuff people will donate. I have found designer clothing brand new with tags, and sometimes people will tell me "ugh my thrift stores never have stuff like that". The area where a thrift store is located can have an impact on the inventory they have, but I travel a lot and been to MANY thrift stores. With persistence you can find amazing pieces even at the smallest thrift stores in less prosperous areas.
I would say on average I am in a thrift store 5 out of 7 days a week. I list new pieces every day, so it is important for me to always have new inventory. In years of reselling I have definitely found a groove with sourcing and shopping thrift stores. If you're reselling or shopping for yourself, I've come up with some shopping tips I follow to get my hands on the best, cheapest inventory!
Shop Earlier In The Week
In my experience, I find the racks are fuller and more "just in" clothing is being brought from the back Monday-Wednesday than other days of the week. People are organizing and donating their items when they have time, which is usually on the weekends.
Check Clothing With Missing Brand tags
A lot of clothing at thrift stores have the brand tags removed, probably because the previous owner found them uncomfortable. If the item looks/feel high quality but is missing the brand tag, check the interior side tag that includes the materials. There will be an RN number you can search to find the brand name.
Ask about weekly specials
Many thrift stores have weekly specials (ie color tags of the week, military discounts, student discounts, etc) so make sure to ask or get a calendar so you can see when some items are cheaper or when you may qualify for a discount. Many of my Goodwills will have the occasional weekend special where all clothing is $2, so I will ask the cashier if they know of one coming up.
CHeck the just in rack right away
Whenever a store brings out a rack of clothing straight from the back, I always beeline straight there. These items are new to the floor and have never been picked through, and this is honestly where I find so much of my inventory.
identify the tagging system
Many thrift stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army have a color tagging system where throughout one day all the inventory will be tagged one certain color (to be used in the previously mentioned color tag specials) When I am looking at a just in rack I will take note of the color, and then look for big bunches of this color tag on the other racks. These are probably new items from the day the employees have just put away.
Sign Up for the email list or follow the store on social media
Especially lately with the influx of donations, a lot of my thrift stores have been having random sales to get inventory moving. They usually share these sales through an email or on social media.
Check all sizes and departments
It's not so important for me and reselling, but for people who are buying for themselves a lot of thrift stores will *try* to keep the store in order by size. However things get moved around and misplaced so much I wouldn't rely on it. As well, I find a lot of higher end women's jeans in the mens section, and surprisingly I find Lululemon in the kids sections. If you have the time, look through all the departments!
Check End Caps and fitting room return racks
Pre-covid I would always check the go back racks out side of the fitting rooms. People have already done the work of searching the rack for goodies, it just didn't fit for them. Now that fitting rooms are closed, I always check the end caps of racks, especially those by mirrors. People are holding them up and inspecting them here, and leaving behind the ones they change their minds on.
If you have some insider thrift knowledge of your own you would like to share, leave a comment down below!
A LOT of time has passed since I last shared some updates on our home remodel. Since we were completely gutting and renovating the whole house, we were in the middle of a lot of projects across a couple rooms when covid hit. For some of our projects we had hired outside help, so that had to be put on pause. And with everything being so up in the air, we wanted to save as much money as possible just in case. Now that things are starting to get back to normal a bit in California we have been getting back to work. The room that is for the most part done (aside from being more decorated) is our living room, which really needed not much work compared to other rooms in the house. Keep scrolling to see the before and after!
This room was all us. We scraped wall paper, painted, put in new floors/baseboards, and upgraded the fixtures. I think the most noticeable change is the window behind the couch being closed up. The windows in this room were very old and inefficient. As well, the area behind the couch is where we moved out the wall to expand the bathroom (if you haven't seen our bathroom transformation you can check that out HERE) so instead of replacing it with a smaller window we decided to just close it up. The existing window we had replaced with a much more efficient upgrade.
The only new furniture we bought was the two piece coffee table, which we got from Ikea (HERE). The white couch is also Ikea, but not new. We got it barely used off Facebook Marketplace for $300! The tv console used to belong to my parents, and the green rolling cart is actually a family antique. My grandparents bought it in Korea in the 70s!
