For most of my adult life people have asked me about how I go about finding so many wonderful items when I’m out shopping resale, but in particular of course, at Goodwill. So many of those that ask questions also love to tell me about their resale shopping experiences, unfortunately most of them negative. Such as, “I never find anything.” Or, “I just hate going through every item on the racks, and I become overwhelmed!” Why is that? The answer is simple. They don’t know my secrets for getting the most out of the resale shopping experience. Never fear dear reader, because my tips and tricks can help to make a big difference in the success or failure of your fashion mission. Following is my checklist for resale success, and your next trip to Goodwill could just be your best ever!
Just like anything in life, achieving a goal starts with careful planning. If you haven’t done your spring closet cleanout yet, now is the time to do it. Knowing what you own, what you actually wear, and what you need to fill in the gaps of your wardrobe are the first steps to becoming a more stylish person, as well as a better shopper in general. Make a clearly detailed list of the items that you’re lacking, as well as a separate equally detailed “wish list” of things that you would love to find but aren’t necessary right now, such as a great dress for a friend’s wedding in a few months, for example. A clear vision of your needs and wants is imperative before embarking on a thrift-shopping spree! But, before you head out the door with your neatly written list in hand there are a few more things you need to know.
I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but dress to undress. In other words wear clothing that you can easily change out of in the changing room, which will make it less of a chore when trying on items that you’re interested in purchasing. Yes, even when resale shopping, you should try everything on! You may also want to wear or bring along a pair of heels, if you’re looking for dresses that you would most likely be wearing with that item. A smart purchase isn’t just easy on the pocket, it’s also well thought out. Buying things just because they’re inexpensive is always a bad move. So be ready to try on everything, unless you know your sizing in a particular brand, in which case you can let yourself slide.
Carry a small tape measure with you. This helps reduce the number of items that you will have to try on, especially jeans and fitted waist pieces, by eliminating those that will not fit before they go into your shopping cart. I always edit my cart BEFORE heading to the dressing room.
Plan your attack at the store. If your list includes mostly separates like blouses and skirts, start there. If your goal is a dress or jacket, start there. Makes sense doesn’t it? Do not be distracted by all the other items in the store, but FOCUS on the items you need first. Literally write down on your master list, the things you’re looking for ranked by importance. Do not deviate from the list!
Lucky for us, Goodwill Retail Stores and Donation Centers make it easy in their well lit and well-organized (most have clothing sorted by type, size, and color) stores to locate the perfect items to fit our needs and our lifestyles. When you’re visiting our website, check out the Amazing Finds section where you can see what average shoppers just like yourself have found at the Goodwill stores in their neighborhood. Be inspired, take control, use my strategies, and I know that you’re next trip to one of our stores will be your best yet!