Christmas shopping at a thrift store is really very easy and acceptable if you know what to look for. Right now, thrift shops everywhere are filled with sweaters, robes, handbags and jewelry. Among the worn out, faded, pilled and stained items are treasures that can be perfect for holiday gifting. My daughter and I have made thrift shop gifting a family tradition, turning what began as a cheap joke into almost an art form. Follow these simple tips and you can be on your way to doing the same.
Plan to spend some time at your favorite thrift store. Try Goodwill, Stepping Stones, or Palmetto Thrift is you do not have a favorite. Begin by looking through the handbags that are usually displayed near the entrance. Keep an eye out for Target tags on handbags, since Target donates many new clearance items to Goodwill thrift stores. I just found a buttery soft faux leather Merona shoulder tote at Goodwill on St. Andrews Rd. for $4.25. Also watch for pricey designer brands, such as Jessica Simpson, Anne Klein and Kenneth Cole Reaction. It you find one that is new or like new, check to make sure there are no visible flaws or irregularities and buy it for three or four dollars. You may find more than one; you may find none.
Next, look at the sweater racks. Keep an eye out for new sweaters with store tags attached. There are usually several, often with designer labels. An August Silk and a Clio were found this week at Goodwill on Route 378 in West Columbia. Check for size and color; look for any irregularities, pulling or marks. If it looks perfect, buy it for one to five dollars. You may be fortunate to find three or four that are all new or like new; you may find none.
Move on to sleepwear, watching for pajamas and robes that are new with tags or like new with no signs of wear at all. A new embroidered zip-front brushed velour robe by Miss Elaine was found on the one dollar racks at Goodwill on Two Notch Road this week. People often donate flannel pajamas and sexy little numbers from Victoria’s Secret that make great holiday gifts. An easy way to tell if an item has been used is to look at the tag. If the tag is crisp and the writing clear, it probably has never been worn or laundered; if the tag appears bent, curled or faded, it most surely has been.
Next, go on to the jewelry case to seek out the nicest necklaces, earrings and rings for fifty cents to five dollars. Jewelry rarely has tags attached. It’s very common to find earrings attached to their original display backings with department store prices still on the back. Look for a string of perfect pearls or faux pearls with no nicks, stains or wear. Check out pretty beaded, pendant and statement necklaces to make sure chains are in-tact, no stones or beads are missing and clasps work easily. It you’re lucky, there will be four or five that will be perfect stocking stuffers, but don’t be disappointed if you find only one. Palmetto Thrift generally has an excellent selection of sparkling jewelry neatly arranged in display cases and is a promising place to shop for gifts.
After you bring your treasures home, place jewelry in jewelry boxes with cotton that can be purchased at Dollar Tree or Walmart and handbags, sweaters and robes in shirt boxes with fresh, new tissue paper. Leave original store tags attached, being careful to remove thrift shop tags or stickers. Slip them under the tree with big red bows and stuff them in stockings for Christmas morning. Relatives and friends will never know whether you shopped at a thrift store or at a mid-range department store. They will probably be thrilled with their gifts and you’ll be thrilled with the savings.
As always, maximize your style and minimize your spending~