As I share my Frugal Fashionista second hand shopping strategies, many of you can’t get past waking up early for yard sales or entertaining the thought of shuffling through the chaotic racks at Goodwill. While I do think hitting your first big Fashion Haul at an amazing yard sale would cure that stumbling block, I understand it’s just not for everyone, so I want to help you brainstorm some other options.
There’s a huge differences between thrift stores and consignment shops, and in another post I’ll outline the benefits of consignment stores, but today my goal is to introduce you to a higher end thrift store. Most of my Frugal Fashion blog posts have centered around purchasing at yard sales and thrift stores. The downside of thrift stores (Goodwill, Salvation Army, locally owned stores etc.) is that you are at the mercy of disorganization, that lovely thrift store “smell,” and weeding through a lot of trash to find the treasures. I often say that “all thrift stores are not created equal” and my downtown Junior League thrift store is a perfect example of that sentiment in the most complementary of ways.
First of all, the Junior League is a wonderful non profit, and their thrift stores are run by volunteers that are members of the Junior League. Since this organization requests that they volunteer hours, and also donate items to their local Junior League store, it means that women who know fashion, know how to accessorize and know how to merchandise products not only donate their own expensive clothes, but are also part of managing the store. (When do you ever see thrift store workers like that, right?)
Many of you are thinking to yourself, “Well, we don’t have one of those in my area.” You may not have a Junior League store, but I bet you have another hidden treasure that you just don’t know about. Remember to ask around. Right now, I can guarantee I am introducing The Bargain Box to hundreds of local residents from my town who had no idea that this store existed downtown because they never asked or sought it out for themselves. Now, I don’t frequent this store namely because it’s 35 minutes from my home, not a destination that I drive by, but also because the prices are higher than my typical yard sale finds. Yet do I highly recommend it? Absolutely, because if you are just beginning to maneuver the waters of second hand clothes shopping, this is the kind of experience I desire you to have. It’s clean. The quality of goods is excellent, and it’s laid out very nicely.
Does that mean you will hit the jackpot every time you go? No, because again, it is a thrift store and it can be hit or miss with your sizes, but I am nearly guaranteed to find something I love every time I shop. Last weekend, I went specifically to find pants for our two oldest sons. Dressing on the preppy side, they needed new Khakis. I was able to find Tommy Bahamas, Dockers, Gap, and J Crew pants ranging in price from $5 – $7. Now $7 is well past my flinch point for thrifting. In the past, I would NEVER spend that much on pants, but considering this pair was $100 retail and finding pants to fit our 6’3″ 230 pound 15 year old son is no easy task, I would much rather spend this for top quality.
In my opinion, merchandising in a thrift store makes all the difference in the experience you’ll have.
Do you remember my post, “Preparing for Vacation – thrifting style?” That Goodwill marks one of the nicest ones I’ve been to because of their attention to detail. They cared about presentation, and so does this Junior League Bargain Box. Now unfortunately, I walk in, covet this white top and green sweater, not to mention the sandals, yet find out they just put the display out and the merchandise will not be sold until the end of the month. Such a bummer, but I love how they take pride in their displays because it also gives some of their fashionally challenged shoppers some great inspiration in what they can put together.
This time of year when the temperatures vary so much, layering is key. Since I never know when it will jump from 40 degrees to 70 in just one day, I want to make sure I am prepared. And as we all know, layering and using accessories wisely always gives an added pop to any wardrobe.
Don’t be afraid of color. Remember to step out of that comfort zone. Would you have thought to put a red shirt with a turquoise necklace? If not, rethink your accessories. Do you have some older necklaces that you haven’t worn in awhile. Take them out, dust them off and see what you can mix and match anew because this mixture of colors is great.
Cute, unique purse for only $5.
Don’t forget the men in your family. I keep intending to focus on dressing the guys in our life Frugal Fashionista style and I will. That’s the way our family roles, and all of my guys are great dressers.
I will say thought that I sure miss the days when they were this size. 🙂
And of course, I would be remiss not to show their shoe section because you know how I feel about second hand shoes, don’t you? (Should you seriously wear second hand shoes?)
I hope you’ve enjoyed a peek into how you can take thrifting to a new level. Find some frugal living experts in your area and inquire as to the location of your town’s hidden gems. You may need to drive just a bit, but make it a field trip and it will be well worth your time.
Where is this store located? I live in Cary, NC…looks worth the drive!
The first pictures has the address on it. 🙂 Downtown Greensboro.
I just posted my New to Me thrifted Curtains. I would love to find a good thrift store like the Bargain Box! I am going to start doing some research now!
What a wonderful store and I loved their displays! I know this may sound strange but my husband and I have our 26th wedding anniversary coming up this week. Both of us love to go shopping at thrift stores so our plan to celebrate our special day is to go out to lunch at Olive Garden (I have a $25 gift card that I got through mypoints.com) and hit the thrift and consignment stores in Spokane, WA. We are going to invite our son and his wife to join us since they too love the thrill of the “hunt”. 😉
You are my kind of lady. 🙂 Have a blast, and congratulations.
