Alisa’s Tips for Thrift Store Shopping

Studio 5 Party, Holiday and Ideas Contributor Alisa Bangerter shares a few tips for thrift store shopping.

When it comes to shopping it can really pay to be resourceful. This is especially true when you need supplies for a party, a holiday or any type of celebration. No matter where you shop, always quickly check out anything on clearance or any end of season sales. Try to think ahead to what you might need or could use in the future. It is amazing what you can find and it always feels great to get a bargain and to save money.

When looking for party or holiday type items, great places to shop are craft stores, fabric stores and discount type stores. But one place you may not have thought to shop at is a thrift store. When you shop in a thrift store, a consignment or antique store or even at yard sales or flea markets you need to look at items not so much as they are but with the mindset of the potential the item has. A fun thing about shopping at thrift stores is that you never know what you will find. Each time you shop it is like a completely different store due to the change in merchandise.

Some questions you can ask yourself about items found at a thrift store are:

• What could I creatively do with this item?

• How could I repurpose or reinvent this item?

• Does the item have a fun shape?

• Could I paint the item?

• Could I take apart the item and use its parts or components?

• Can I use the item for something totally different from what it was intended for?

• Is the item unique and interesting – would it make a fun statement piece?

• Can I use the item even with a chip or a scratch or other imperfection?

When shopping in a thrift store, a place to always check is the area with dishes and glassware. You can find some fabulous items that can add a lot to a serving table and help create a beautiful presentation. You can find unique items or items that can be grouped together to make a stunning and yet very inexpensive display that doesn’t break the bank.

Another great tip when shopping at a thrift store is to look only for items in the color to support your party theme or holiday. For example, if you were having a princess birthday party, shop through the store looking for everything in purple and pink. If you have a certain color in mind, you will be quickly drawn to those items and can determine if they are something you want to use.

A thrift store is also a great place to find fun items that can be used for theme parties. You may find a unique item or a “statement piece” or an item that you might even plan an entire party around. For example if you found a big piece of suede or leather, you could turn it into a treasure map for a pirate themed party. You could then look for an old chest or box that could be buried with favors and used for the treasure hunt. You might also look for costumes, and other items to decorate with.

Shopping in a thrift store is like a big treasure hunt, sometimes you may not find much but other times you find that perfect something. The old saying that “someone’s trash is another mans treasure” is absolutely true! Remember to shop thrift stores with new eyes and an open mind and you will find how much fun it is to look for “treasures” and to save money.

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