Back to My Roots with Thrifting Tips

I thought it might be fun to return to the roots of how this blog began and offer some advice for thrift shopping.  When I experienced my makeover moment almost 16 years ago, I wanted to completely re-do my style but had very little additional budget to work with.  So, I became a constant thrift shopper.  The beginning years of this blog featured many, many thrift styles and my friends would shop with me.  It really can be so much fun…you never know what treasures you might uncover.

We all have our favorite thrift stores and many operate for a cause.  My daughter’s favorite in her town is helping provide work for their blind community.  I have enjoyed supporting Goodwill San Antonio for years.  Over that time, I discovered we have a very unique situation here.  Our Goodwill SA does so much for the community and helping with job training, veteran support, and providing work for those who have difficulty finding it.  They are an incredible organization so many in the community support them with equally incredible donations.  It is an amazing place to shop. I am not going as often as I previously did, but when I go…it is always a great time!

So, here are some tips…..

  1. Only go when you have a lot of time!  I am rarely successful when I try to go quickly.  It takes time to look everything over carefully and then try them on. When I have set aside an hour or two, I have discovered a vintage Betsey Johnson clutch, a brand new Ralph Lauren jacket, amazing costume jewelry and a 1940s black wool coat that I just adore.  But, those treasures are always hidden around the room!

2. Go in with a plan.  Why are you really there?  On this day I was looking specifically for animal prints, and dusters.  Many of the dusters pictured on the nicer websites right now are simply long dresses worn as long jackets.  So, I went right to the long dresses.  When I have a plan, I seem to be more successful and waste less time or money.

3. Remember, you are in control of the clothes…not the other way around.  It is so much easier to change up a garment when you paid three or four dollars for it.  I have cut out many shoulder pads (as pictured above) and I have changed buttons…which made for an amazing garment years ago.  It is fun to play fashion designer when you go thrifting.

4. This is a good time to try some things you might not do with more expensive garments.  I tried these wider leg pants and actually brought them home to wear around the house when the weather gets cooler.  But, I prefer a slimmer leg on my every day pants.  Over the years, I have tried on so many fun pieces. Like the red and leopard hat in the first picture!  I  Many of the ones I wore in public have been seen here on the blog.

5. Try to stay focused!  When thrifting, there is so much to see that it is easy to get off budget!  Oh well, these horses did come home with Gigi…who needs a few fun toys at my house.  5 Grandchildren all under the age of 6.  I take them home…spray them with Lysol…and spray them with Febreeze.  These guys were like new and I bought them both for a total of $14.  But it is best to keep focused on why you are there! LOL!

6. I know the clothes are cheap…but only take home what really works.  I tried on many things, but this little jacket is the only piece that joined me and the horses and the lounging pants at the counter.  Most often, when a maybe goes home, it ends up being donated back.  I just take what I know I will use.

If you are looking over the fun fall trends and lamenting about budget, get some friends and have a thrift day.  So much fun! I love treasure hunting and now that I have returned after a long time off, I am going to return to doing this more often.  Such fun!

For those who are not thrifters, I found some great deals and have them in the slide show below. Tell us, are there any other thrift shopping fans out there?  Happy Sunday, everyone.




  1. I love to thrift shop ! I have found 4 shops near me that have fantastic bargains. I have been very disappointed with the quality of retail store products so now I thrift shop and have been delighted. If you have a Clothes Mentor store near you they have great women’s clothing. They are a national women’s used clothing store. I also shop at my local Salvation Army and 2 women’s consignment shops. I have found some wonderful clothes and when you spend a small amount you can have a new wardrobe whenever you want!

    1. Yes, Beth, we do have Clothes Mentor. I have found great jewelry there! And the Salvation Army is also excellent. Thanks for joining in.

  2. There are some very nice consignment shops near me and I really enjoy going with my sister. I have consigned my own things from time to time and this can be a fun way to get some extra cash to reinvest in some great finds. Our Goodwill is a sad and rundown place, which is unfortunate. There is one consignment shop that caters to working women and it’s a favorite of ours. Thrift shopping is a blast, but you do need a lot of time. I find many sizes are off, which might be why the items were donated. I always take a range of sizes into the dressing room. You are so right about just taking what you’re sure you’ll use. I have “re-donated” a lot of things I took home on impulse!

    1. Very smart to take in a range of sizes, Karen! And yes… you need to set aside time. This is why I don’t go as often but I am glad I took the time this weekend. It was fun!