Most of the decor are knick knacks I picked up at thrift stores. I'm super proud of the rug, I also found it on Facebook Marketplace! I only paid $50 for it, and managed to squeeze this 9x12 ft rug into the back of a crossover suv all on my own! These rugs are regularly $300 so I couldn't pass it up. The one piece I did buy new for the room is the fake fiddle leaf fig tree. Many I found were pricey, but this one was only about $70!
These have been our coffee table books for years. The Mercedes Benz book was my husbands from Germany, and the Vogue is special to me because I bought it when I was in Paris back in 2011 (the trip where I met my now husband). I love the coasters I bought off Amazon, they have a marble design and are leather so they hold up really well. Plus they have over 1200 reviews and almost 5 stars!
As far as what we are working on now, our goal is to get this old toolshed off the living room transitioned into a bathroom (with shower!) by Thanksgiving. The door to this bathroom is next to the TV. If you look at the old pictures of the living room, the door into this bathroom had a bookshelf attached to it, so it didn't look like a door at all. There was actually a door to the backyard/outside that we closed up behind the toilet.
As far as the room I am most excited to share, the kitchen, we should be getting that room wrapped up very soon! We ordered our cabinets back in February, but one *single* cabinet was on backorder and was supposed to arrive by April. Due to covid, it got pushed back until August and there was actually a lot our contractor couldn't build because of this one cabinet. But now that we have the cabinet our guy is coming back in to finish the kitchen very soon! I'll be sharing that hopefully at the end of this month :D
One of the things I enjoy most in this world is finding great deals. The secondhand fashion industry is growing like crazy, and there are so many awesome designer deals out there if you spend the time and know where to look! I have alerts set on a number of selling sites, like Mercari, which is where I purchased these adorable Prada espadrille sandals. These alerts will send me a notification when someone lists an item I have been looking for in a specific price range. I was so excited to get an alert about these because they were a classic piece that would go with so many things, my size, and priced SO LOW!
These espadrille sandals were originally over $700 new. (!!) The seller on Mercari described these as "worn once" and looked practically brand new. I sent an offer that the buyer accepted, and ended up getting these sandals for...
Most the of the used sandals in this style are going for $200-$250 on Poshmark and eBay, so I am still a little bit in shock that I got these so low. Those alerts can be your best friend!
NWT Zara midi dress new with tags, thrifted $6 / Prada espadrille sandals secondhand, Mercari $53 / Longchamp tote bag new, gift / Burberry nova check scarf secondhand, eBay $30
I found a number of similar secondhand Prada sandals from Vestiaire all under $100 that you can click and shop below!
I bought this Burberry nova check scarf a couple years ago from eBay for only $30. The print is so classic and the scarf is so versatile. I wear it around my neck, on my bag, and in my hair!
Back in the beginning of 2020 (simpler, happier times...) I got a killer deal on a pair of canvas Chanel espadrilles. They were super popular a couple years ago, but the look is really timeless and classic so I've been keeping an eye out for a pair. I was super excited to find a pair on Poshmark that needed a little TLC but were still in really great condition. With shipping and taxes, I only paid $63 for them. Similar pairs in that condition usually range from $200-$250! Especially in my size which is super common and in demand.
For the most part they were in really good condition. The only major issue was that the sole was starting to separate from the top part of the shoe, which you can see in the before pictures below:
I was SO EXCITED to get these shoes in the mail! As soon as I saw they had been delivered to my PO Box, I immediately drove to the post office. I got them from my box and rushed back to the car to try them on. I was SO DISAPPOINTED TO FIND THEY WERE JUST A TAD TOO SMALL. :( I could barely slip the back on my foot and I was worried the shoe would split even more due to my big fat feet (lol if you are ever buying Chanel shoes online know they run small and to size a whole size up at least!)
I have seen espadrilles as slip on slides so I decided to do a little DIY project and try to convert them into another kind of shoe I could wear. Did I commit a designer sin by putting scissors to a pair of Chanel shoes? Maybe, keep scrolling to see the result!
It was actually super easy and all in all took about 20 minutes to do! I used some sharp scissors to cut along the fray hem where the top of the espadrilles met the sides. Around the sole I made sure to cut just above the stitching so as not to unravel it. As far as the breaking sole I used super glue to hold it back together. Without the pressure of the sides holding on to the back of the foot it hasn't broken apart again.