Your post today took me back in time to the mid-90’s when I was a single working gal and a member of the Junior League. (I moved, that is why I’m no longer a member). Because I worked during the day, my volunteer hours were in the evening after the the JL thrift store closed. We would have to unload and sort through bags full of donated clothing. Honestly, it was a disgusting job. I was amazed that what some people donate; my cleaning rags were nicer than some of the clothes we got. One time I opened a bag and a bug flew out at me. I always had to take a shower when I got home. BUT the shop raised money for local organizations that focused on women and children, so it was all for a good cause. I had to keep telling myself that every time it was my turn to volunteer.
ps – I think I would be camping outside that store on March 31 to nab that green sweater and sandles…
It’s beyond me why some people donate such horrible items. I have heard of some of the horror stories from people who sort through from Goodwill. UGH – why would they think anyone would want that? I think about that when I go to donate. If something has a rip or stain that I can’t fix, why would I think it’s ok for someone else. Our Junior League does so many wonderful things in the community. It’s a great cause.
There are two consignment shops in my town, and both do an excellent job of putting together outfits on mannequins – good for me, because I can never “see” an outfit from separates. I just wish the prices were a little better, but I do shop off-season for better sales.
I need to hit them up right now, I’m desperate for a pair of turquoise strappy sandals – 2″ heel, size 6 (hint!) at a decent.
And red w/ turquoise? Who knew? It looks great! Keep these posts coming!
Thanks for the shout-out for the Jr League! Like you mentioned in the above comment, it’s a win-win situation: you get great clothes at great prices, and the profits go to funding the Jr League’s community projects.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. We consider ourselves new to the area and I love thrifting, but I don’t like junk. I am so thankful you posted this today. I would love to hear about other places you like to shop because I do not know the city well enough yet. I will tell you about a consignment store in the area for kids 12 and under, Bubbles Kids. I have gotten some great deals in her end of season sale. She is very picky about what she chooses.
Again, thanks so much for sharing. I so appreciate your suggestions.
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the white frilly shirt and green & white sweater! Too cute! I’ve just gotten into thrifting in the last 6 months but I’m hooked and can’t bring myself to buy even on sale things now at the mall! I wish I could find all the cute things that you do – I’ve not been that successful yet!
Loved those outfits! And the ruffly blouse, swoon! Actually, I’ve been thrift shopping for clothing for 25 years now. Boy, do I feel old typing that! As far as shopping for my footwear that way, the only footwear I purchase retail, is winter boots, and it almost kills me. I like cute shoes, but I’m not willing to pay the price for cute shoes. That usually only leaves one option. As you mentioned, I disinfect them, and have had no problems. And I must add, your taste in footwear is very impressive!
I’ve never heard of this organization, or their store, but I just Googled it and found one in my area! Thank you for sharing 🙂
Oh I miss the bargain box. and pet peeve, isn’t the entire point of a store to SELL stuff? WHY in the world won’t they sell the stuff on display right then? I can’t imagine it taking that much time to pull out a few other cute things to display, seems like a small price to pay to not leave customers with a little negative feeling. kind of irritating.
ok, nester is done being grumpy now.
Grump all you want. I am right there with you. To be on display for an entire month? Especially when it’s exactly what I’ve been looking for…..ugh. 😉
first time stumbling across your blog. love it!
we have a thrift store here in ontario canada called Value Village , we have gotten so many great deals. our best by far is a BLackberry for 7.99
now i ma not one to go for electronics but my hubby is . so this was a major score for him.
i do not go for brand names but i was able to find ( but not purchase) for a friend an original louis vuitton purse with tags still on for 59.99
and i also found a plus sized wedding gown, tages on listed for 899.99 for 79.99 and with the discount being offered that day it would have been 56.00
bargains are to be had!!
Love your blog – especially the fashion thrifting and the worship music! I’ve been one who was too squeamish about used shoes, at least until recently. In the last few weeks, I’ve bought a bunch of shoes, several pairs from Ebay but I’m also finding them in local thrift stores. A good spray of Lysol and I’m good to go!
I’m a chattanooga junior league member. As far as I know, every chapter of the junior league has a thrift store. In my league, each member has to donate at least $100 worth of merchandise each year (we have over 600 active members). That makes for some seriously good shopping! And all the money spent goes right back into the community!
Not all Jr Leagues have a thrift store – I’m in the Dayton (OH) League and we do not. In fact, I don’t think any of the Ohio leagues have one – most of us do shopping events instead. I wonder if the thrift store is a southern JL thing, or maybe just better suited for larger leagues…although it sounds like it would be a great way to keep your closets cleaned out!
The Junior League of Raleigh also has a Bargain Box located in Cameron Village. Look on Cameron Village’s website or find JLR Bargain Box on Facebook for the next Drop and Shop event. If you drop off at least 5 items at Bargain Box, they’ll give you a discount coupon to use at participating stores in Cameron Village.
We are currently stationed overseas with the military in South Korea and boy have I missed shopping at second hand stores!! I am hoping to head to the states this summer and will have to put some money aside so I can find some deals.
What fun. They really know how to put it together. We are loving all the bright colors and so nice they did not forget the men.
Jen ~ Oh, you have finally focused on one of my favorite places to shop!!
I just went to the end of season sale on the day that all merchandise was 75% off and got a beautiful light green blouse from Ann Taylor for $1.50!! Along with some other great buys. I didn’t get back on Friday’s $5.00 a bag day, but that is the best. I have gotten the most incredible deals in the past stuffing as much as I can into the bag and then only paying $5 for all of it. Doesn’t get any better than that. Thanks for telling others about it. If you don’t want to try to find a parking space on the street, you can park in the Davie St. parking deck at Market St/Davie. It’s right behind the store and the 1st hour is free in the downtown parking decks, then only .50 an hr after that.