  3. I too love to thrift. I have found some fabulous pieces by chance over the years. I still have a couple wonderful cashmere sweaters that were under 8 dollars and will last for years to come with care. It is fun to pop in and check if there are any of the ‘new’ season looks in there and when we travel I also look up before we go to see if there are any thrift/consignment stores near by. Thankfully my husband likes to look as well and has gotten some great shirts. Such fun when you like something then find the original tags still on them. Good for the planet and good for us. Thanks Pam.

    1. How fun! I enjoy thrift shopping as well. You have lost so much weight and look great! Your hair length frames your face perfectly! Are you willing to share the diet you have been following, please?
      Have a blessed day!

      1. Thank you Mary Ann! I do have some new updates. I will do my best to write about this soon. For now, remember exercise is a key huge part of healthy aging!!

  4. We do not have very good thrift shops here, but do have a Clothes Mentor. Unfortunately, I’m such a good shopper of new items that I can usually get what I want for the price of the Mentor, which, at least for higher end items has had serious upward price creep the last few years. In a true thrift shop, I buy too many “maybes,” I think to mentally justify the trip. Buying just to buy something is a danger of thrifting, both in clothing and home decor. It takes more discipline than I apparently have when items are a dollar or two.
    Also, Pam, I would love it if you would go back to commenting on your pics for Would You Wear It.

    1. Hi Linda, I am so sorry that I forgot to keep that going! I will return to it. As far as yesterday’s mannequin goes:
      1. I do wear faux leather leggings with longer tops and I love them.
      2. I love the color and print of the top but the design would not be flattering on me . I do not like ultra feminine details on Mr like the shoulders here.

  5. There is an Angle View outlet center “down the hill” from us here in Joshua Tree. It is where all the items from the regular Angel View Thrift Stores send their overflow and the prices are even more reduced. Clothing is only one dollar each! Angel View is a hospital. The money from the thrift stores is donated back to the hospital. So it is definitely a win/win. The place is full of bins piled high with clothing, bedding, towels, anything textile. The first time I went there, I was put off by it You have to dig through. Once I started, I was hooked! The clothes are in good to excellent condition and many are designer labels. I have found so many great things for only a dollar each! Even if you buy a couple of “mistakes,” you are not out a ton of money. So fun! And a great post! Thanks!

  6. I started thrift shopping when I needed to consign my work clothes after retirement. I lugged many of my things from NY to Palm Desert last year but in doing so I have discovered the Mecca of secondhand shops. Palm Springs/Palm Desert has unbelievable shopping. There’s a Clothes Mentor & a Goodwill but also many church run stores. Furniture consignment is very big as well. My favorite smaller shop is run by The American Cancer Society.

    1. Linda, I wish I could do a thrift shopping tour. Now, wouldn’t that be fun? To visit the top thrift shops in each area of the country…oh to have the time and money to do something like that. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Ha, ha! Hats may be easier now that my hair is shorter…but I didn’t buy this one. Just couldn’t envision me wearing it anywhere. I have to work on my “hat courage”….thanks Jennifer!

  7. Briefly, my first excursion to a thrift store was actually for ceiling fixture partS as I couldn’t find one on the market to meet my demand when doing over one of our guest bed rooms. (FYI; nine times out of ten Chandelier parts in particular are interchangeable.) As for other items; even though I donate to thrift stores (but check with friends/neighbours first) I only have picked up a few personal things for myself. (Recently a quality turtle neck sweater in a specific color I was searching for, an Italian leather cross-body bag … both like new. Also a beautiful vintage SS rope chain (long) necklace, all at bargain basement pricing. The latter costing the most at $10.00. Whoo-hoo …. ☺. ) All said; so agree with you that one has to stay focused as the thrift stores in our area are notably huge thus carry a very large inventory and it doesn’t take much to become distracted when everything is crowded into one space.

  8. Fond memories…my mom grew up in the Great Depression, and was always very thrifty, we loved to bargain hunt in the consignment shops on the fancy side of town……

  9. I check out E bay often and have found some wonderful bargains in bags, belts, Chico’s tops, interesting costume jewelry etc. Some items are brand new and still have the original tags.

  10. Thrift shops are called Op Shops here in Australia. Friends of ours are brilliant Op shoppers, & have discovered some beaut stuff. They’re so keen, that when they go on hols they download an Op shop guide for particular areas. I haven’t the patience to sort through clothes racks et al. I buy carefully & in retirement am relearning how to make garments. Very satisfying.

  11. I wish you’d bought the hat, Pam! It looks great on you.

    I love thrift store shopping too and have shared many of my finds on my blog. It’s true that something is only a bargain if you’re actually going to wear it though. For awhile, I became overly enthusiastic about all the “good buys” and my closet filled up with too many of them. I had to learn to be more selective and leave some of them for other lucky shoppers!

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