Overall I am super happy with the way my DIY project turned out! I now have some really cute casual *fancy * slip ons. Plus it barely cost me anything besides the cost of the super glue.
I did a little research and found a handful of secondhand Chanel espadrilles similar to the ones I found at some really discounted prices below:
I also found a whole bunch of Chanel espadrille dupes on sale that look so similar to the designer ones! The Sam Edelman ones are half off! Just click on the picture to check them out.
Say hello to our new to us '81 Mercedes 380 SL , Fraulein!
Honestly, we weren't really in the market for another car (we have too many for two people to start with) "My car" was an Audi A4 which was super cute and a great car, but with our schedule, I was barely driving it. I hadn't even put 1000 miles on it in a year! We had considered selling it in the past, but always thought we should keep in the event there was an emergency and I needed to drive it. I should also point out that due to some poor financial decisions we made a couple years ago, we had refinanced the Audi's loan and still had two years of payments to make on it. It sucks paying interest on something that is depreciating!
So then in July, my husband's old boss (that he still talks to occasionally) texted him about his friend that was selling a cool old Mercedes. The friend was moving and didn't want to go through the hassle of listing it on multiple sites and dealing with annoying strangers. Because of this he was only asking a fraction of it's value, an amount we could pretty easily put together in cash. We thought that it was almost too good to be true, but the next day we made the 4 hour drive to check it out, and it was even cooler than we thought! It was the perfect car for me to drive occasionally to thrift stores or the post office. We sold the Audi, paid off the loan, and are now completely car debt free.
This car is nearly 40 years old, and the previous owner took great care of it, but it still needed some work here and there. There are a couple rips in the leather, and some chipping paint around the exterior. Luckily there are a lot of websites where you put in your cars make, model, and year and they can find the exact paint you need.
We were pretty surprised that the car had cruise control and power windows - really uncommon for a car from the early 80s! After doing a little research, we found that this car was top of the line in 1981...and quite expensive. The original receipt was still with the car, and the first owner paid the equivalent of $140,000 in todays money with inflation between now and then.
Despite having been taken great care of, the car still needed some work on our end. The AC wasn't working, but luckily hubs fixed that pretty quick. There has been a learning curve owning a car like this and there are some things you should think about before buying a classic car. A few things I have learned so far is:
There are no Airbags
Funny store - after we purchased the car and I was getting insurance for it, one of the questions was how many air bags the car has. Not knowing if it would have side airbags, I asked the previous owner. He said no side airbags...no front ones either. Apparently putting air bags in cars did not become a law in this country until 1998?! Anyway, something to think about if safety is important to you lol.
Little Fixes are common
Pretty common sense, but the older a car is the more likely it will need things changed and replaced more often. This can get expensive, but luckily my husband can fix pretty much anything on a car. Many parts on the car are still from the 80s, so naturally they are worn down and will break eventually. We have already had to replace the original radiator amongst other things.
engineering Is Different
My husband has built a race car from the ground up, so he was pretty confident going into this purchase that he would be able to fix any issues with it. He popped the hood and found a million vacuums and hoses that no car made in the last twenty years has. Despite knowing so much about cars and how to fix them, he still needs to do a lot of research. Speaking of this...
Maintenance Can Cost More
Because the engineering is old and no longer used, it is more difficult finding mechanics that are knowledgeable enough and willing to work on cars this old. Because of this, if you need to bring the car in to a shop you can expect to pay more money. Even to get it through a smog check I have to make sure the location is equipped to test a car that old.
Original = More Value
What we heard from a lot of people is that we should try our best to keep everything on the car as original or from Mercedes as possible. This absolutely helps with the value of the car, especially if we ever plan to sell it ( I hope not!) The previous owner put in a new radio with USB and bluetooth, which is nice but also kind of kills the vintage look of the dash.
Invest In Roadside Assistance
We've already been stranded on the side of the road once...so I highly recommend paying the few extra dollars a month with your car insurance for this peace of mind. Our car still had the original radiator, it cracked and overheated so we were stuck on the side of the road for a bit. Worth it!
Thanks so much or reading and checking out our new ride! If you have any experience or words of wisdom with a classic car, leave it down below!
Live for luxury? No trust fund, no problem!
Join the fancy free journey as we seek the
finer things in life, sans millions.
- Marie Claire, September 2016