When to Buy and When to Say: ‘No Way!’

I’m not going to lie, I do like to brag to my friends about the awesome stuff I score at the resale shop for dirt cheap. My friend Katie of Katie’s JeweleryBox (check her out on Facebook if you like super cute, super affordable jewelry) always complains that she only finds junk when she goes resale shopping.

To a certain extent, she’s right. There is a lot of crap that you have to sift through in order to find the hidden gems. It’s somewhat reminiscent of the days of prospecting when you might spend months panning through muddy water and rocks before you find a spec of gold. So how do I tell if I have found a rock or a spec of gold?

The first thing I look for is the tag. The brand name on the tag dictates to me the possible quality of the item. I don’t waste time on products that already retail for super reasonable prices like Walmarts Garanimals line. My interest peaks at brands such as: Ralph Lauren, Children’s Place, Carter’s, Under Armour, Nike, licensed Disney characters, classic Snoopy, Gymboree, licensed sports teams, Baby Gap, Old Navy, Abercrombie for kids. I also jump at formal wear- fancy dresses or suits for holiday pictures and weddings. If I see these tags or items then it’s time to grab them up and head to phase 2.

Phase 2 is checking the item’s condition. Be careful here, flaws can be hidden. Look closely for reasons people may have gotten rid of the item. I have been burned by hidden stains, broken zippers, non seam holes, and runs. These things are either too expensive or too unfixable for me to waste time on. Don’t buy a garment for five dollars but then spent thirty getting someone to repair a zipper. That defeats the purpose of shopping resale. If the item looks good, then it’s on to phase 3.

Phase 3 is to check size. Don’t just trust the size on the tag. Tags sometimes lie and that 2T may fit like a 4T or an 18 mos. I actually hold it up to my kiddo or I will compare it to an item that I know fits accurately to double check size. Size looks good? Then it’s time for the last phase.

Phase 4 is to double check the price. For the most part, I have noted that Goodwill is pretty fair in it’s pricing. I have never, and will never, pay more than seven dollars for a really good quality brand name garment. Both Salvation Army and Goodwill will also run ‘tag sales’ where they will give you an extra discount off of say, yellow tags that day. So keep your eyes open for the discount color of the day.

Keeping all this in mind- enjoy the thrill of the hunt! Good luck and happy shopping!




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