Thrift Store Treasures: Take It or Leave It (Part 3)


Today is the last in our series on shopping the thrift store (read Parts 1 and 2 at these links).  I’m holding back all my thoughts on flea markets for another time, so as not to overwhelm you all.  😉

One of the important things to consider when thrifting is what is too far gone to take home.

Things to leave behind

I try to check each garment over before I buy it to make sure there are no holes or worn spots that are more than I am willing to deal with.  Sometimes I forget and usually it’s fine, but I’m always glad when I remember.  No one wants to buy new looking corduroy pants only to discover that the crotch area is almost worn away or there are iron marks and puckers on the nice black dress pants that fit so well.

Thrifting with Pattern and Branch, Part 3

I remembered to check over these Lucky Brand corduroy pants before buying–good as new.  Score!

I also try to do a sniff test to determine if there is a bad smell that might not come out.  Some smells will come out with washing and wearing, but not all of them, so make sure you can live with the smell if it has one.  I’d vote to turn down really bad body odor or something that smelled like urine (probably a good general principle, right?   😛  )  I have bought things that smelled like cigarette smoke or like an attic and after washing and then wearing them for awhile, the smell has come out.  Just decide ahead of time if you are willing to risk it.

Another thing to check for is stains.  Make sure that if it has a stain, you can live with it if it doesn’t come out, because it may not.  OxyClean works wonders, but it can’t conquer everything.

Check the garment care instructions.  Are you willing to dry clean it?  I’m often not, so I take the risk of running it through the washer.  Usually that turns out ok, but not always…(I’m still sad about the J.Crew sweater I felted.  I guess it’s in the “raw materials” category now.)

Thrifting with Pattern and Branch, Part 3

This was once a fluffy J.Crew sweater. Now it’s felted wool for another project.

Finally, if you don’t really love something or it’s just too far gone, don’t buy it.  It may only be a few dollars, but it’s not worth it if you won’t wear it.  Those few dollars could be spent on something you love more.  And if you get in one of those moods where you think, “This seems awesome, but I just don’t feel like spending the money on it, even though it’s inexpensive”, don’t buy it.  Put it back.  Walk away.  It’s ok to say no.  There will be other gems, even if you pass this one up.

I hope you find lots of treasures on your adventures.  If you have any stellar thrift store tips, I would love to hear them.

Here’s a little look back through pictures from past posts that feature items from the thrift store or flea market.


About Lisa Poblenz (patternandbranch)

I love sewing and taking pictures! Pattern and Branch is my sewing blog with periodic photography posts (and occasional other side wanderings). It's a journal of my creative practice that I hope will add to the wider community and serve as a personal record to help me remember the details of my projects (because sometimes I need help with that). Welcome to this space! Join in the conversation!

4 responses »

Comments? Leave them here.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.